Dandruff is a common skin condition that causes white or grey flakes of skin to look on the scalp and within the hair.The flakes are typically noticeable if they fall from your scalp on to your shoulders. Your scalp may feel dry and itchy.Dandruff is not contagious or harmful, however it may be unpleasant and tough to get eliminate.


Your skin constantly produces new skin cells and sheds previous cells to remain healthy. Dandruff will occur once this cycle of skin renewal speeds up.

A flaky scalp can be the result of:
seborrhoeic dermatitis: a common skin condition related to an overgrowth of yeast on the skin, which can cause the scalp, face and other areas of the body to become scaly, itchy and red; in babies it’s called cradle cap
Tinea capitis: a fungal infection of the scalp, also called scalp ringworm

Eczema: a typical skin condition that causes the skin to become dry, red, flaky and very itchy

Allergic contact dermatitis: a reaction to product used on the scalp, such as hair dye, hairspray, hair gel or mousse

Psoriasis: a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin coated with silvery scales


The main treatment for dandruff is anti-dandruff shampoo. There are variety of types available to buy from supermarkets or pharmacies.
Look for shampoo containing one in all the subsequent ingredients:

  • zinc pyrithione
  • salicylic acid
  • selenium sulphide (or selenium sulfide)
  • ketoconazole
  • coal tar

Make sure you read the directions that come with the shampoo before using it to see if it’s appropriate for you and see how often it should be applied. A pharmacist can give recommendation if you would like it.
It’s particularly necessary to go away the shampoo in your hair for a minimum of 5 minutes before washing it out.
Try these shampoos for a month to envision if your dandruff improves. You might need to try more than one type to find one that works for you.
You may be able to use the shampoo less often once your symptoms improve, however your dandruff can probably come if you stop using it completely.

When to see your GP

You don’t usually need to see your GP if you have dandruff, but it’s a good idea to visit them if:

  • you’ve got tried anti-dandruff shampoos for a minimum of a month and your symptoms haven’t improved
  • your dandruff is incredibly severe or your scalp is very itchy
  • your scalp is red or swollen
  • you’ve got a weakened system – as an example, you are having chemotherapy, you’ve got HIV, or you take medication that suppresses your immune system