Noticed little white flakes falling on your shoulders? These flakes are caused by dandruff, a skin condition affecting the scalp and hair. If you’ve ever experienced this, then you’re probably wondering what it is – and more importantly, what’s causing it?
If these are questions you’ve asked yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Below we explain what is dandruff, what causes dandruff and the age-old query of is dandruff contagious. Read on to satisfy your curiosity and walking away with a clear head.
What is dandruff?
These flakes are actually your scalp’s old skin cells shedding at an excessively rapid rate. Usually, with a healthy scalp, its surface layer should shed around once a month and quickly churn out new cells for replacement.
However, when your scalp gets over efficient, the turnover process occurs too quickly, causing a build-up of excess dead skin known as dandruff.
Dandruff can look different depending on each individuals scalp, but it is usually noticeable as dry white flakes or as yellow clumps on the scalp.
What causes dandruff?
Dandruff causes have long been a topic of debate but from what we know, the main cause is a fungus called Malassezia. A yeast-like scalp fungus, Malassezia is naturally present even in healthy scalps. It’s only when the scalp barrier becomes weakened that irritants produced by Malassezia are able to penetrate through the weak scalp barrier, aggravating the scalp condition and leading to the formation of dandruff.