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Dehydration affects your body in a variety of ways. Use our guide to find out if it’s making your dandruff worse, and what to do about it.

Dehydration can have drastic effects on your body’s condition. Even moderately insufficient water intake can cause health problems. But does it cause dandruff, or is something else going on?

What is dandruff?

To start, let’s discuss what dandruff is exactly.

Our bodies are home to many kinds of microbes – and the scalp is no different. One common yeast-like fungus called Malassezia globosa survives by feeding on the natural oils on your scalp. As part of this process, it leaves behind oleic acid.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population is sensitive to oleic acid, leading to symptoms that include:

  • Itchiness

  • White flakes in the hair

  • A red, irritated scalp

This is dandruff, and the only true way you can get dandruff.

Dehydration and your scalp

The most common reason why skin becomes dehydrated is that it is losing too much water to the air via evaporation. This can happen when the skin isn’t healthy, or when the air is very dry. When your skin becomes dehydrated, you can experience symptoms that are very similar to dandruff:

  • Dry flakes in the hair

  • Itchiness

  • Damaged, cracked skin

In fact, a scalp with dandruff can be especially dry. That’s because the skin is unhealthy – in dandruff, skin cells are produced and shed too rapidly. Research shows that dandruff skin is especially “leaky,” allowing too much water to escape from our skin and leading to dryness. This also means that dandruff and a dry, dehydrated scalp caused by dehydration might need to be treated differently.

Treating dandruff and dry scalp

Treating dandruff is fairly simple – a good dandruff shampoo used regularly will help keep your scalp protected from dandruff triggers, and allow your skin to be healthy and moisturized.

Another tip to keep skin moisturized? Just drink more water.

Most sources recommend drinking around eight glasses of water a day. You’ll also want to avoid alcohol and soft drinks, as these can dehydrate you.

To help things along, you might also want to invest in a shampoo specifically formulated to fight dry scalp. These shampoos are designed to help your skin regain lost moisture, giving it the best chance of returning to normal.