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Is Dandruff Contagious?

Eczema Myths

If you’re wondering if dandruff is contagious, the simple answer is no. Just like you can’t catch dry skin from another person, your scalp doesn’t become irritated just because someone else has dandruff. If you’ve suffered from lifelong dandruff, don’t be alarmed, because the real causes are absolutely treatable!

Dandruff triggers range from stress, Malassezia yeast, and other factors. Dandruff is simply a common skin condition that causes the scalp to flake.

Worried that your white, flaky scalp could be contagious? Don’t be. Seborrheic dermatitis, a more intense version of dandruff that causes flaking on the sides of the nose and more intense scaling on other areas, can’t be spread from one person to another either.

Is Fungal Dandruff Contagious or Infectious?

The cause of dandruff is believed to be an overabundance or sensitivity to Malassezia yeast, something that is already present on almost every single human on this planet. Therefore, the dry, red, itchy, and flaky skin is actually more of an inflammatory response to a yeast that is already present on almost everyone’s scalp versus something that can be caught.

So, there’s no need to flake out on your dinner date or scratch plans with your friends over a dandruff flare-up. Hair dandruff is not contagious; It’s not a condition that can transfer from person to person by contact.

What causes Dandruff?

If you really want to get to the root of your itchy scalp, you should understand what can cause an onset of Dandruff.

While the medical and scientific community haven’t come to a consensus on exactly what causes this skin condition, most doctors agree that the likely cause is an abnormal amount of Malassezia yeast along with a sensitivity to its presence. There are also other things that might trigger a person’s sensitized response to this fungus.

Common triggers for dandruff

Understanding how to prevent dandruff starts with learning your triggers. Some of the most common causes of dandruff include:

  • Stress, depression, and other severe mood or hormonal changes
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as compromised immune systems
  • Wearing itchy materials, such as a wool hat
  • Exposure to cold, dry weather
  • Having a build-up of hair products
  • Irritation to shampoos or other products

The best way to determine your personal triggers is to record outbreaks and track common habits or actions that may have led up to it.

Treating dandruff

While dandruff isn’t contagious or hereditary and isn’t much more than an uncomfortable condition, it can be embarrassing and frustrating for the person dealing with it. There is no permanent cure for dandruff yet. However, taking simple steps like avoiding triggers, following a simple and effective routine, and using a specialized shampoo for treating dandruff can help to keep symptoms at bay (and your black shirts flake-free).

One ingredient to look for in dandruff shampoo is pyrithione zinc. This zinc complex is a safe and effective antifungal and antibacterial agent that has been used for more than 50 years to neutralize the Malassezia that is believed to cause symptoms of dandruff.

However, there is more than pyrithione zinc that goes into dandruff shampoos and conditioners. For those who are concerned about sensitivities and irritations to harsh ingredients, or just simply want a more natural shampoo that can still help with symptoms of dandruff, there is Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo.

It’s 95% natural plant-based ingredients and is free of things such as dyes, fragrances, parabens, alcohol, and other skin irritants commonly found in most shampoos and body washes. This sulfate-free (no SLS / no SLES) and gluten-free shampoo, face and body wash utilizes the natural soothing properties of licorice root extract and provitamin B5 to moisturize and calm skin while the active pyrithione zinc works to fend off Malassezia yeast.

This shampoo was originally formulated as the first dandruff product designed for children of all ages. However, many adults also appreciate the benefits of using a more natural hair product to manage their dandruff condition.

What to do about dandruff or “cradle cap” in children

When dandruff is present in babies and children, it’s often a sign of seborrheic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as “cradle cap.”

Symptoms of “cradle cap” in babies include: scaly patches of yellow or brown, cracking, flaking skin that occurs on the scalp and oftentimes reaches across the scalp to the eyebrows, like a cap. It can also be found in the form of moist pink plaques along the diaper area, the armpits and neck, and can appear similarly in the folds of skin, such as the back of the knees or elbows.

“Cradle cap” is extremely common in young children, with more than 40% of children experiencing symptoms before the age of 6.

“Cradle cap” can be uncomfortable; sometimes a child arrives at their pediatrician’s office rubbing their ear and it is not the feared ear infection. Rather, it’s the itchy, scaly plaque behind their ear causing the tugging.

It also isn’t contagious and can’t be spread to parents, siblings, or anyone else who holds or touches your child. Still, managing or eliminating the symptoms can reduce the chances of further complications, and stop future outbreaks.

Is Dandruff Fungus Contagious? No. Is It Treatable? Yes.

While adults have many options when looking for a shampoo and body wash for dandruff, it can be much harder to find a safe and effective medicated dandruff shampoo designed for children.

Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo is dermatologist and clinically tested and contains the main Malassezia-fighting ingredient, pyrithione zinc, but is free of other things that could be harmful to your child, such as parabens, sulfates, dyes, synthetic fragrances, and alcohols—making it the only medicated shampoo formulated for children of all ages.

Shop our products for seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, and eczema today.

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

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