12 Best Dandruff Shampoos, According to Dermatologists 2024

First, let’s get one thing straight: Dandruff is incredibly common, and nothing to feel embarrassed about. Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff is an inflammatory condition that causes the skin of the scalp to become red, dry and flaky. “Flares are common when the weather turns cold and dry, and stress can also trigger a flare,” says Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC. She notes that this type of dermatitis can also affect other areas besides the scalp, including the ears, eyebrows, center of the face, eyelids, upper chest, upper back, armpits and groin area.

“We do not know exactly what causes seborrhea but it does seem to be multifactorial,” says Dr. King. “These factors may include a yeast that normally lives on our skin (more on this below), our genes, living in a cold and dry climate, stress, and a person’s overall health.”

Some medical conditions may also increase your risk, including HIV, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, stroke, heart attack, alcoholism, depression and eating disorders. Other possible causes of flaking skin in the scalp include psoriasis and eczema/ atopic dermatitis.

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