Can You Get Dandruff From Not Washing Hair?

BY Kiku Chaudhuri

Find out if you can get dandruff from not washing hair, as well as tips to combat dandruff once and for all

We've all experienced dandruff at some time or another. It makes sense considering it's one of the most common hair-related problems that men and women face. In fact, according to a research article published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, “Dandruff is a common scalp disorder affecting almost half of the population.” Dandruff can not only be an embarrassment but also lead to hair loss and scalp acne. 

It is almost inevitable that you will face dandruff at some point in your life. Some people get dandruff from not washing their hair, while some get it as a result of fungal infections or incessant exposure to UV rays. However, the good thing is that in the majority of cases you can manage dandruff through simple lifestyle choices. 

What exactly IS dandruff?

In simple words, dandruff can be explained as dead cells called corneocytes that come off as loose flakes from your scalp. These dead cells are made when natural oil on your scalp mixes with dead cells or dirt and develop into a layer and then shed when disturbed. 

You can suffer from dandruff in all seasons. People with dry hair tend to get it in winter, when the air is cold and lacks humidity, and ends up drying out the scalp. Winters also deter people from shampooing and they get dandruff from not washing hair. Some people’s dandruff problem is exacerbated in hot and humid weather, making their scalp oily, which in turn attracts dust and grime. 

What causes dandruff and can you get dandruff from not washing hair?

Here are some common causes of dandruff: 

Seborrheic Dermatitis: It is a condition in which your scalp becomes extremely oily and scaly that creates dandruff. You can have seborrheic dermatitis on your eyebrows, chest, and armpits. It can be treated with medicated shampoos that have zinc pyrithione. It is also subdued with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs.

Fungus Infection: In several cases malassezia, a type of fungus, creates dandruff. All people have malassezia on their scalps but its excess presence triggers a very fast creation of scalp cells. Eventually, the extra cells build up and become flakey dandruff. The malassezia induced dandruff is a chronic condition that needs to be managed with the help of anti-fungal topical creams and isotretinoin. Factors like age and hormonal imbalance also cause malassezia to flare up. 

Not washing hair enough: Proper shampooing is fundamentally important to haircare. One can get dandruff from not washing hair enough. People should wash their hair at least twice a week to rinse away dirt and pollution. Using a natural and mild shampoo will maintain the scalp’s pH and not harm the healthy microbes that are on your scalp. 

Using Too Much Shampoo: Excessive shampooing can strip your scalp of natural oils created by the sebaceous glands. These natural oils maintain the elasticity of the scalp and lubricate the hair follicles. The dryness caused by needless shampooing rids the scalp of the natural oils which lead to dandruff. 

Using The Wrong Products: Some shampoos instead of reducing dandruff, aggravate it. Shampoos that have ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and palm oil can be hard to rinse. Conditioners or leave-in conditioners with murumuru butter, hair gels, and hair sprays leave their residue that mixes with dead cells and oil. This eventually builds up and develops into dandruff. 

A Sure Shot Way To Prevent Dandruff

Dermatologists around the world agree that in the majority of cases, people get dandruff from not washing hair properly. One should use anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial shampoos like Unearth Yourself Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser for all hair types. This all-natural shampoo cleans your hair while retaining the natural moisture of your scalp. You can also include a pre-wash such as Back To Your Roots Scalp + Hair Prewash that has tea tree oil in it. Research has shown that tea tree oil is highly effective in the treatment of dandruff.

So, the next time you think you might have dandruff, try these tips and keep your scalp healthy and clear of this scalp condition.