Coping with Dandruff

Itching + Discomfort

When it comes to dandruff, most people focus on the flakes. Itching, on the other hand, may be the most uncomfortable side effect. In many cases, dandruff can cause redness and irritation. The more you scratch or rub your scalp, the more you aggravate the scalp condition. Try to resist the urge to scratch. The itchiness is initially caused by irritation, but scratching will increase irritation and lead to a vicious cycle. Itching can result in anxiety, poor sleep and lack of concentration. Scalp itch can make it difficult to think about anything else, but relief is possible. Try a medicated dandruff shampoo to help soothe irritated skin. If the itch doesn’t improve with the use of a dandruff shampoo or if your scalp becomes red or swollen, consult a physician.

Hair Loss + Dandruff

There are many reasons why a person might experience hair loss. Stress, illness, genetics and dandruff are often blamed for hair loss. Dandruff, however, does not necessarily cause hair loss. Dandruff leads to severe itching and ultimately, scratching. Constantly scratching your scalp damages hair follicles and will lead to some hair loss. The production of a dandruff-causing fungi and the resulting scratching is what leads to dandruff related hair loss.

Hair Loss Patterns

None of the common adult hair loss patterns are caused by dandruff. In men, hair loss can begin any time after puberty. It can worsen for years or decades. Male pattern hair loss starts at the temples, continues around the hairline and affects the top of the head. It leaves hair only at the bottom of the scalp. Most men with male pattern hair loss will eventually become bald.

Like men, women can experience hair loss any time after puberty, but most women find hair loss to be a natural part of aging. In women, female pattern hair loss causes hair to thin slowly all over the scalp, but the hairline doesn’t really recede. Hair may thin dramatically, but it rarely leads to baldness.

Self Esteem + Dandruff

Like many skin conditions, dandruff can result in lower self-esteem. People that suffer may be concerned that dandruff is viewed as a sign of poor grooming or uncleanliness by others. Dandruff sufferers may withdraw and decline to participate in normal daily activities.

A recent survey looked at the possible psychological issues associated with dandruff. 350 people were interviewed. The following are the main findings from the survey.

+   73% of respondents said it made them feel less attractive
+   72% had tried to hide their condition from someone e.g. friends, partners
+   35% admitted to avoiding a social situation on one or more occasion due to their dandruff
+   20% claimed the condition had resulted in them being bullied and receiving verbal abuse

See a physician or dermatologist if your dandruff is causing psychological unrest. They can refer you to a mental health professional if needed. You are not alone. Dandruff is a common problem and about half the population will experience dandruff in their lifetime.

Hiding Dandruff

Part of coping with dandruff is understanding that you may need to hide it from time to time. A particularly bad flare up, a special occasion or a lot of stress may cause a person to look for strategies to simply cover it up. Don’t hide because of dandruff, hide the dandruff!

+    Wear light colored clothing. Flakes are reflected on dark colors. Wearing darker colors highlights flakes and draws attention to them. Light colored clothing is an easy way to make dandruff less visible.

+   Use a lint roller. A lint roller will easily remove any flakes on clothing. Consider keeping one in a backpack, purse or car. This will help to take care of flakes quickly and avoid being self-conscious about them.

+   Wear a hat or scarf. Look for hats and scarves that compliment clothing to help make wearing head accessories more comfortable. Have fun with it! They can become an extension of personal style. Remember a hat can be a double-edged sword. Hats and scarves are great for hiding scalp issues, but they can also create a warm, humid environment that allows dandruff to thrive.

+   Get a haircut and hairstyle that hides dandruff. Hairstyles that are relatively short or have lots of volume tend to make dandruff less noticeable. The longer the hair the more area dandruff has to cling to. Side part styles also work well because more of your hair will cover your scalp.


Typically, dermatologists warn against shampooing every day. Washing hair too frequently can strip the scalp and hair of natural oils and cause irritation. Dandruff creates the opposite problem. Not shampooing enough can make dandruff worse. Oil and dead skin cells accumulate on your scalp, feeding the fungi that causes dandruff and allowing it to thrive.

Tips for using Denorex Shampoos : To get rid of dandruff and other chronic scalp conditions, Denorex recommends shampooing every day but alternating shampoos. Use a medicated dandruff shampoo 2 – 3 times a week and a milder shampoo on the other days. We suggest using shampoos with stronger active ingredients like Denorex Extra Strength with Salicylic Acid or Maximum Strength Denorex with Coal Tar 2 -3 times a week. For best results, shampoos should be left on the scalp for 5 minutes to give them time to work before they are rinsed out. Use a milder shampoo like Zincon with Zinc Pyrithione 4 – 5 times a week.

Dandruff can be easily be controlled with medicated dandruff shampoos, but it can take time and requires persistence and maintenance.