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When Is Dandruff Not Actually Dandruff?

Dandruff is something most people deal with at some time or another. But just because you see white flakes on your head and in your hair doesn’t mean it is actually dandruff.

Mainstream shampoos that are loaded with chemicals are often to blame for causing dandruff-like symptoms. These toxic ingredients dry out the skin often leading to conditions such as itchy skin, dry scalp  and those dreaded white flakes on your scalp, shoulders and in your hair.

If you really do have dandruff you may also get flaky skin on your neck, eyebrows as well as on male beards. The flakes can feel waxy and some people suffer from an oily scalp rather than dry skin.

The winter months often make dandruff worse because your skin dries out in the cold weather. Central heating doesn’t help either.

What Is Dandruff

Every month old skin cells usually die and fall off. But when you have dandruff, the cycle actually speeds up and so the skin cells shed early, before they are dead.

Dandruff is sometimes associated with Pityrosporum ovale, which is a tiny fungus that lives on the scalp. But if it grows too fast it can cause dandruff.

Dandruff can be triggered by stress, not washing your hair enough, curling irons, hair dryers, overheated rooms and cold weather.

Your risk of dandruff goes up if you suffer from food allergies or skin allergies, if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, or if you suffer from a neurological condition or an autoimmune disease.

Dandruff & Dry Skin Conditions

In addition to dandruff, there are a number of dry skin conditions that cause an itchy or dry scalp as well as the flakes that are often associated with dandruff. Psoriasis and eczema are the two most common ailments and often a source of extreme discomfort and embarrassment for sufferers as they have to cope with sore, itchy red skin as well as white flakes on their face and hair.

Using mainstream shampoos can aggravate these conditions and make the situation worse because of the irritants they contain like sodium lauryl sulfate.


Scalp psoriasis results in reddish scaly patches that are raised. It can affect just one area or the entire scalp. It’s actual cause isn’t known but it’s believed when the immune system isn’t functioning properly skin cells grow too fast and build up forming a patch.

Scalp psoriasis can range from mild to severe, where there are thick, crusty lesions.

You can have dry scalp, itchy scalp, burning, soreness, and dandruff-like flaking. Irritants in shampoos can make your psoriasis worse.


Eczema of the scalp causes inflammation, dry skin, flaking, and blisters. It’s often the result of an overproduction of sebum, which is the natural oil secreted by your sebaceous glands on the scalp.

It can lead to dandruff symptoms becoming worse. Family history, stress and weather can trigger eczema on the scalp or elsewhere. Again, irritants in mainstream shampoos can make your eczema much worse.

Change Your Shampoo

Mainstream shampoos contain many different chemicals that can irritate the scalp causing itchy scalp and dry scalp.

These harsh chemical-laden shampoos can actually make any of the above skin conditions worse, especially if you have dry or itchy scalp.

A better solution would be to use an organic shampoo and conditioner along with natural hair products. Not only will they not irritate the scalp but they have the ability to soothe a scalp that’s already irritated because of existing conditions.

They can make your scalp feel better and therefore reduce itching, flakiness and dryness.