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Dr. Justin Rome: Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?

Dandruff is uncomfortable to deal with, but can it also cause hair loss? Learn about dandruff and hair loss from the experts.

Read on

Dr. Justin Rome

Dandruff is a common yet annoying scalp condition in which the skin becomes dry, irritated, and flaky, leading to visible skin flakes on clothing and an itchy scalp. For people who are dealing with hair loss at the same time as dandruff, they may question whether the two are related. The answer is -- rarely, but it is possible.

Dandruff is unlikely to directly cause hair loss simply because the scalp skin is now dry and flaky. But, if you are finding that you are experiencing lots of scalp itchiness that is causing you to scratch at your scalp, there is a chance you may be doing some damage to your hair follicles. Excessive scratching of your scalp can damage the small individual hair follicles, leading them to produce hair slower, or not at all.

Luckily, if you do find that your hair losses may be related to excessive scalp scratching, once the scratching stops and the dandruff is under control, any losses from follicle damage will likely regrow once the scalp is healthy again. Of course, hair growth is slow-moving, so be patient and give the hair time to regrow.

It is important to note that if your hair loss is developing from androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, this is usually a genetic and hormonally driven form of hair loss, and just correcting any dandruff problems are not likely to cause hair to regrow.

For some men who are treating their androgenic alopecia hair loss with minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine), they may experience dandruff development or worsening due to the skin being irritated from the alcohol component of the minoxidil formula. If your scalp itchiness and flakiness began shortly after you started using minoxidil for hair loss, it may be worth it to try a different formulation of minoxidil or switch to finasteride to help with your hair loss without causing scalp flaking.

Bottom Line:

It is unlikely that just having dandruff alone is causing your hair loss. But, in rare situations, excessive scalp scratching due to dandruff can damage hair follicles enough to slow or stop the growth of hairs. If this is the case, treating the dandruff may help the lost hair regrow.

However, more often than not, hair loss develops from androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. If you have both dandruff and male pattern baldness, the dandruff is definitely not helping you with your hair regrowth efforts, so treating both the hair loss and dandruff separately would be the best course of action.

Dandruff can normally be managed by using a medicated dandruff shampoo, and male pattern hair loss is often treated with minoxidil or finasteride. For some, minoxidil products may be irritating to the scalp due to an alcohol ingredient, so choosing a minoxidil product without alcohol or using finasteride may be the best option when treating patients with both androgenic alopecia and dandruff.

At Strut Health, they carry a variety of androgenic alopecia hair loss medications ranging from alcohol-free minoxidil formulas to oral or topical finasteride and dutasteride. Have a free online questionnaire-based visit with our U.S. licensed doctors today. The doctors will review your hair concerns, images of your hair, and current conditions including dandruff to prescribe the best hair loss option for you. Then, your medication can be shipped to your front door.

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