How Bad is Dandruff for Your Hair?
You see the light yellow or white flakes on your shoulders or in your hair. Those are the telltale signs of dandruff. Dandruff flakes are dead skin cells that fall off your scalp. When you have dandruff, your scalp may look scaly or red and feel itchy or raw. Scratching or rubbing your head loosens the flakes. You may notice them more when you wear dark clothes.
Dandruff is a common skin condition. It’s not harmful and you cannot catch it. We can blame genetics for many things — a receding hairline, a crooked nose, crippling anxiety — but dandruff is not one of them. So what causes dandruff? The truth is that you do. Those flaky, embarrassing white flecks are caused by your grooming habits, not some predisposed genetic order (sorry, you can’t blame mom and dad for this particular problem). Which is actually good news, because it means dandruff is entirely preventable and treatable.
Dandruff refers to the dry, itchy flakes of skin that develop on the scalp. It is a symptom, not a specific diagnosis.
Many factors can cause dandruff, such as dry skin, diet, stress, and some shampoos and hair products.
Dandruff itself does not cause hair loss. However, severe dandruff can cause a person to scratch their scalp so hard that they injure it.
Repeated inflammation in the hair follicles can cause damage and scarring, slowing or stopping hair growth. This can cause weak or thinning hair. Twisting the hair, aggressively brushing it, or scratching the scalp may make this type of hair loss worse.
Some medical conditions can also cause dandruff or flaky skin on the scalp, including seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, scalp psoriasis, and scalp ringworm. Some of these conditions are also associated with hair loss.
Research has shown that an irritated scalp can actually damage your hair. When hair grows from a dandruff-affected scalp it suffers significantly more cuticle and protein damage than hair that grows from a healthy scalp. Moreover, if you have an itchy scalp as a result of your dandruff then scratching could further damage the hair, causing split ends and breakage more easily.
So if you have dandruff, while your hair may grow at the same rate, the hair that grows is likely to be less healthy and more prone to damage and breakage.