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Why Do I Have Dandruff All of a Sudden?

7 mins

Tyler Teresi

We know how frustrating dandruff can be. Read this article to find out the causes and remedies for this annoying issue.

Dandruff is frustrating but not unavoidable. It is especially concerning when dandruff appears to come out of nowhere. There are a variety of factors that can cause dandruff, and the best way to treat it is to address these root causes. Although a flaky scalp can be difficult to handle, the right hair care treatment can help you make strides toward a relieved and healthy scalp.

WOW Skin Science is here to help you understand how this condition works and what steps you can take to overcome it.

Table of contents:

  • What Is Dandruff?
  • Symptoms of Dandruff
  • Causes of Dandruff
  • Why Do I Have Dandruff Now?
  • Who Is at Risk for Dandruff?
  • How To Treat Dandruff
  • What Hair Product Ingredients Help with Dandruff?
  • What Hair Product Ingredients Can Make Dandruff Worse?
  • What Products Should I Use for Dandruff?

What Is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a scalp condition where small pieces of dry skin flake from the scalp. Skin cells are constantly being replaced as part of the body’s natural process, and this process generally happens without being noticed. However, dandruff is often the cause of the overproduction of these skin cells in response to contaminated or irritated skin.

The flakes are often far more noticeable in dark hair, but dandruff affects one out of every five people.

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Symptoms of Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the more apparent conditions that can affect your hair since it is easily visible. If you are experiencing any of the following, then you likely have dandruff.

  • Skin flakes in the scalp or hair
  • Itchy scalp
  • Scaly, dry scalp
  • Red scalp

Dandruff symptoms can be made worse by certain factors, particularly the weather. Cold and dry seasons can both have a direct impact on the health and hydration of your scalp. Weather changes can very often cause an imbalance in the health of your scalp since they can be part of an abrupt change in the moisture content in your hair and scalp, which may require an adjustment to your routine to compensate. Stress can also make it worse, especially if you experience dandruff regularly already.

Causes of Dandruff

A wide variety of factors may cause dandruff. Ultimately, dandruff results from dryness in the scalp, so the causes of dandruff go hand-in-hand with imperfections or issues that affect the scalp.

  • Irritated or Oily Skin

Oily skin can lead to build-up on your scalp, causing irritation and a lack of cleanliness. As your scalp fights to remove the excess oil, it produces and sheds more skin cells, leading to dandruff.

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  • Dry Skin

When dehydrated, your skin works to produce more natural oils to keep it hydrated. This process is natural and completely normal. However, when your skin is excessively dry on a consistent basis, the scalp produces excess oil to keep up, causing build-up and dandruff.

  • Sensitivity to Hair Care Products

If you have a sensitive scalp, or if you are using hair care products with harsh ingredients, then they can irritate the skin. As mentioned, irritated skin can cause the scalp to overproduce skin cells to address the issue.

  • Skin Conditions

Conditions like psoriasis and eczema can affect the scalp just as much as they can other parts of the skin. If these conditions start to build up on the scalp, they can irritate and dry out the skin, increasing skin cell production and dandruff.

eczema and dandruff, hair concerns
  • Fungus

One of the direct causes is one that you may not have thought of, and it is more common than you may think. A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia can take control of your scalp and lead to dandruff. This fungus feeds on the oils in your scalp and breaks them down into new compounds, namely oleic acid. The body is generally highly sensitive to this acid and works to rid the scalp of it, which causes flaking skin. There are various species of this natural microbe, and the type of Malassezia affects the problems it may cause.

Why Do I Have Dandruff Now?

If your dandruff seemed to come out of nowhere and is starting to affect your quality of life, you want to get to the bottom of it so you can treat the issue and move on. Dandruff can often occur as a result of a change in your environment or hair care routine. 

Lifestyle changes that can lead to dandruff include weather, hair products, and one’s hair washing routine. A change in any of these factors can lead to dandruff, even if it was not an issue before.

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Other bodily changes, like metabolic shifts or hormone changes, can also cause dandruff as they influence the scalp’s oil production, which can dry out the scalp, cause more build-up, or provide more fuel for the development of Malassezia. Diet and stress may also be contributing factors that affect hormones and oil production in the skin and scalp.

Who Is at Risk for Dandruff?

Anybody can suffer the effects of dandruff, but it can be more common for some groups of people. Those who may be more at risk for dandruff are:

  • Young adults

Sebaceous glands are the most active around age 20. Dandruff normally starts to affect individuals from young adulthood and into middle age. For some, the condition can relieve itself, while for others, it may continue throughout their whole life.

  • Men

Men tend to experience dandruff more frequently than women.

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  • Those with nervous system conditions

Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that affect the nervous system have a direct impact on dandruff.

  • Immunocompromised individuals

Individuals with HIV or a weakened immune system are more prone to dandruff.

Although being at a higher risk for dandruff makes it harder to prevent the issue, it does not have to be a guarantee. Despite the risk factors, one can work to nourish the hair and scalp and manage the development of dandruff.

How To Treat Dandruff

Dandruff is not a permanent curse, and it is treatable. However, it can be hard to figure out since treatment is different for everyone, and everyone’s hair responds differently to various products and procedures. Ultimately, however, by making some key lifestyle changes, fixing the hair care products that you use, or changing your hair care routine, you can potentially reverse sudden dandruff.

How To Treat Dandruff
  • Return to Your Routine

If you changed products right before you suddenly developed dandruff, then your treatment plan may be to stop using the new product you are trying and see if that created the issue. The body takes some time to respond to change.

Changing products or your routine can remove the balance in the hair and scalp and cause dandruff. If you had a routine that worked and left your hair free from dandruff, then you may want to reconsider moving away from it. However, it may not always be this simple.

  • Wash Your Hair Regularly

Many people prefer to stretch out the time between washing their hair to avoid washing away natural oils and drying out the hair. To do so, some people go as far as a week or longer between hair shampoo treatments, depending on hair type. This is not a bad routine for your hair, especially if it works. However, if you are experiencing dandruff, there is a large chance that these oils are doing more harm than good.

Often, dandruff generates to shed oil build-up, dirt, or other irritants from your skin. Flaking is a natural bodily response to contaminants.

dandruff and hair washing, how to wash dandruff away
  • Exfoliate Your Scalp

The shampoo is an essential way to remove hair contaminants, but sometimes you need a response deeper than that. When you use an exfoliating process for your hair, you can take charge of the flaking response. By removing contaminants deep in your hair and at the scalp, you can work to get your flaking under control.

There are several ways you can exfoliate your hair and scalp. Consider using a clarifying shampoo to cut through oil and dirt and cleanse the scalp. WOW’s Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is a great example of a product that cleanses deeply while being gentle for your hair.

Another excellent exfoliating option is to use a hair mask, which remains in the hair to absorb and remove build-up. WOW’s Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Mask helps remove oil and dirt build-up to exfoliate and soothe your scalp.

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  • Moisturize Your Scalp

Dry skin is one of the most significant and common contributors to dandruff. Using a conditioner or other moisturizing treatment can help treat dandruff by hydrating and nourishing the skin on the scalp. Not only do they help trap and retain helpful moisture, but moisturizers and conditioners are also packed with nutrients that absorb into the hair and scalp. A great hydrating and nutrient-packed conditioner is WOW’s Coconut Milk Conditioner.

  • Manage Stress

Stress can be a big factor in causing dandruff. For some people, stress can be a more significant factor in causing dandruff than any of the physical causes. Therefore, you should consider how to reduce stress in your daily routine just as strongly as you consider which hair products you are going to use.

Finding more time in your day for exercise and relaxing activities can go a long way toward reducing your dandruff and preventing it from coming back.

relaxation to get rid of hair issues

Altogether, it may take some time for you to determine the most effective treatment for your scalp, but a bit of patience and careful attention to what works can go a long way. Everyone is different, so it can be a challenge to find the treatment that works best for you. Regardless, a combination of the above methods is a great place to start, as you can never go wrong with a mindful hair care routine.

What Hair Product Ingredients Help with Dandruff?

In the same way that food and medicine can help you when you are experiencing symptoms of sickness, the products that you put in your hair can make a difference. When it comes to fighting back against dandruff, it is important to address the root causes. Generally, this means cleaning and soothing the scalp to slow dandruff production, so you want ingredients that can do those two vital things. When you are searching for your next shampoo or conditioner, look for some of the following ingredients.

best ingredients to get rid of dandruff
  • Tea tree oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Omega-3s, like in argan oil

What Hair Product Ingredients Can Make Dandruff Worse?

Just as several ingredients can help soothe your scalp, many others can irritate it. By choosing the wrong ingredients, you can make it harder to get a handle on your dandruff and stunt the treatment process. Many ingredients can actually make your dandruff worse. As you compare labels in the search for your next hair care product, avoid the following:

  • Parabens
  • Silicones
  • Sulfates
  • Unnatural fragrances

What Products Should I Use for Dandruff?

Dandruff can be fickle and hard to figure out, as it may affect everyone differently. Despite the fact that dandruff can be frustrating, cleansing, nutrient-rich products can help get it under control. The following are some of the best products to use to help treat your dandruff.

  • WOW Green Tea and Tea Tree Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Many anti-dandruff shampoos can end up being counter-productive, as the chemicals they use to control dandruff may actually irritate the scalp and hair. WOW’s Green Tea and Tea Tree Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is formulated with only powerful natural ingredients to combat dandruff. Green tea, tea tree oil, and aloe vera all work together wonderfully to soothe your scalp and hydrate dry skin.

green tea shampoo, anti dandruff shampoo
  • WOW Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Mask

Omega-3s are an excellent ingredient for hydrating your scalp and nourishing your hair. WOW’s Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Mask is full of them, formulated with argan oil, coconut oil, and almond oil. A, B, and E vitamins also help to repair the skin and retain moisture. Use this hair mask twice a week to deeply infuse these nutrients into your hair and scalp.

  • WOW Coconut and Avocado Hair Conditioner

Coconut oil is great for dandruff since it has natural hydrating powers. Mixed with the forces of healthy fats from avocado oil, it is even stronger. WOW’s Coconut and Avocado Hair Conditioner combines these two natural ingredients in order to nourish the hair and reverse the effects of dandruff. Free from harmful ingredients, this conditioner will provide all its power without irritating your scalp.

products to eliminate dandruff

Dandruff is uncomfortable, frustrating, and can even be embarrassing. The flaky skin from the scalp can be caused by a wide range of factors and can be challenging to get a handle on. Fortunately, when you have the right products on your side, you can fight back.

At WOW Skin Science, our goal is to help you take charge of your hair care, and we are proud to provide all-natural, plant-based formulas to help. Our entire collection of hair care products can give you the tools to manage your dandruff and revitalize your hair, from the washing process to other helpful treatments. Explore our products so you can find the ones that work best for you and experience the difference of WOW Skin Science for yourself.

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Tyler Teresi

Tyler is a content writer specializing in blog writing, landing page content, and website copy. He is passionate about health and wellness, travel, and B2C content. When not writing, Tyler is riding his bike, playing his guitar, or hiking in the mountains.

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Author: Tyler Teresi

Latest posts:

Tyler Teresi

Tyler is a content writer specializing in blog writing, landing page content, and website copy. He is passionate about health and wellness, travel, and B2C content. When not writing, Tyler is riding his bike, playing his guitar, or hiking in the mountains.
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