By Dr. Mercola
By the age of 20, about 50 percent of the population worldwide, and 20 percent of Americans have suffered from dandruff, which is an excess of dead skin that dots your hair and shoulders, along with a potentially itchy, scaly scalp. Dandruff may also be accompanied by redness and irritation.
A small amount of flaking is normal, as skin cells do die and flake off your scalp, but some people experience an unusually large amount of flaking, either chronically or as a result of certain triggers.
What Causes Dandruff?
Dry skin is one of the most common causes of dandruff, and if this is the case for you you’ll probably notice dry skin elsewhere on your body as well. Dandruff caused by dry skin tends to involve smaller, less oily flakes than dandruff by other causes.1
Dry, flaky skin anywhere on your body is often a sign of a deficiency in animal-based omega-3 fats. So consuming more omega-3s, in the form of sardines, anchovies, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or krill oil, would be the first place to start if you have dandruff. Omega-3 fats help normalize your skin fats and prevent dehydration in your cells.
This keeps your skin cells strong and full of moisture, which can help to decrease flakiness. Additionally, omega-3 fats may have an anti-inflammatory effect that can help to soothe irritated skin, including on your scalp.
If you don’t think dry skin is to blame, your dandruff may be caused by a fungal infection, specifically a species called pityriasis capitis. Another yeast-like fungus, malassezia globosa, has also been implicated. The fungi live on your scalp, feeding on skin oils.
The malassezia globosa fungus uses enzymes called lipases to metabolize the oils, creating a byproduct called oleic acid. The acid penetrates your skin and triggers
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