Hair loss and dandruff are two of the most common scalp problems people face throughout their life. Are they connected, however? Does dandruff cause hair loss? Does dandruff shampoo cause hair loss? Or is there no connection between the two conditions whatsoever and some people are just too unlucky and happen to have them both?
The quick answer is “No” – dandruff doesn’t directly cause hair loss, nor do most dandruff shampoos. We’re specifically using “most” here not because we know that there are some shampoos that cause hair loss but because we haven’t tried them all, so, who knows what trashy products might exist somewhere on the market.
But, generally – neither dandruff nor dandruff shampoos should be the cause of your hair loss.
They can be a complicating factor, however, and even have cause problems indirectly. Let’s see how that can happen.
How can dandruff lead to hair loss?
So, if the answer to the “Does dandruff cause baldness?” question is a “No”, then what’s the problem? Well, there are several problems, so let’s go over them one by one:
- Dandruff causes itchiness which, in turn, causes most people to scratch their head. This is a problem not only because it’s unpleasant but also because it physically damages your hair follicles, thus leading to hair loss. It’s unrealistic to fear that you can go outright bald just from that but if the dandruff is left untreated and if the hair scratching becomes too damaging for too long, you can expect to start noticing some pretty severe hair loss. That, in combination with your baldness or with other problems that may also lead to hair loss, can turn the problem into something much bigger than it needed to be.
- Even if you’re not scratching your head, dandruff can directly worsen the hair loss in people that suffer from androgenic alopecia, i.e. male- and female-pattern baldness. Dandruff won’t be the root cause in that case but it will make the condition more severe, so treating dandruff as soon and as effectively as possible is a great idea in this case as well.
- Thirdly, we’ll mention something that isn’t really a problem per se but is more of a complication. The fact that both dandruff and baldness such as the one caused by androgenic alopecia, as well as other hair loss causes, all require different treatment methods, usually means that if you suffer from multiple of these conditions at the same time, you might have to use a lot of different hair products. This is not only hard on your wallet, but it can also become so time-consuming, irritating, and tiring, that a lot of people – men, more often than women – tend to just throw their hands in the air and give up. Instead of taking proper care for all of the problems at the same time, a lot of people will usually just tend to the most irritating/immediate problem, and accept the rest as “a part of life”. In other words, an unpleasant way in which dandruff can further quicken someone’s hair loss is by focusing their efforts on dandruff and causing them to ignore the other issue.
So, as you can see, why dandruff in pretty much no direct way causes hair loss or baldness, it is a complication and irritation that can often worsen the other problems on your scalp.
What are the common medical treatments for dandruff and hair loss?
So, if the different causes for both dandruff and hair loss have different treatments and solutions, what should you do if you have both? Well, we won’t beat around the bush – whatever the exact causes of your problems are, the first thing you should do is go consult a dermatologist. The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of different problems that can lead to hair loss as well as multiple different causes of dandruff. You can have scalp psoriasis, alopecia areata, tinea capitis, a severe allergic reaction to a hair dye, folliculitis, lichen planopilaris, and other skin problems that require immediate medical attention.
So, while we won’t try to do your doctor’s work, let’s just go over some of the more standard treatments that you can expect your doctor to recommend:
- An immunotherapy medication to correct your immune system’s response.
- Antifungals to combat the yeast on your scalp and treat dandruff.
- Steroids to reduce the possible inflammation.
- Finasteride to treat inherited baldness.
- Minoxidil to treat hair loss and regrow hair.
Again, we are in no way advocating for self-medication unless the problem is still in its early stages, or it’s just mild. In any case of severe hair loss (more than 100 hairs per day) – see a medical professional immediately.
Natural treatments, solutions, and preventative measures for itchy scalp plus hair loss
If you do decide that you want to take some natural measures and remedies in your own hands, then that’s great, as long as it isn’t meant to replace the necessary medical attention your scalp might require. Some of these treatments and measures are simple, others are a little more complicated. Let’s list them quickly below:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Yes, that annoying thing again. Whether we like it or not, whatever problem you have or you may have on your scalp (or absolutely anywhere else in your body), maintaining a good diet is the first and the best thing you can do for yourself. The important nutrients for hair and scalp health, in particular, are:
- Vitamins from the groups A, D, and E
- Amino acids
- Use targeted shampoos and hair-care products for each of your problems.
- Scalp massages are proven to increase the thickness and growth of hair thanks to stimulating the blood flow and the hair follicles.
- Try some essential oil treatments such as peppermint or rosemary, diluted with a carrier oil. The science is still a little lacking on essential oils but there are animal studies that support their effectiveness on hair growth.
- Treat your hair and scalp gently and with care. Avoid scratching regardless of how itchy your scalp is, don’t wear tight ponytails, don’t use heat-related styling products, and so on.