What is Malassezia and how is it connected with dandruff?


Find out what primarily causes dandruff and explore the best ways to keep the condition under control with our expert’s tips and advice.

What is Malassezia and how is it connected with dandruff?

1. What is Malassezia?
2. So, how does Malassezia globosa cause dandruff?
3. How to prevent dandruff?
4. Essential hair care tips to keep dandruff at bay

As exotic as this word sounds, ‘Malassezia’, is actually a fungus (microbe) that lives on everyone’s skin of and is a part of the ecosystem of tiny organisms that live in and on your body—the microbiome. This microbe is responsible for causing dandruff but triggers a host of other problems, such as allergies and infections.

This brings us to another question—is dandruff a fungus? No, but it’s triggered by one. Let’s find out more about this microbe and how it causes dandruff.

What is Malassezia?

Malassezia isn’t one fungus, it’s a whole genus of fungi that live on the skin of humans and animals. Different species of this fungus trigger different skin conditions. If you have dandruff, it means Malassezia globosa has taken hold of your scalp. This single-celled microbe lives on everyone’s scalp and is usually harmless. However, 50% of the population has a negative reaction to the presence of this fungus on their scalp, which ultimately leads to dandruff.

Now that you know what is malassezia, we’ll tell you how it causes dandruff.

So, how does Malassezia globosa cause dandruff?

In a healthy scalp, dead skin cells shed constantly, and new ones grow to take their place. Usually, it goes unnoticed as the particles are tiny and the process doesn’t cause visible flakes or irritation. However, people who suffer from dandruff, experience this shedding at a faster rate with some seriously unpleasant consequences, and it is all related to Malassezia globosa. This is what happens:

• The Malassezia on the scalp feeds on the sebum that’s produced by your scalp to keep your hair hydrated.
• When the sebum breaks down, it releases a by-product called oleic acid. Though oleic acid is harmless, about 50% of the population is allergic to this by-product.
• As a reaction to this by-product, the scalp becomes red and inflamed, and in a bid to shed this irritant from the scalp, the body increases the speed at which the skin cells renew. This is what causes flaking.
• These dead cells accumulate on the scalp and eventually become visible in your hair, and start falling on your shoulders.
• In addition to flaking and dandruff, you might experience an itchy, dry, inflamed, and red scalp. These symptoms are your body’s response to the irritation caused by the microbe.

How to prevent dandruff?

Dandruff causes incessant itching, scaly patches, redness, and inflammation. The best way to treat dandruff and prevent it from recurring would be to use anti-dandruff products that are formulated using anti-dandruff active. This active ingredient is fungistatic, which means that it keeps the cells of fungi from dividing and thereby, stifling their growth. It plays a vital role in reducing Malassezia globosa, which further reduces oleic acid wastes, and soothes the irritation caused by the microbe. An effective and easy way to keep dandruff in check and prevent it from recurring is to use Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoos coupled with Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Conditioners. These hair products are formulated using anti-dandruff active to control the growth of the microbe and keep your scalp clean and flake-free.

For stubborn and severe dandruff, you can try Head & Shoulders Clinically Proven Solutions that are formulated using selenium sulphide, another active ingredient that targets the cause of severe dandruff.

Essential hair care tips to keep dandruff at bay

Along with these anti-dandruff products, you can try the following tips to get better results:

• Do not scratch your scalp when you shampoo, as it can damage your scalp and hair.
• Learn some effective stress management techniques to prevent stress from triggering dandruff flare-ups.
• Use an anti-dandruff shampoo and pair it with an anti-dandruff conditioner to lock in the dandruff-fighting power.
• Create a hair washing schedule to ensure that you wash your hair just enough to keep them clean and preserve the natural oils.
• If you are prone to dandruff, reduce the use of hair styling products as they can leave behind residue and cause scalp buildup. Take a walk in the sun as sunlight has proven effective in controlling dandruff. However, don’t go out in the sun without sunscreen as it can cause skin damage.

Now that you know Malassezia globosa is the primary cause of dandruff, use anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners to keep the condition under control. However, you should consult your doctor if the dandruff is severe and does not subside.