You’re sensitive to your hair’s natural fungus
Contrary to popular belief, dry skin isn’t one of the causes of dandruff. The real culprit: an overgrowth of a common yeast called pityrosporum orbiculare. The yeast feeds on skin oils, which may explain why people with oily scalps are more susceptible to dandruff. “Some people make oil that is particularly likely to harbor this organism, and they get dandruff at the drop of a hat,” explains Robert T. Brodell, MD, professor and chair of the department of dermatology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Normally, a mild case of dandruff will respond to self-treatment, so give home remedies (like these 11 natural dandruff treatments) or over-the-counter dandruff shampoos about two weeks to work. Check out these other 21 reasons your scalp might be itchy.
You’re stressed out
Dandruff may be a clue that you need to relax. “Stress can worsen any skin condition,” says New York City-based dermatologist Lotika Singh, MD. Stress impairs your immune system and can be one of the causes of dandruff, provoking flare-ups. “Particularly in the cases where the dandruff is itchy,” she adds. “[Stress] can perpetuate an itch-scratch cycle: the more the patient scratches, the itchier it becomes.” (Don’t miss these other 8 scary signs stress is making you sick.) Incorporate relaxation techniques into your everyday routine. Try yoga, a daily walk, or some deep breathing (inhale for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four).