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Dandruff is a common scalp condition that affects more than 50% of the population and is characterized by visible white flakes in your hair

Contrary to some common myths, it’s not caused by poor hygiene – the two factors that cause it are found on everyone whether they wash every day or not.

It’s caused by a naturally occurring microbe, Malassezia globosa, which is present on everyone’s scalp. Here’s how it works:

  1. Oleic acid is produced as Malassezia globosa breaks down the scalp oils in your hair

  2. Your scalp becomes irritated if you’re sensitive to oleic acid – around 50% of the population are – leading to itching, dryness and redness

  3. Your skin cells renew quicker than before as they respond to the irritation by increasing their turnover rate

  4. The excess skin cells form visible clumps which appear as white flakes in your hair and on your scalp – these flakes are the main symptom of dandruff

There are also a number of different factors which can exacerbate a dandruff problem or make it seem worse. These include:

  • Heat

  • Sweat

  • Pollution

These don’t cause the problem, but can make it seem worse at certain times of the year or when doing particular activities like sports.

Find out how to treat dandruff

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