One in Two People Have Dandruff, One in Five People Have Hair Loss, but Some are Unlucky Enough to Have Both.
Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
It is a common belief that dandruff rarely causes hair loss directly. However, there are mechanisms that link these two, including the common habitat that both of them share. To be more precise, the scalp. Based on scientific papers, we can examine the link between dandruff and hair loss in the following ways:
- Hair follicles injury due to scratching
- A rare condition called Pityriasis amiantacea
- People with androgenic alopecia
- Medical conditions that cause both
- Oxidative stress of the scalp related to dandruff related issues
Hair Follicles Injury Due to Scratching
Severe itching provoked by dandruff can cause a person to scratch the scalp. In severe cases, some follicles may be damaged, and hair strands may fall out temporarily. However, this condition is not permanent.
In severe cases of dandruff, it is recommended to see your doctor so that you can avoid further complications.
A Rare Condition Known as Pityriasis Amiantacea
Severe, stubborn dandruff can hurt the scalp and hair follicles, causing hair to fall, or thin out. When dandruff is left untreated, it may develop into a rare condition known as Pityriasis Amiantacea.
Pityriasis Amiantacea is usually characterised by thick scales on the scalp. These scales wrap around the hair shaft and may clump strands together. The scales appear silver or yellow in colour and separating them away from the scalp or hair strands can cause hair loss due to scarring. However, the loss is almost always reversible.
It is hard not to believe that the relationship between the structure of the scalp and hair loss issues have an undeniable relationship, since hair originates from the scalp, anything that affects the scalp can affect the integrity of the hair. Pityriasis Amiantacea may be caused by:
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis
- Scalp psoriasis
- Tinea capitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- lichen simplex
- Head lice
Androgenic Alopecia or Male Pattern Baldness
Androgenic Alopecia is a prevalent type of hair loss that is linked to male hormones. Although in men it leads to complete baldness, in women, Androgenic Alopecia is associated with thinning hair. Male pattern baldness is hereditary in both men and women. It has a well-defined pattern of hair loss. The hair falls from the top of the temples, the line of growth gradually recedes to form an M shape.
It’s noteworthy that in some valid studies, dandruff exacerbates hair loss in people with male pattern baldness. So, if you have a family history of baldness, take dandruff seriously, as it may increase hair loss.
Medical Conditions That Cause Both Dandruff and Hair Loss
Although each of which has its specific causes, there are some health-related issues that can lead to both dandruff and hair loss:
Seborrheic Dermatitis manifests in a spectrum, with dandruff being on the milder end of it. Simple dandruff can intensify and lead to itchy red patches and greasy scales on various parts of the skin. Although dandruff is restricted to the scalp, other manifestations of seborrheic Dermatitis can extend to other areas.
Seborrheic dermatitis is not always associated with hair loss. However, the extra oil on the scalp associated with this type of dermatitis can lead to a growth of fungus called Malassezia. Malassezia overgrowth causes inflammation that makes it harder for hair to grow in nearby areas.
Need to know more about seborrheic dermatitis and its connection with dandruff and Malassezia fungus? Click on this link.
Psoriasis of the scalp is a common skin issue in which scaly patches develop. This type of psoriasis can occur in a single patch or several patches, and in some cases, even affect the entire scalp. Scalp Psoriasis may also progress to the back of the neck, back, and inside the ears.
Psoriasis is characterised as an autoimmune disease in which the immune system perceives its cells as enemies and attacks them. Doctors believe this mistake causes the overproduction of skin cells and the formation of scaly patches. Although these scales are not classified as dandruff, scalp psoriasis causes dandruff-like symptoms and can result in bald spots where the flaky patches develop.
Despite what its name implies, ringworm is not a worm but a fungal infection that attacks dead tissues in areas such as hair, nails, and dead skin on the scalp.
Immune system responses, as well as subsequent bacterial activity cause the skin to become red, inflamed, and itchy. Ringworm is pretty contagious and causes circular lesions on the skin. People with this type of fungal infection experience severe itching, dandruff-like flakes, as well as potentially hair falling out in clumps.
Folliculitis Decalvans (FD)
Folliculitis decalvans (FD) is one of the rare dermatological concerns associated with permanent inflammation of the follicles. Inflamed follicles cannot grow new hair, which usually ends up resulting in hair loss. Itchy red patches and purulent pustules around the affected follicles are among the top symptoms. The sufferer experiences severe itching that may also lead to dandruff.
Lichen planopilaris is an autoimmune disease that usually affects young women. This complication involves the hair follicles and causes permanent hair loss. Itchy, dry skin, and scaling are common in the affected areas and can also lead to hair falling out in clumps.
Demodex mites are microscopic parasites that live on the skin of most of us. Just like the Malassezia fungus and countless of other microorganisms, they are part of the skin’s natural microbiome.
You may have heard about Demodex in dogs, but did you know that some Demodex species have been revealed to play an influential role in exacerbating, triggering, and even causing skin complications such as hair loss and dandruff in humans. On the other hand, they have shown to play a role in developing seborrheic dermatitis and Malassezia fungus, both of which are related to dandruff and hair loss.
To know more About Demodex mites and their role in common skin and hair issues, read this article.
How Do Demodex Cause Dandruff?
Demodex release inflammatory agents that make the immune system react, igniting a cascade of inflammatory responses that end up in inflammation and itching. If the Demodex density is low, these inflammatory substances are easy to look over, and do not pose a particular problem. However, under favourable circumstances, like a weak immune system, Demodex mites can proliferate. They release significant amounts of irritating compounds that cause severe itching, resulting in the host scratching the skin, which can lead to scaling.
On the other hand, Demodex mites also scratch the skin with their tiny claws, causing micro lesions. Consequently, skin cells grow and hyper keratinize, which can result in a dandruff-like appearance. These flakes, which are mostly cylindrical, are a definite sign of Demodex infection on the eyelid. So, if you have swollen, flaky eyelids, with cylindrical dandruff at your eyelash base, there is a good chance that your Demodex population is probably out of control.
Another approach Demodex mites adopt to provoke dandruff is about what they carry inside. The Demodex body is full of harmful bacteria and fungi like Malassezia, which can cause and exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis and other fungal infections.
How can Demodex Lead to Hair Loss?
In severe cases of a Demodex mites’ infestation, up to 25 mites fit into one follicle! This high number physically damages the follicles, loosens the hair, and causes the strands to fall out.
On the other hand, the principal food of Demodex mites is skin oil (also known as sebum), which is secreted by the sebaceous glands and is necessary for skin and hair to grow normally and healthily. Demodex mites also feed on vitamins, minerals, hormones, and epithelial cells. Although they usually are not problematic in small numbers, if they exceed 5 per square centimetre of skin, they deplete the skin’s resources and weaken the hair so that starving hair strands can hardly grow and gradually get thin and fall out.
On top of all, with the harmful compounds they carry, Demodex mites cause inflammation and oxidative reactions. These harmful responses affect the follicles and skin and exacerbate hair loss.
As mentioned, Demodex also plays a role in causing seborrheic dermatitis, which is also one of the underlying causes of hair loss.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Skin disorders leading to hair loss and dandruff are usually diagnosed via clinical examination. However, it’s not the same for Demodex mite infestations. They are not visible to the naked eye. On the other hand, the mites mostly hang out under the follicles, where they are entirely out of reach. Consequently, sampling and counting them under the microscope is highly challenging. Maybe that’s why their role in causing dandruff and hair loss has been overlooked for so long.
Demodex mites in large numbers can manifest symptoms that bring their existence out of the shadows. We do not have to see them under a microscope to know they are there; the symptoms speak louder than words.
Demodex Mites Online Test
If you don’t know if you should be blaming Demodex for hair loss and dandruff, take this 5-minute symptom-based test. The test accurately estimates the density of Demodex on your skin, so if you have a lot of Demodex, you know you can do something to get rid of your hair fall and those pesky flakes.
How to Control Demodex Mites?
Since many of our daily habits may reinforce Demodex, getting the mites under control requires comprehensive measures. For example, consumption of fried and greasy food as well as using oily cosmetics and healthcare products provides Demodex with an extra source of food to grow rapidly. On the other hand, some bad habits weaken the immune system and help Demodex take control of the skin.
For more information about these habits, refer to the habit tab of this link.
At Ozidex, we have produced a unique product that revolutionizes the anti-Demodex industry. PROCUTiN is natural and herbal based and produces no side effects when used as part of your skin’s daily routine. We provide this product with a comprehensive protocol so that you can control Demodex mites in the shortest possible time.
PROCUTiN can be applied to other parts of the skin in addition to the scalp. You can even use it in it’s diluted form on your eyelids and ear canal.
Demodex may transfer to your skin from other people’s personal items, which come in direct contact with the skin and hair. These items include bedding, pillowcases, towels, hats, combs, hair salon equipment, cosmetics, etc. You can prevent Demodex from infecting you by applying a small amount of PROCUTiN on these items. Simply spray a little of the product, and you are safe to get infected.
To Know more about PROCUTiN hair and skin Features, click here.