Nobody likes to talk about dandruff. For whatever reason, it’s one of those things that everybody knows is there, but would rather pretend it wasn’t. However, it is estimated that dandruff affects about half of the adult population. It can be embarrassing, upsetting, and can impact a sufferer’s confidence. To make matters worse, there are lots of misconceptions about dandruff floating around. So, we think it’s time to break down those barriers, and bust some dandruff myths, because knowing the facts about your scalp health can help you to treat it effectively.
Here are the top myths about dandruff you might hear – and why you should ignore them.
Myth 1: Dandruff is caused by dry scalp
You might think that flakes in your hair mean that your scalp must be very dry. And while that may be the case, it isn’t always necessarily true. A dry scalp and dandruff have similar symptoms, but they’re actually two separate concerns. Where a dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture, dandruff is often caused by excess oil production, or an overgrowth of harmless yeast.
Myth 2: Dandruff is contagious
Is dandruff contagious? Nope, rest assured, dandruff is not contagious, and you certainly can’t “infect” somebody with it by sharing hairbrushes or touching heads. This is a common misconception but probably stems from people getting mixed up with dandruff and head lice, a very different scalp concern where parasites infest the hair and can be passed from person to person.
Myth 3: Scratching away flakes can get rid of dandruff
Dandruff can make the scalp very itchy, so sufferers have a tendency to scratch their scalp in an attempt to relieve the itch. Another common habit is picking away at the visible flakes. Both of these actions can actually make dandruff worse. Not only can it lead to more irritation and redness, but scratching could also even damage the scalp, and introduce bacteria which could potentially lead to infection.
Myth 4: Dandruff is caused by a lack of personal hygiene
Dandruff can’t occur simply because you don’t wash your hair, and it isn’t caused by poor hygiene. However, if you suffer from dandruff you might notice that it is more obvious when you haven’t washed your hair recently. Using a medicated shampoo regularly can also help to treat an itchy, flaky scalp and control scalp problems.
Myth 5: Cold weather causes dandruff
Actually, this one is partly true! Dandruff can definitely appear worse in the winter months. That’s because cold air and central heating can dry out your scalp, meaning more flakes can appear. Wearing a hat regularly could also be making your flaking worse. So, although dandruff can’t actually be caused by the weather, it can certainly be aggravated by it.
Myth 6: You can grow out of dandruff
Unfortunately, if you’re prone to dandruff, it’s most likely a problem that will continue to recur. However, people in their teens and early adulthood are often more prone to flare‐ups, with it becoming less common in older age. Continued use of a liquid African Black soap or a therapeutic shampoo can help to keep your symptoms under control. However, it’s likely your symptoms will reappear when you discontinue use.