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Worried that your favorite pale ale might be causing dandruff? Find out if there’s a link with our guide

Already the drink of choice for millions, the modern craft beer movement has presented the bar patron with a bewildering variety of choices. The question is, does your favorite drink cause dandruff?

The simple answer is that it doesn’t. But to understand why it might seem like it does, we’ll need to compare the causes of dandruff with the effects of beer on your body (and particularly your skin).

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff is caused by a yeast called Malassezia globosa. It’s completely normal and is present on everybody’s scalp.

Generally, it doesn’t cause any harm – but 1 in 2 people have skin that is sensitive to it, so their body responds by showing the symptoms of dandruff.

These include:

The effect of beer on your skin

One common theory links beer yeast and dandruff yeast. Yeast is used in the beer brewing process, and dandruff is caused by a yeast; so, there must be a link, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. First, there are many different kinds of yeast; the one that causes dandruff is not used in beer brewing. 

Second, yeast sitting on top of the skin triggers dandruff, not yeast in your digestive system– the body just doesn’t work that way.

The truth, then, lies elsewhere:

Drinking a lot of beer has a lot of potentially negative effects on the body. But there are a couple in which we’re specifically interested.

Alcohol is a diuretic. This means it causes your kidneys to remove excess water from your system, along with various nutrients and electrolytes. It’s this effect that you can blame for the classic hangover effects.

It also means that drinking too much can lead to:

  • dried out skin

  • bloating

  • redness

In combination, these symptoms can look very similar to dandruff, but it’s important to remember that too much alcohol doesn’t cause dandruff.

However, like anything that dries out your skin, too much beer can make a dry scalp or dandruff problem look worse.

Getting rid of flaky scalp

Luckily, the solution here is easy: cut back on the beer and start drinking water. It will help your dry skin rehydrate and get you back to your best in no time.

If it turns out you actually do have dandruff, a good dandruff shampoo will help fight the cause and symptoms. If you’re suffering from dry scalp flaking, a dandruff shampoo and conditioner will protect your skin, providing essential moisture and helping prevent flakes.

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