Does Dry Shampoo Cause Dandruff?

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Ever since the day we met, my dry shampoo and I have been attached at the hip. It goes with me everywhere—to the gym, on vacation and even to work! But one day my devotion to it was shaken when a friend said she thought it was causing her dandruff. To see if we could still make it work, I asked a few of our trusty dermatologists to see if it was true.

The verdict? “Dry shampoo does not cause dandruff,” says New York dermatologist Eric Schweiger, MD. “Dandruff is caused by an inflammatory reaction of the skin to the natural yeast that lives on the scalp; this condition is called seborrheic dermatitis and is not improved or worsened by dry shampoo."

I also found out that there are certain people in particular that can benefit from a dry shampoo. “It’s good for people that have thin hair which will get flat if they shampoo too much,” says Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD. “It’s also good for permed hair that can get to dry and brittle if it is shampooed all the time.” 

While that’s all good to know, I was still curious to find out why my friend thought her dry shampoo was causing dandruff. One theory from Dr. Schweiger is that the flakes are from the dry shampoo itself or any other hair products like gel and hairspray.

Another theory is that skipping out on shampooing your hair more often and using dry shampoo instead could actually be what’s causing those pesky flakes. “The common misconception that patients have is that dandruff is caused by the dryness of the scalp, so they will normally shampoo only once or twice a week,” says Smithtown, NY, dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. “The first thing I tell them is to increase the frequency of shampooing to every day.”

So it looks like my beloved dry shampoo can keep its well-deserved place in my beauty regimen. Still not a fan yet? Watch this video to learn how to use dry shampoo.  

3 Comments
  • sara
    Posted on

    Unfortunately in my case,dry shampoo gave me dandruff. This is my personal experience. In January 2014 I've changed my hairstyle and got myself a nice thick fringe or bangs if you prefer. Because the hair is directly in contact with my forehead, fringe gets greasy before the rest of my hair, so I started using dry shampoo in-between washing my hair (on average every 3 days in cooler months) after about a week small white dust started to fall from my fringe area only! I carried on I think for about 6 weeks, trying every dry shampoo I could find and the result was always the same. I never had dandruff and the fact that it only appears in my fringe area convinces me that it was caused by dry shampoo! When I stopped using it, the problem slowly went away. now I wash my fringe when needed.

  • Melanie
    Posted on

    I think really strong shampoos don't cause dandruff but they don't help the problem get better. I recommend the por naturals shampoo and conditioner. They are made with real argan oil and are completely sulfate-free

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Very helpful info thank you

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