Can Dandruff Be Responsible For Hair Loss?

can dandruff cause hair lossDid you begin to lose your hair sometime around the time you identified a notably hard case of dandruff? Or did you suddenly recognize a dandruff problem some time after you began losing your hair? Is there a cause and effect relationship between hair loss and dandruff? Is this condition some sort of chicken and egg situation in which one condition might beget the other? It seems logical to ask the question “can dandruff be responsible for hair loss?” since both seem to be falling from the same place at the same time.

Can dandruff cause hair loss? A scaly question like this requires some in-depth investigation.

Logical Approach

First, let’s look at this from a logical angle. If I were to eliminate my dandruff problem, would my hair stop falling out? About 50% of all people have dandruff at some time in their lives. And millions of dollars are spent each year on shampoos and ointments to eliminate dandruff. Though dandruff can be eliminated, many people do continue to lose their hair. So this might suggest that there may not be a real relationship. So let’s move on.

Look at this from the other side of the shower drain. It might be proven that if I lose all of my hair then my dandruff will disappear. But I am not sure that this proves anything.

Scientific Approach

So seeking professional opinion seems to be a better solution for determining whether dandruff can cause hair loss or not.

The consensus of most experts is that the relationship between dandruff and hair loss is indirect only. Consider the following chain of events:

  1. Often people are prescribed medications or ointments to reduce hair loss. These products sometimes contain a component called Minoxidil.
  2. Minoxidil contains alcohol which tends to cause drying of the scalp and can result in a flaking, dandruff-like reaction.
  3. Dry scalps and flaking tend to itch.
  4. Intense itching usually induces vigorous scratching.
  5. Vigorous scratching can separate the hair from one’s head. While scratching, you may be pulling, breaking and scraping your hair away from your scalp–this just adds to the hair loss situation.

Scratching, not dandruff itself, is the principal scientific relationship between hair loss and dandruff. Those dandruff-mitigating scientists at leading shampoo companies like Head and Shoulders and Denorex endorse this explanation.

The suggestion here is that if you could only “bite the bullet” without scratching that itch until you can get your head to a bucket of dandruff shampoo, you may retain much of your lovely hair. However, if you are one of those who are losing their hair anyway for other reasons, like heredity and age, then this won’t help. But eliminating dandruff will certainly make you more comfortable and, if I may, more socially acceptable.

Dandruff: Why Me?

Can dandruff cause hair loss? No, not directly. But if I am losing my hair, why must I also be afflicted with a dry, itchy scalp and those unsightly scales that never seem to leave my dark blue sweater?

The causes of dandruff are not well defined nor understood. The condition occurs when the scalp is too oily or when it is too dry. And there are various types of dandruff, though the symptoms are generally the same.

Dandruff is about the skin on the scalp. Thinning hair is about a condition in the hair follicles. Dandruff is considered a cosmetic disease in that it is not life threatening nor contagious. But it does make us all uncomfortable from the itchiness and those falling bits that others see long before we do.

Exception to the Rule

To be precise, though, there are some other medical conditions with dandruff-like symptoms that might result in some temporary hair loss. The harshest conditions are seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis which cause scaling similar to dandruff and can be present on or spread to other parts of the body.  If what you believe is dandruff and itching becomes severe or spreads after you have used dandruff shampoos and other products such as ketoconazole shampoos, consult your doctor for a closer examination of the issue.

Don’t Stop Washing Your Hair

Experts estimate that 64% of the people in the world, men and women, experience hair thinning, breakage or hair loss whether they experience dandruff or not. Many notice that hair comes out each time they wash their hair. So what’s the solution? Stop washing? As it turns out, that hair would come out anyway no matter how infrequently you wash. Your hair will just hold off falling out until the next washing, whenever that may be.

But the condition of your scalp will only get worse if you avoid washing–and then the scratching will start, and more hair will fall, etc. Foregoing shampoo will worsen your dandruff condition. And your hair loss situation will not improve either. So continue washing your hair. Your friends will like you better.

Moving On

handsome middle aged man motorcyclistIf you are losing or have already lost much of our precious hair after trying various hair restoration methods, maybe it is time to think about growing that mustache and beard. Facial hair is once again very fashionable. Since your “look” is changing anyway, why not draw attention away from your thinning hair to a beautiful and well-trimmed beard and mustache? Doing so may restore the self-confidence you may have lost when your hair began disappearing. Reinvent yourself and become appealing to the other gender again. Facial hair is a great alternative.


Whether you are losing your hair or not, if you have dandruff, get rid of it now. Use the shampoos or other dandruff relief and take away at least one treatable cause for concern. Can dandruff cause hair loss? The final answer:  dandruff does not, by itself, cause hair loss.

If you are losing your hair, don’t let it overwhelm you. Stop asking the question “Can dandruff cause hair loss?” Stop asking “Why me?” You can get rid of dandruff, but not necessarily stop the hair loss. You are not alone.

It may be time to develop a new image. A beautifully trimmed beard and mustache will draw attention away from the top of your head and reignite your self-confidence.  A happier you is a better you. Go for it.


  1. dhanu December 17, 2017
  2. Robert July 13, 2016
    • Domen Hrovatin July 13, 2016
      • Manu July 12, 2018
  3. Leo February 16, 2016
    • Mohamed September 14, 2016

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