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Is Dandruff Hereditary?

While many hair issues such as graying, thinning, or balding can be caused by your genetic makeup and are out of our control, thankfully dandruff isn't one of them. This flaky skin on your scalp is the result of malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that happens to be found on the scalps of many healthy individuals. Dandruff happens when these yeasty beasties multiply out of control. They irritate your scalp and cause skin cells to die so they flake off your scalp, making your head itch, and making it impossible for you to wear your favorite black shirt.

Some people's scalps may be susceptible to dandruff from lack of washing, illness, stress, hormonal fluctuations, or extra sensitivity to this fungus. Whatever the cause, the good news is that this embarrassing problem isn't something you have to live with. To find out how to control dandruff


  • Since the malassezia fungus feeds on the oils produced by your hair follicles, try washing your hair more often to decrease the oily build-up. If there isn't enough oil to eat, then the yeast can't multiply.
  • Shampoo with an over the counter anti-dandruff shampoo such as Head and Shoulders. Make sure to leave this shampoo on for at least five minutes so the active ingredient, zinc pyrithione, can do its job. Use this shampoo every day until your dandruff is controlled, and then you can cut back to a couple times a week.
  • Avoid using styling products, or cut down on your use. These just add to the oily build-up.
  • Your diet can affect your hair and scalp health too, so be sure to consume foods that contain zinc, omega-3s, and B vitamins.
  • Take advantage of the sunshine this Summer because a little exposure can help prevent dandruff. Of course, make sure to lube up with sunscreen to protect your skin.


Join The Conversation
mudnessa mudnessa 8 years
apple cider vinegar works great for dandruff, my husband used it for a few months, and the smell rinses out completely, but he switched to head and shoulders because he hates the smell of vinegar and couldnt even stand it for a few moments before it was being rinsed out. you could add some essential oils to the vinegar rinse to combant the vinegar smell. apple cider vinegar also helps fight acne so a acv rinse on your head could help your back acne as well, just DO NOT OPEN your eyes, hehe. learned that one the hard way.
michlny michlny 8 years
Another way to get rid of it is by ridding your body of the yeast itself. Usually candida is to blame. Ridding one's body of candida is difficult but it will make you feel so much better on many levels....
cgnelson cgnelson 8 years
I've also heard that using apple cider vinegar after shampooing helps neutralize the scalp and people I know that have tried this have had success - only problem is it is kind of smelly.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i've always wondered if it was hereditary and i'm glad to hear that there are lots of causes for it. i don't get it (knock on wood) but a few folks in my family do - so that's always been in the back of my mind of things to look out for. i do agree that getting out in the sun is something that's good for your head/scalp as is your diet. i think that maybe it's one of the reasons that i don't get it.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
I've also heard that dandruff can also be caused by stressed, I'm not sure how true that is. However, I do notice that if I'm overly stressed, my scalp flakes until the problem is solved. My father's the same way.
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