Does dry skin cause dandruff?

It is a very common belief that dry skin and dandruff go together, but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Without sebum, the Malassezia yeast has nothing to feed on and therefore the whole ‘chain’ of dandruff production is irrevocably broken without oily skin.

Dandruff is a result of poor hygiene.

It is unlikley that poor hygiene has anything to do with causing dandruff despite the fact that the probable main cause of the condition is yeast on the skin which feeds on the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands. However it appears that people who suffer dandruff do not necessarily have more yeast on their skin, although they may at certain times of their life (i.e. around puberty) produced more natural oil. In fact, rather than having more yeast on their skin, it is likley that people who suffer dandruff simply are more sensitive to the yeast.

Sunlight and headgear.

It is probably true that exposing your head to the sunlight may inhibit the growth of Malassezia yeast which like all other yeasts thrives in darker, damp conditions. Think about the kind of places where you would expect fungi (yeast is a fungus) like mushrooms to grow and you will quickly have a fairly accurate picture of the kind of conditions in which Malassezia yeat is happiest. And we have no doubt that the picture in your mind is not one of mushrooms shooting up in bright, warm sunlight! It is for this reason that many people suspect (perhaps correctly) that wearing a hat or cap might create an ideal enviroment for dandruff to develop, because enclosing your head in this way could create an enviroment that is far more like which Malassezia yeast will thrive in. For this reason, if you are a dandruff sufferer, one of the first things that you can do is expose your head to the sunlight as often as you possibly can. In the same vein, you should avoid wearing headgear whenever possible as well.

Many sufferers find that their dandruff is seasonal, being considerably worse in the cold and damp of autumn and winter than it is in spring and summer.

Of course, if you live in a place where sunlight is generally at a premium, ther is perhaps not a great deal you can do, but you should nevertheless be aware that exposing your head to the sun is one way of naturally combating dandruff.

You can contract dandruff from a dirty brush.

Although it may not be particular pleasant to use someone else’s hair brush or comb if they are a dandruff sufferer, it is not true that you can develop dandruff yourself from doing so. Unlike head lice (as an example), dandruff cannot be passed from one person to another in any way as it is entirely non-contagious, so sharing a brush or borrowing someone else’s hat is not going to increase the possibility of you developing a dandruff problem.

Stress and diet

There is evidence that stress can play a part in causing dandruff or in making a pre-existing dandruff problem worse. Why this should be the case is not particular clear, although it  may be that your body speeds up the skin cell production process at times of stress and anxiety when it is more excited. Ther may also be a connection with the fact that stress and anxiety might prompt quicker sebum production as it is natural to sweat more at times when anxiety or stress is greater.

In a similar manner, if your diet contains too much sugar, fat or starch, this could excaberate your dandruff problem, as can a diet that is generally low in healthy nutrition. It is sometimes suggested that a dandruff sufferer should avoid eating hot spicy food (which causes sweating in many people) and that alcohol should also be avoided as it is believed that the toxic nature of alcohol in the body might aggravate the problem.