Dandruff is a common condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake. It isn't contagious or serious. But it can be embarrassing and difficult to treat.
Mild dandruff can be treated with a gentle daily shampoo. If that doesn't work, a medicated shampoo may help. Symptoms may return later.
Dandruff is considered to be a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. In babies, seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap.
Dandruff signs and symptoms may include:
- Skin flakes on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache, and shoulders
- Itchy scalp
- Scaly, crusty scalp in infants with cradle cap
The signs and symptoms may be more severe if you're stressed, and they tend to flare in cold, dry seasons.
Dandruff may have several causes, including:
- Irritated, oily skin
- Not shampooing enough
- A yeastlike fungus (malassezia) that feeds on oils on the scalps of most adults
- Dry skin
- Sensitivity to hair care products (contact dermatitis)
- Other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema