You’re in the shower, washing your hair and you notice two things. One, you seem to be shedding a more hair than usual. Two, there are some white flakes coming out when you massage the shampoo into you hair. Since the two things are occurring at the same time, it’s easy to think that your hair loss might somehow be connected to your dandruff.
While dandruff can be an unpleasant condition, for the most part it’s only a cosmetic issue. But that doesn’t mean it won’t have an effect on the way your scalp and hair look.
What Causes Dandruff
A number of factors can cause dandruff, and figuring out what is causing yours can help you figure out how to treat it and whether or not it’s doing something to affect the volume of your hair. For example, in some cases, dandruff occurs because the skin on the scalp is dry. In other cases, it occurs because of another skin condition, such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, or psoriasis. Some people develop dandruff because they are overly sensitive to malassezia, a type of yeast that naturally occurs on the scalp, but can be very irritating to some people.
How you care for your hair can also contribute to dandruff. Not washing your hair often enough, for example, can cause the white flakes to form. Using too many hair products or irritating hair products can also make your scalp itchy and flaky. People using minoxidil to manage or treat hair loss might also have flaking that looks like dandruff, as the product can dry out the scalp.
Does It Make Hair Loss Worse?
For the most part, there is no real connection between male pattern baldness and having dandruff. Men are more likely to have dandruff than women and the majority of men do end up losing some of their hair, so it might seem as though there is a connection. A 2011 study presented at the meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgery examined 66 sets of male identical twins and did suggest that dandruff seemed connected to instances of hair loss in those men.
Dandruff might play a part in other types of hair loss, or hair breakage. If your scalp is very itchy and you regularly scratch, you could be pulling out the hair or causing the hair to break.
Dandruff caused by malassezia or by seborrheic dermatitis might have a negative effect on the hair follicles, as the skin condition or excess yeast can irritate and inflame the skin around the follicles, creating a difficult environment for hair to grow.
In many cases, treating dandruff will ease any related or seemingly related hair loss issues. For example, if hair is damaged due to scratching the scalp or is weakened by the dandruff, using an anti-dandruff shampoo can not only reduce the flakes and itchiness, but also help build up and strengthen the strands of hair. The ingredients in dandruff shampoos vary and a person may need to try a variety of products before finding the one that works for him or her. Some shampoos contain ingredients that kill or significantly reduce the population of yeast on the scalp. Others contain ingredients that reduce the rate at which the cells on the scalp turnover, reducing flakiness.
Dandruff caused by a very dry scalp can be treated by avoiding products that dry the scalp and by switching to a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner. In some cases, you might need to take a more is more approach to treating your dandruff. If you don’t shampoo often, increasing the number of times you wash your hair each week might be a sufficient enough treatment.
Treating Hair Loss
If you are using minoxidil and notice some flakes, you might consider switching to a different medication, such as Propecia, if you’re a male, or consider another hair loss treatment entirely. Hair restoration surgery will permanently restore hair lost due to male or female pattern baldness, for example.
If you believe your dandruff was connected to hair loss or that it weakened some hairs or the that inflammation caused you to temporarily shed some hair, a treatment using platelet rich plasma might be effective. PRP comes from your own blood and contains a number of growth factors, which can encourage the hair growth when injected into the scalp.
Dandruff and your hair loss are most likely unconnected. But if you have a severe case of dandruff and are beginning to lose your hair, for whatever reason, speaking with a hair restoration specialist is a good idea. Dr. Kyle Choe, a hair restoration surgeon in Virginia Beach, can closely examine your hair and scalp and give you a diagnosis and a recommendation for treatment. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.