5 surprising factors that could be causing your dandruff

The more you know, the more you can correct

Editor / November 03 2023

Honestly, if we had to take a shot in the dark, we’d guess that Avril Lavigne penned her track “Complicated” about dandruff. It’s just so damn tricky to pin down the reason behind the flurries of flakes that tend to come with the concern.

But while the exact cause of dandruff is not entirely known, there are a few factors that experts have identified as common triggers - some slightly out of our control, and some well within it.

So what are these factors, you may be wondering, and how can you correct them? We’re breaking down just that, right here, right now…

#1: Microbiome imbalance

The microbiome (and how balanced or imbalance it is) can be a major factor in the case of dandruff, as the scalp has its own unique microbiome like every other part of the body. “Many believe that dysregulation of the scalp microbiome is an integral contributor [to dandruff],” Dr. Samantha Eisman tells BEAUTYcrew regarding the link. “It has been shown that an overgrowth in a naturally occurring yeast called Malassezia is present [when dandruff occurs]. The metabolites of this yeast cause itch and flaking,” she explains. Luckily, there are formulas designed to help here; in fact, a Cosmeto-clinical study around DERCOS’ Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo saw the scalp microbiome rebalanced after just four weeks. So yes, relief is possible (and literally available to purchase at Chemist Warehouse; bonus points for accessibility).

#2: Changing weather conditions

Weather can have a big influence over the way your scalp feels - when it’s hot, sweat can cause irritation-inviting congestion and greasiness, and when it’s cold, dryness, itchiness and irritation come out in full force. However, considering we don’t have the power to control the weather (it would never rain on a wedding day again if we did), you can control your hair and scalp care habits. Hot showers are never a friend to the scalp, but they can be especially damaging in winter when your scalp is at its driest. As for the warmer weather, wearing a hat is always recommended, but make sure to keep up an avid hair-washing schedule to make sure no bacteria and sweat remains trapped in the hair after wearing.

#3: Dietary deficiencies

The body needs the right blend of the right vitamins in its system to perform at its full potential, and the scalp is much the same. Vitamins D and B can help to support a healthy scalp, and so deficiencies in these can exacerbate scalp issues such as dandruff. Keep your scalp’s vitamin stocks topped up by consuming a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamin-packed foods such as wholegrains, fish, nuts, and vegetables.

#4: Product & pollution buildup

Think about what you do when you come home after a long day of wearing makeup: you wash it all off until your skin is completely clean and clear of residue. But considering most of us don’t commit to a full shampoo and condition every time we return inside, there’s a whole array of buildup left sitting on our scalps after every outing and styling session. Things like the dry shampoo you rely on to stretch out until wash day and the environmental stressors in the air can all contribute to congestion that if not properly washed away, may cause scalp concerns like itchiness, irritation, and of course, dandruff. We advise keeping up frequent washing and brushing to keep buildup at bay.

#5: Using the wrong shampoo

Keeping your scalp clean is crucial in the dandruff care department, and no product will be more important than the shampoo you cleanse it with. Opting for a specialised shampoo specifically designed to fight dandruff is a must, as is a dermatologist-approved formula that’s equipped to be kind to both the scalp and the hair. DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo hits both briefs out of the park. Not only is it recommended by dermatologists on a global scale and as beneficial for hair as it is for the scalp’s skin, but it also delivers results that’ll keep you coming back. Speaking of results, consumer trials of the DERCOS range saw 100 per cent of visible dandruff eliminated from first use (yes, we’re as impressed as you are). On top of that, the formulas work to fight dandruff on a long-term basis with every use too, providing 6 weeks of anti-dandruff relief without relapse.

To keep your hair happy overall, you’ll also want to ensure you’re not using the wrong shampoo for your hair type. Blessedly, DERCOS offers two options tailored to different hair types. For dry hair, you can trust the DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Dry Hair ($26.99 at Chemist Warehouse), and if you’re dealing with an oily or normal hair type, add the DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Normal to Oily Hair ($26.99 at Chemist Warehouse) to your shower shelf. Your scalp sends its regards for the relief!

Main image credit: Getty Images

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Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.