What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose dandruff, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "dandruff" as a symptom.  Here are six possibilities:
  • Hypothyroidism
  • EFA Need
  • Liver Congestion
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Vitamin B6 Need
  • Psoriasis*
* symptoms can be very similar

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
liver/gallbladder cleanses help
pain medication use
being highly lethargic
ovarian cysts
hyperthyroidism in family members
history of birth control pill use
slightly oily/sticky stools
grooves across fingernails
poor concentration during cycle
current birth control pill use
moderate alcohol consumption
fatty food intolerance
... and more than 110 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of dandruff:
Cause Probability Status
Psoriasis** 92% Confirm
Vitamin B6 Need 58% Possible
Liver Congestion 15% Unlikely
Sjogren's Syndrome 1% Ruled out
Hypothyroidism 0% Ruled out
EFA Need 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
** Symptoms can be very similar

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Existing Skin Conditions section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about dandruff:
Do you have dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis)?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Some
→ Significant
→ Severe
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either dandruff or severe dandruff, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Requirement

A diet low in essential fatty acids can result in skin problems, such as dandruff.


Hypothyroidism can manifest as dry, flaky skin.

Vitamin B6 Requirement

A vitamin B6 deficiency can cause dandruff.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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