Skip Nav
Healthy Living
9 Things to Cut Out of Your Life to Be Healthy
beginner workouts
Get Stronger With This 2-Weeks-to-50-Burpees Challenge
Health News
9 Superfood-Charged Drinks That Help With Weight Loss, Digestion, and More

Dandruff: How to Prevent the Flakes

Shoulder snow - it's not pretty or fun, but in order to treat dandruff, it'll help to know what's causing it in the first place. People used to think that those flakes were caused by dry or oily skin, shampooing too much or not often enough, poor diet, stress, or the use of too many styling products. While it's true that these can definitely not help your dandruff situation, the real cause has to do with malassezia.

This yeast-like fungus can be found on the scalps of many healthy heads, and you wouldn't even know it. The thing is, sometimes it can grow out of control, and since it feeds on the oils secreted by your follicles, it can cause your skin cells to die. These dead skin cells clump together with the oils in your hair, making them look whitish and flaky.

Why does this fungus multiply so much? Doctors aren't really sure, but it may have something to do with illness, hormonal fluctuations, not washing your hair enough, or extra sensitivity to the malassezia fungus.

OK, now my head is really itchy - is yours? What can you do to prevent dandruff? To find out

  • Since malassezia feeds on the oils produced by your hair follicles, daily shampooing may help to reduce the oily build-up on your scalp.
  • If this doesn't help, over the counter dandruff shampoos may be more effective. Head & Shoulders shampoo contains the antibacterial and antifungal agent zinc pyrithione, which can help reduce the growth of the malassezia fungus. Leave the shampoo on for at least 5 minutes so you can allow the medicine to work. Use this shampoo daily at first, and once your condition is controlled, you can cut back to 2 or 3 times a week. If these over the counter dandruff shampoos aren't doing the trick, you may need to get a stronger prescription dandruff shampoo from your doctor.
  • You may want to cut back on using tons of styling products as these can contribute to the oily build-up.
  • Make sure to get enough zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins - these can help prevent dandruff.
  • A little sunshine may also help. I'm not suggesting you lay out for hours and hours, since the ultraviolet rays aren't good for your skin. Cover yourself with sunscreen and take your dog (or just yourself) for a walk. The sunlight helps fight dandruff, and the fresh air, Vitamin D, and exercise are good for your body.


Join The Conversation
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 9 years
My dermatologist prescribed me Capex for my scalp. Earlier this year I got really sick and developed a form of psoriasis because of my weakened immune system and it spread to my scalp (though not my face thank GOD!). I've been using the capex once a week with T-Gel and T-Sal and Head and Shoulders alternatively. I also have to be injected once a week (down from twice a week) with an anti-inflammatory shot called enbrel. I'm in hell lol!
redscorpio redscorpio 9 years
I had this problem for years and years and I found at last my solution to Vichy's Dercos Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. It's effective and gentle at the same time. My dandruff was almost completely gone by 3rd or 4th time and now I just have to use it once every 7 to 10 days. Have a look here for details
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i need to wash my hair everyday or else my scalp gets really itchy and irritated. my brother has this same problem and both have thick shiny hair...not greasy but not dry. i don't put any product in my hair but yeah, i hate having to wash my hair everyday.
millarci millarci 9 years
I too suffer from *sigh* dandruff for sooo long. Thanks for mentioning, Nizoral, Spectra. I will have to try that. I also get red itchy spots on my head. Thanks for posting this, FitSugar!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I have a sort of a chronic problem with "dandruff" that is not just the typical variety. I get itchy red spots on my head if I don't use Nizoral shampoo once every 2 weeks. I think it's probably one of the best treatments out there for really aggressive dandruff (mine's called seborrheic dermatitis). Before Nizoral was OTC, my dermatologist prescribed me this disgusting sulfur shampoo that reeked. I'm so glad THAT'S over.
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds