Think You Know Everything About Dandruff? No, You Don’t!

Shutterstock / M-Production © Woman washing her head in the shower

With Nizoral’s Expert trichologist, Stephanie Sey

Pretty young black woman in pink top

Stephanie Sey

When it comes to our hair and scalp, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. ‘Will dandruff go away naturally?’, ‘why is dandruff itchy?’, and ‘can dandruff cause hair loss?’ are questions being asked by dandruff sufferers in the quest to find answers to common misconceptions around flakey scalps. To shed some light on the truths (and myths) around dandruff, Nizoral’s expert trichologist, Stephanie Sey, debunks some of the most common myths.

MYTH ONE: Does not enough/too much hair washing cause dandruff?

Woman washing her head in the shower

Pic: Shutterstock

How often you wash your hair is dependent on several factors such as your sebum production levels, activity levels and the types of products you use. For example, the requirements of someone who uses public transport, works out and has an oily scalp will be vastly different to a person who works from home and does not work out. Some people will handle washing their hair daily, and some will be once a week. It is best to watch how your hair and scalp behave and ascertain how often you need to wash it. 

“If you are not washing your hair enough, your scalp will tell you about it; it will itch and possibly become flakey. Your hair will look lank and will not hold styles very well.”

MYTH TWO: Will dandruff go away naturally?

women having dandruff in the hair and shoulder;

Pic: Shutterstock

“Dandruff can just go away, however, it’s best to treat it early so that it does not get worse over time. Dandruff is a condition that can be treated but not cured. If you do struggle with dandruff, use a medicated shampoo, such as Nizoral, to treat the cause.” 

MYTH THREE: Why is dandruff itchy?

Dandruff is itchy as this is the scalp’s inflammatory response to the overgrowth of the yeast, Malassezia.”

MYTH FOUR: Is dandruff contagious/a living thing?

“The yeast – Malassezia that causes dandruff is a living organism. However, dandruff is not contagious, you cannot ‘catch’ dandruff from another person.”  

MYTH FIVE: Does white wine vinegar/lemon juice help dandruff?

Young woman squeezing lemon juice into bowl on color background;

Pic: Shutterstock

No, it does not. However, I can understand why some people would try it to balance the scalp’s pH. Nonetheless, it is better to tackle the cause – which is the yeast – so using a proven anti-fungal, such as Nizoral, is best.”

MYTH SIX: Can dandruff cause hair loss?

“Dandruff does not cause hair loss. However, the inflammatory component of Seborrhoeic dermatitis can cause some excessive shedding. Another cause can be if the scalp is particularly itchy you may scratch the hair more than normal, which can hurt the scalp and which can also lead to hair loss and breakage.”

MYTH SEVEN: Does brushing hair/using a scalp massager help with dandruff symptoms?

Woman brushing hair;

“Using a scalp massager may help with alleviating an itchy scalp, and brushing the hair can loosen flakes. It’s always best to use a medicated shampoo to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.”

MYTH EIGHT: Try avocado oil on your scalp

Fresh avocado smoothie and ripe green avocados on kitchen table. Hands of woman using blender are visible in background. Healthy eco food and natural drink.;

Pic: Shutterstock

It is not recommended to put avocado oil on your scalp. Dandruff is a lipid-feeding condition that feeds off your scalp’s liquids, such as sebum. Adding extra oil, like avocado oil, may make it worse. I would suggest eating the avocado instead.”

MYTH NINE: Honey is great for hair and helps with scalp conditions such as dandruff

Honey, Honeycomb, Honey Bee.;

Pic: Shutterstock

“Honey is an amazing product, which has many conditioning properties. It’s a humectant which means it draws moisture from the atmosphere and can leave the hair soft and supple. However, I’ve not seen any evidence to suggest that it helps cure dandruff.” 

MYTH TEN: Showering with cooler water can help stop dandruff

“Showering with cooler water could perhaps help with the general condition of the skin. It could make your skin less dry because hot water can dry out your skin.”

Nizoral dandruff shampoo

Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo, £5 for 60ml, is available from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon, Lloyds Pharmacy, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and independent pharmacies nationwide. Always read the label.




Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!