What Are Dandruff Flakes and How to Spot Them
Dandruff is recognizable by visible flakes that can be seen on the hair and shoulders and can be easily treated with the right shampoo.
How to spot dandruff
Dandruff is caused by a natural microbe on the scalp called Malassezia globosa.
This microbe feeds on your natural scalp oils called sebum.
As the sebum is broken down, it produces oleic acid. 1 in 2 people are sensitive to oleic acid, which the scalp reacts to by becoming irritated and itchy.
Dandruff is recognizable by its key symptoms, including:
Irritation or redness
This is the key sign of dandruff. Flakes are caused when the scalp has become irritated and inflamed by the oleic acid.
Your body’s solution to getting rid of the irritant is a signal to the brain to make and shed skin cells at a rapid rate.
Rapid shedding is what causes visible flakes on your scalp and shoulders.
There are other causes of visible flakes that share similar symptoms with dandruff: Sunburnt scalp
When the scalp is sunburnt, you may experience redness, itchiness and skin flakes. These are often dry and flaky and can be treated with cooling aloe.
Head lice produce eggs called nits. These are often mistaken for dandruff flakes, as they are a similar color.
How to tell the difference between dandruff and nits:
Dandruff flakes are loose; they fall off the hair
Nits cling to the hair
Nits have a specific teardrop shape
Dandruff skin flakes can be found on scalp (where they form) AND hair
Nits will be found only on hair fibers
Head lice and nits need to be treated with specially medicated shampoos and manual combing.
How to treat dandruff flakes
Head & Shoulders has been specially formulated to help prevent visible flakes, redness and irritation caused by dandruff.
Get rid of flakes by washing your hair with our Cool Menthol Shampoo.
It leaves your hair 100% flake-free1 and leaves it feeling moisturized and silky, while smelling of fresh lavender.
Our Apple Fresh Shampoo is specially tailored for men who want a shampoo that fights grease and oil, for clean, flake-free hair 1 that smells great.
More about the symptoms of dandruff
More tips and advice from the experts:
- Symptoms of dandruff
1 visible flakes with regular use