What is Dandruff?

By Dr. Eddie Valenzuela

Dandruff is a common skin condition that affects adults and children alike. Characterized by itching and flaking of the skin on the scalp, dandruff can be very irritating. Luckily, it isn’t a serious or contagious condition, but in many cases it can be embarrassing and tricky to treat.

Dirty hair or lack of hygiene does not cause dandruff. However, if hair is not washed enough, an oily buildup can worsen flakes and other symptoms.

What is the Causes of Dandruff?

Dandruff is a very mild case of a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. This main symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are oily, red, and scaly skin that can flake off.  When there are just fine white scales without redness we call it dandruff.  Though it is often called “cradle cap” in children, seborrheic dermatitis doesn’t just show up on the scalp. Similar symptoms can emerge around oil glands throughout the body, including on eyebrows, armpits, and the groin.

The prevailing thought on the origin of Dandruff is that it is caused by a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia. This fungus naturally lives on the scalp as it feeds on the oil produced by the scalp skin glands. However, some people have too much Malassezia, which can cause the skin cells on the scalp to multiply too quickly. These excess skin cells clump together and flake off as dandruff. Risk factors for having an excess of Malassezia include hormones, age, and stress.

Symptoms of Dandruff

The most common symptoms of dandruff include:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Skin flakes on scalp or in hair, eyebrows, or facial hair like beards and mustaches
  • Scaly or crusty scalp, mostly seen in children with “cradle cap”

Dandruff symptoms can worsen under stress or in cold, dry climates or weather.

Is it Dandruff or Dry Scalp?

Dandruff and dry scalp are not the same thing, though it is easy to confuse dandruff with a dry scalp as they have very similar symptoms.

Dry scalps are caused by dry or cold air, allergic reactions, and age. When the skin on the scalp has too little moisture it can become irritated, itchy, and flaky.

The easiest way to tell the difference between dry scalp and dandruff is by the appearance of the skin flakes. Dandruff flakes are often bigger and oily, while dry scalp flakes are smaller and dry. Also, dry scalp occurs in conjunction with other patches of dry skin throughout the body, while dandruff is contained to the head and face.

Dandruff in Children

Dandruff doesn’t just happen in adults. Children also get dandruff. Signs of dandruff in children include:

  • Dry, white flakes on the scalp or clothing
  • Continuous itching of the scalp
  • Oily flakes on the scalp or eyebrows
  • Red patches on the scalp or forehead

Treating Dandruff

In most cases, dandruff in children is mild and simply irritating. In some cases, however, the scalp can get inflamed, red, and even painful. In these instances, it’s essential to consult with a doctor, but for most dandruff, easing symptoms is fairly simple. Brush your child’s hair before washing it to help loosen dead skin and flakes. Use a gentle shampoo daily. If your child has flakes or an itchy scalp or is red or irritated ’s scalp is red or irritated, try using the only dandruff shampoo specially formulated for kids: Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash.

Made for Kids

Most dandruff shampoos are made for adults and contain additional ingredients that might be harmful for young, sensitive skin. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash is the only dandruff shampoo for kids.

Dr. Eddie’s unique formula is made with 95% plant-based ingredients. It contains Pyrithione Zinc, an FDA-approved ingredient that has been proven highly effective in helping with dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, as well as licorice root extract to soothe redness and provitamin B5 to moisturize hair and skin.

Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo & Body Wash is fragrance, dye, sulfate, and alcohol-free, making it the ideal choice as a kids’ shampoo for dandruff.

Use Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash daily until skin is healed and the dandruff clears. For between flare-ups of both dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, try using gentle, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo & Body Wash as a shampoo and body wash for dry scalp.


Follow Me
Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

More about Dr. Eddie.
Follow Me
Latest posts by Dr. Eddie Valenzuela (see all)

Does hot water cause dandruff?

Hot water is not the direct cause of dandruff. However, hot water removes the natural oil from scalp and body, which can lead to dryness and worsening existing dandruff.

Can dandruff cause hair fall?

The simple answer is no. Dandruff doesn’t cause hair loss. However, sometimes, dandruff causes itching, which sparks off the urge to scratch. The scratching causes hair loss.

Can dandruff spread to face?

If dandruff spreads on the face it could be facial dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis. In seborrheic dermatitis flakes and scales can appear on the eyebrows, face, and behind the ears.

Is dandruff permanent?

Dandruff is not permanent, but there is no permanent cure for it. Dandruff can disappear and can reappear again. However, permanent treatment for dandruff is not possible.

Does drinking water stop dandruff?

Drinking plenty of water keeps your body, hair, and skin hydrated. This is a good thing but likely will not have an impact on your dandruff.

Should I ignore dandruff?

It’s up to you. Dandruff is usually not a harmful condition. If you are okay with white flakes on your scalp, you can ignore it. If your scalp is itchy, inflamed, red, or painful, you should seek treatment.

Suggested Products

Buy today

Also Available at

available at walmart
available at amazon

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get tips, news
and exclusive offers


Your Cart
Check Blazer

Spend $25
Get Free Gift