Why Dandruff Develops & How To Stop It!

Why Dandruff Develops & How To Stop It!

Dandruff can be stubborn and annoying. But it is by no means rare: an estimated 40% of the general population are affected by dandruff at least once in their lives.

*Ranganathan S, Mukhopadhyay T. Dandruff: The most commercially exploited skin disease. Indian J Dermatol. 2010;55:130–4.

How dandruff develops 

The formation of flakes of dead skin is an absolutely normal process: We lose flakes of skin every day – also from our heads. The skin regenerates approximately every four weeks. As it does so, it sloughs off old, dead skin cells. But, if the skin cells of the scalp regenerate too quickly and slough off from the scalp in large groups of cells, visible dandruff develops.

Not all dandruff is the same

There are two types of dandruff:

Oily dandruff flakes are large, yellowish and plaque-like. They have greasy, yellowish deposits that stick to the head and the hair.

However, dry dandruff flakes are small and white and they fall off the head and out of the hair. They develop on a very dry scalp that tends to be itchy. This type of dandruff should be treated with a special gentle shampoo.

Causes and symptoms of oily dandruff

The sebaceous glands on the scalp produce sebum. This protects the scalp from moisture loss and the effects of the environment. In a greasy scalp, the sebaceous glands produce excessive sebum. This enables germs and microorganisms that occur naturally on the skin to multiply faster.

The Malassezia yeast, for example, breaks down sebum and dead skin cells. But if it grows too rapidly, the scalp reacts by producing more skin cells, which are later sloughed off in large groups of cells. The excess sebum causes the cells to stick together, forming large, visible dandruff flakes.

Oily dandruff can also be a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis. If you also suffer from severe itching, redness and inflammation of the scalp, please see a doctor.

What helps against oily dandruff

There are various ways to combat oily dandruff. The active substances piroctone olamine and zinc pyrithione are very effective against the Malassezia yeast. Salicylic acid has an anti-inflammatory effect on the scalp and it loosens the flakes of dead skin; fumaric acid has a lasting effect on stubborn dandruff.

The choice of the right anti-dandruff shampoo is always important. Choose a shampoo that meets the special needs of your scalp. Degreasing anti-dandruff shampoos are suitable for preventing oily dandruff.

Double effect against dandruff and strengthens your hair


Alpecin Double-Effect Caffeine Shampoo combats both dandruff and it strengthens hair. Due to the unique formula, the anti-dandruff active substances salicylic acid and piroctone olamine can remove the dandruff thoroughly, clearing the way for the caffeine complex to do its work.

1st Effect: Loose dandruff is removed and the scalp feels fresher and cleaner.

2nd effect: Caffeine travels along the hair making it appear thicker and stronger.


Please note: Dandruff caused by a dry scalp needs special treatment. Degreasing anti-dandruff shampoos are too aggressive in this case and could even aggravate the problem.

»Read more about it here!

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