Almost anyone can have dandruff, but certain factors can make you more susceptible:

  • Age. Dandruff usually begins in young adulthood and continues through middle age. That doesn't mean older adults don't get dandruff. For some people, the problem can be lifelong.
  • Being male. Because more men have dandruff, some researchers think male hormones may play a role. Men also have larger oil-producing glands on their scalps, which can contribute to dandruff.
  • Oily hair and scalp. Malassezia feeds on oils in your scalp. For that reason, having excessively oily skin and hair makes you more prone to dandruff.
  • Poor diet. If your diet lacks foods high in zinc, B vitamins or certain types of fats, you may be more likely to have dandruff.
  • Certain illnesses. For reasons that aren't clear, adults with neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. So are people with HIV infection and those recovering from stressful conditions, particularly heart attack and stroke, and those with compromised immune systems.
Jan. 23, 2014

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