Many men and women suffering from hair loss also experience dandruff, those dry, white flakes of skin you brush off your collar or shoulders. However, although it is relatively common for the two conditions to occur in the same patient, they each have completely different causes and are usually not related. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we are devoted to investigating and educating our patients about all forms of scalp and hair conditions.
While hair loss can be the result of many different possible causes, dandruff isn’t really about the hair at all. It is actually all about the skin on your scalp. Dandruff occurs when skin cells shed from the scalp in a larger number than usual. Flakey white patches can be seen on the scalp. Exactly why this happens is not entirely clear. A very common fungus called malassezia is believed to contribute to dandruff. While this fungus lives on the scalp of most healthy adults without causing any problems, some theorize that the immune system of someone with dandruff may overreact to this fungus, resulting in something akin to an allergic reaction. Dandruff can also often be triggered or exacerbated by environmental conditions, such as cold, dry weather, or even by emotional or physical stress.
Although dandruff is neither serious nor contagious, and will generally not lead to other health problems, it can be an issue for those suffering from genetic pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia. Most people just beginning to experience hair loss notice it first after washing their hair. Even though a healthy scalp naturally sheds anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs every day, that hair loss tends to be most noticeable after the vigorous rubbing that occurs in the shower. Many often think that if they wash their hair less, their hair loss can be slowed down or avoided. This could not be further from the truth, and in fact can be particularly problematic for those prone to dandruff. Dermatologists recommend that those suffering from dandruff should be washing their hair every day or at least every other day.
Moreover, some hair loss treatments, such as minoxidil, may cause dandruff-like flaking as a side effect. The alcohol in minoxidil can dry out the scalp, and after a few months of treatment, dandruff may set in. This issue, however, can usually be solved by having the patient simply switch to another medication or start using a dandruff shampoo. At The Griffin Center, Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis frequently prescribe topical hair restoration treatments made up of a combination of medications custom blended to address the individual patient’s specific needs. These custom blended prescription treatments can be formulated to treat hair loss while keeping dandruff under control.
If you have questions about caring for your hair or any of the treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.