©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Symptoms and Signs of Dandruff

Doctor's Notes on Dandruff

Dandruff is a condition that occurs due to peeling, or exfoliation, of the skin of the scalp. This process is completely normal, and dandruff becomes a problem due to cosmetic concerns. Excessive peeling of the skin may contribute to dandruff. The most common cause of excessive scalp peeling is seborrheic dermatitis (seborrhea), and inflammatory condition of the skin thought to be related to a specific fungus type (Malassezia furfur) that lives on the skin.

Signs and symptoms of seborrhea include itching along with reddened skin plaques covered by scales. The red, scaly plaques can also occur on the eyebrows, forehead, in the ear canal, and on the skin between the nose and lips. Slowing of hair growth may be an associated symptom, but seborrhea of the scalp does not cause hair loss.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.