Can stress cause dandruff? Here’s what you should know


Dandruff flare-ups are quite common during stressful situations. But does stress cause dandruff? Let's find out.

1. What causes dandruff?
2. How is stress responsible for dandruff?
3. Tips to combat stress to prevent dandruff

When you are caught off-guard by the sudden need to scratch your scalp, dandruff is the first thing that comes to your mind. Your doubts are soon confirmed when you notice yellowish, oily flakes falling on your shoulders when you give your head a subtle shake. Dandruff is one of the most common hair woes, but this doesn’t make it any less stressful. Talking about stress, have you noticed that you tend to experience more dandruff flare-ups when you are in a stressful situation? If you nodded in a yes, we’re sure your next question will be - can stress cause dandruff?

Let’s find out.

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff mainly occurs due to the microbe Malassezia globosa, which feeds on the natural scalp oils called sebum. When the sebum breaks down, it produces oleic acid. While this is a normal process, some people are sensitive to oleic acid, and this causes scalp irritation. The scalp becomes red, inflamed, and itchy. As a response to this irritation, the body signals the brain to shed the skin cells faster to get rid of the irritant. This shedding of skin is what causes visible flakes to appear on the scalp, which eventually rest on your shoulder when you scratch or shake your head.

How is stress responsible for dandruff?

Does stress cause dandruff? Well, not directly. But there are several symptoms associated with stress that can aggravate dandruff. These include:

  • Over-heating and sweating

    People sweat when they are anxious or caught in a stressful situation. Your sweaty, over-heated scalp provides the perfect environment for the microbe to thrive.
  • Hormonal changes

    Malassezia globosa feeds on the sebum produced by the scalp, and the sebum production is controlled by hormones. Stress can affect your hormonal levels and cause them to go haywire. This can send the sebum production into overdrive, which means that the microbe has more sebum to feed on. More sebum means more oleic acid, which, in turn, means more dandruff and flaking.

Although stress does not directly cause dandruff, it weakens your body’s natural defences. This makes it difficult for your body to deal with the microbe and its effects on your scalp. Hence, symptoms of dandruff, such as dryness, flaking, and itching; become more severe when you are under stress.

Tips to combat stress to prevent dandruff

Now that you know that stress triggers dandruff and vice versa, you need to break this vicious circle. This is where Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Hair Products and some stress management techniques can come to your rescue.

  • Use an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner

    Since dandruff and stress are related, and you are aware of how you react to stressful situations, you have to be prepared. If you are already susceptible to dandruff, use Head & Shoulders Clean & Balanced Shampoo. This anti-dandruff shampoo is formulated with HydraZinc that gives you seven benefits: fights dry scalp, relieves irritation, calms itchy scalp, has great scent, controls flaky scalp, reduces redness (associated with dandruff), and leaves your hair looking great. It gives you clean, manageable hair, and offers up to 100% dandruff protection*. Follow it up with Head & Shoulders Clean & Balanced Conditioner, and lock in its immense dandruff-fighting power. This clean-rinsing conditioner provides balanced conditioning and makes your hair soft and manageable.
  • Practice deep-breathing

    Since you know that dandruff and stress are interconnected, you need to learn some effective stress management techniques, like deep breathing. You’ll be surprised by how relieved you’ll feel when you start practising this technique. When you feel stressed, stop and take deep breaths in and out. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes, and you’ll start feeling better in no time.
  • Eat well

    A well-balanced diet makes you feel better in general. It plays a big role in controlling your mood swings. Also, do not skip any meals as it can put you in a bad mood, which tends to increase your stress levels.
  • Exercise

    Exercising regularly works as an effective stress buster. It releases happy hormones, puts you in a good mood, and channelises that nervous energy to do something more productive. Plus, working out is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body.

The anti-dandruff hair products from Head & Shoulders coupled with these effective stress management measures can help you keep dandruff in check. However, if you are dealing with chronic stress, seek the assistance of your doctor.

(*visible flakes, with regular use)