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Worried guy looking at flaky scalp dandruff in mirror, examining hair, standing in bathroom at home.

Most people are familiar with dandruff – a common scalp condition that affects half the world’s population. But, what about extreme or severe dandruff that grows beyond just a minor irritation and into intense itching and flaking?

What Causes Extreme Dandruff?

Severe flakiness can be caused by a number of factors from dry scalp to infrequent hair washing. While flaking is a common symptom of dandruff, extreme dandruff can be characterized by persistent flaking and irritation.

Extreme Dandruff: Treatments & Remedies

Common dandruff, even in its extreme forms, can often be treated with an over-the-counter (OTC), medicated anti-dandruff shampoo. Head & Shoulders offers a line of clinical strength products like Clinical Strength Dandruff Defense + Advanced Oil Control Shampoo made with 1% Selenium Sulfide for prescription strength* dandruff relief and flaking protection without the prescription.

If you suspect your extreme flakes may be caused by recent changes like a new hair product, your hair washing routine, or even environmental changes, you can start to see a reduction in flakes by trying a few simple things.

Extreme dandruff caused by dryness

Avoid washing and rinsing your hair with very hot water as this can cause unnecessary dryness. Instead, use lukewarm water and add a moisturizing anti-dandruff shampoo, conditioner, or treatment into the mix. Try Head & Shoulders Clinical Moisturizing Scalp Cream after your wash routine, infused with manuka honey, to provide all-day moisture to an extremely dry scalp.

Extreme dandruff caused by build-up

Build up from hairstyling products or can increase flaking and irritation. Try a clinical strength formula like Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Defense Intense Itch Relief Shampoo and soothing relief from itch.

Extreme dandruff caused by skin conditions: Severe flakiness on the scalp may be due to other skin health conditions.

  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a more severe form of dandruff that occurs more frequently in people who also have oily skin or scalp. This form of dandruff is characterized by large, yellowish flakes with an oily texture. In addition to flakes, seborrheic dermatitis can also cause scaly red patches and itching on the scalp and other oily areas of the body.

  • Scalp eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, flaky or scaly skin to form on the scalp. You may notice inflammation, itching and, in extreme cases, crusting can occur alongside persistent flaking.

  • Scalp psoriasis can be characterized by the formation of silvery-white plaques – or scales on the scalp and beyond the hairline. Under the scales, the skin may appear red and irritated. You may also feel burning or soreness where these scales appear.

Because identifying the specific cause of your extreme dandruff can be challenging, a proper diagnosis by a dermatologist is always recommended.

* flake protection vs prescription dandruff shampoo 2% ketoconazole

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