Psychosomatics of Dandruff: How to Get Rid of It Using Alternative Methods

Dandruff does not pose a significant threat to physical health, but it noticeably deteriorates a person’s psychological state. It tarnishes a person’s appearance and hinders social interactions. But isn’t this a hidden psychological desire of the individual? However, let’s discuss everything in order.

What is Dandruff

Normally, scalp skin cells renew every 3-4 weeks, and due to the normal functioning of glands, flaking remains unnoticed. However, if there is a disruption, the intensity of peeling increases, and skin flakes stick together.

Dandruff is small or large, oily or dry skin flakes. From a medical point of view, it is not considered a serious problem but is related to a mild stage of seborrheic dermatitis (seborrhea). The disease comes in two types: oily seborrhea and dry seborrhea.

Manifestations of Oily Seborrhea

Oily seborrhea often arises due to hormonal imbalances. It comes in liquid and thick forms. In the thick form, hair becomes stiff and coarse, while in the liquid form – greasy. There are other differences as well.

Signs of thick seborrhea:

  • Darkening of the scalp skin;
  • Enlarged pores and follicle openings;
  • Oily and purulent growths near the openings;
  • Secretion when pressing on the openings;
  • Inflammation, pain, swelling;
  • Adherence of dandruff.

Signs of liquid seborrhea:

  • Yellowish color of dandruff, easy sloughing off;
  • Itching;
  • Hair loss;
  • Formation of pustules and cysts (in advanced stages).

Interesting! Thick oily seborrhea often occurs on men’s scalps and can lead to baldness.

Symptoms of the Dry

Type of the Disease In dry dandruff, white, silvery, or yellowish skin flakes are clearly visible on the hair. When touched with a hand or comb, they easily flake off, and in advanced cases, dandruff even falls off when walking (noticeable on clothing). Hair becomes dry and brittle, and in advanced stages, it falls out.

Dry seborrhea is accompanied by intense itching, which leads to scratching the skin. This, in turn, leads to inflammation and wounds. If an infection enters the wounds, the situation worsens even more.

Causes of the Disease

Medically, the disease is believed to arise from metabolic disorders or fungal infections. But other predispositions can be highlighted. Let’s examine the popular causes of dandruff in more detail.

Improper Functioning of Sebaceous

Glands, or Seborrhea Improper functioning of sebaceous glands is the most common cause of dandruff. If gland activity is excessive, oily seborrhea occurs, and if insufficient, dry seborrhea. Each type requires its treatment, so it is better to leave this to a professional (trichologist).

Skin Infection by Fungus

Infection by the fungus Pityrosporum ovale is the second most common cause. Infection can occur in public showers, through combs and hair ties, hats. The first signs of the fungus are noticeable two weeks after infection: • Itching; • Redness in the eyebrow area; • Hair loss (a symptom of an advanced stage of the disease).

Hormonal Imbalance

The condition of the scalp is largely dependent on the balance of sex hormones. For example, teenagers during puberty and hormonal storms often suffer from dandruff – the level of androgens increases, which stimulates sebum production and causes its thickening. Pregnancy and accompanying hormonal changes are reasons for dandruff in women. For men, the natural ratio of hormones, a greater predisposition to increased testosterone, is the cause of dandruff.

Interesting! In some cases, dandruff arises against the backdrop of thyroid gland dysfunction.


Not only Pityrosporum ovale causes seborrhea, but also other mycoses (fungi), such as Malassezia. This microorganism is always present in the body, participates in the processing of skin sebum. Together with other microorganisms, it maintains normal microflora. But sometimes the activity of the fungus increases. It starts consuming more sebum than necessary and produces oleic acid. It causes itching, inflammation, peeling. However, a deficit of the fungus is also harmful to health. It causes oily seborrhea.

Skin Diseases

Demodicosis – a subcutaneous mite. Causes inflammation, itching, peeling, formation of pustules and dandruff. The mite can be contracted due to improper hygiene. Other possible skin diseases causing dandruff on the scalp: psoriasis, eczema, contact dermatitis.

Other Factors

Improper hygiene (rare or frequent washing, unsuitable shampoo, and conditioner) can also provoke abnormal skin flaking. A specific cause of dandruff in women’s scalp – burns during hair lightening or allergy during hair dyeing.

Other causes of dandruff in men and women:

  • Deficiency of vitamins A and C;
  • Taking medications;
  • Improper diet;
  • Gastrointestinal diseases.

Interesting! If drug treatment does not yield results, or if doctors cannot find the true cause, it is worth visiting a psychologist. You may have encountered psychogenic (psychosomatic) dandruff.

Problem in Childhood

Dandruff in children is rare. When it does occur, it is generally linked to psychological difficulties, such as intellectual overloads in school or psycho-emotional stress in life. Not all children have support, people ready to help, advise, or explain aspects of social relationships.

Dandruff in adolescents, especially in boys, is caused by an increase in androgens – these are collective names for male steroid hormones. They are present in both males and females but there is a surge in these hormones during puberty in boys.

Psychological Causes of Dandruff

We have already established that dandruff can be a consequence of unfavorable environmental conditions, health problems, or a symptom of skin diseases. However, it can also be a reaction to stress.

During stress, hormonal balance is disrupted – a lot of adrenaline is produced, which accelerates and stimulates blood flow to the muscles. Energy accumulates in the arms, legs, buttocks. This is necessary for running or attacking, in general, for survival. Less important systems for survival, including the integumentary system (skin, hair, nails), are shut down as unnecessary. The scalp dries out, causing seborrhea.

Psychology knows other, more specific causes. Dandruff psychosomatics:

  • Exhaustion from social contacts;
  • Fear of losing savings, financial instability;
  • Intellectual exhaustion;
  • Tiredness from obligations, but unable to refuse due to pride and hyper-responsibility;
  • Prohibition on expressing weakness and resting;
  • Egoism and a tendency to manipulate others, trampling over people (relevant for fungal dandruff).

Can dandruff appear due to nervous tension? Yes, the factors of the disease: misunderstanding one’s place in the world, excessive mental loads. In psychosomatics, the skin represents the boundary between a person’s individuality and the external world. Any skin disease indicates problems in the social sphere, conflict between the person and the world.

These are commonly accepted psychological causes, but there are other interpretations. Let’s examine the theories of several authoritative psychosomatists in more detail.

Louise Hay on the Causes of Dandruff

Louise Hay calls dandruff a consequence of problems in the social and emotional spheres. According to Louise’s table, dandruff means:

  • Pathological desire to gain total control over situations, people, the world;
  • Chronic tension;
  • Mistrust of the world.

To heal, one needs to let go of fear and anxiety, the mindset of hostility towards the world. It is necessary to forgive past grievances and close psychological traumas. This affirmation can help: “I lovingly protect myself with peaceful, joyful thoughts. The past is forgiven and forgotten. Now I have complete freedom.”

V. Sinelnikov

Another equally authoritative psychosomatist, Valery Sinelnikov, believes that dandruff is the psyche’s attempt to free itself from anger. In this way, a person tries to shield themselves from the irritating world.

Liz Bourbeau

According to Liz Bourbeau, dandruff is a reaction to despair and shock, a feeling of helplessness caused by problems with the external world. Hair is a conductor between a person’s inner self and the external world, the Universe. Any problems with hair and scalp signal that a person has lost faith in themselves and the laws of the Universe. What else does it indicate:

  • The person does not know how to live further.
  • They are tired and cannot withstand the world.
  • They do not value themselves as individuals, are ashamed of themselves, and depend on others’ opinions.

How to Treat: Believe in yourself, love yourself, allow yourself to be who you are. You alone are responsible for your life. You alone make decisions. Allow yourself to make mistakes and take decisions that benefit you, not someone else. Right now, make a list of your merits, add one item daily – learn to appreciate yourself.


The treatment depends on the cause. Antifungal or hormonal medications, cytostatics, antihistamines, and others may be prescribed. But if the issue is psychosomatic, shampoos, sprays, pills, ointments, and other remedies will only provide temporary relief. They will eliminate the symptoms of the problem, not its cause. To permanently get rid of dandruff, it is necessary to address the psychological causes, but first, they must be accurately identified (preferably with a psychologist’s help).

Consciousness correction depends on the individual cause, which may lie in fear of financial instability, devaluing oneself as an individual, or other problems. Therefore, consulting a psychotherapist will be useful – they can delve into the subconscious, determine the exact causes and treatment.

Alternative Treatment

What else can be done for treatment and prevention of the disease:

  • Take vitamin complexes;
  • Maintain a balanced and healthy diet;
  • Drink plenty of water;
  • Avoid processed, fried, and fatty foods;
  • Engage in physical activity;
  • Find a hobby and learn to express emotions;
  • Strengthen overall immunity;
  • Undergo a course of cryomassage;
  • Drink herbal teas and plant-based calming agents to relieve stress and tension.

It is recommended to pay attention to shampoos with tar, sulfur, salicylic acid. But remember, these are auxiliary measures. The main treatment should be prescribed by a psychotherapist and a trichologist (dermatologist).

Interesting! You can try folk methods. For example, this recipe: mix two egg yolks with the juice of one lemon and five drops of burdock oil. Apply as a mask after washing your hair, leave it on for half an hour, and rinse with warm water.

Dandruff Prevention

For preventive measures, it is necessary to avoid intellectual exhaustion. Value yourself and your time, take a simpler approach to the world. You are not obligated to fulfill others’ duties or control everything. You do not have to be the best in everything all the time. You too have the right to rest. Stop trying to please others and thinking, ‘what will others say?’. Try to worry less about material values. The pursuit of wealth can be endless. And if there are no clear goals and other values, it will always seem insufficient.

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