Malassezia Fungus ǀ Is dandruff contagious? 11 Dandruff FAQs

Is Dandruff Contagious

Malassezia Fungus

Although doctors have not yet concluded what constitutes dandruff, some theories are accepted by most physicians and scientists worldwide, and ‘Malassezia’ is one of those causes. 

Malassezia is a fungus that lives on the surface of our skin.

Malassezia or Malassezia fungus can grow and spread mainly on your scalp, and unfortunately, this behavior of this fungus irritates the skin cells in your head and dissipates much faster than usual. As a result, the scalp may be bitten and very swollen.

1. Is dandruff contagious or infectious?

The contagious nature of an epidemic is dangerous and a matter of concern for everyone.

When you see someone close in your circle with dandruff, you may be asking this “Is dandruff contagious or infectious?” to yourself.

Do not worry, when it comes to dandruff, you do not have to be worried as dandruff is not contagious.

You can’t give dandruff to anyone, and you won’t catch flakes from friends and loved ones if they have.

The pieces of white flakes on the head, made of dead skin that come out of your hair, are not only the irritating problem you can face.

The other features include:

  • It leads to unhygienic scalp condition
  • Occasionally, the scalp can be itchy
  • Yellowish-red bumps raised near the hair follicles (in severe cases)

2. What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a problem related to the scalp skin. 

Dandruff is a debilitating condition characterized by white flakes on the scalp. Without itching, flakes can appear on the scalp and cover your hair and clothes. 

Though it is not considered a critical medical problem, the persistent nature of these flakes causes irritation, significant worries, anxiety, and frustrations.

Dandruff is a treatable scalp problem, and it does not cause any significant long-term problems.

3. Is Dandruff Hereditary?

As you know, the most common cause of dandruff is ‘Malassezia.’ 

So, let’s move on to the topic of this blog – is dandruff hereditaty? Yes, there is uncertainty about this, too. Some doctors believe that there is a genetic component that can cause dandruff in the family. 

Some have the idea that dandruff is not transmitted directly to the offspring. Instead, genes may play a role in the growth of oily skin. 

Excess oil produced by the skin makes our scalp a good place for Malassezia to nourish and reproduce.

Along with genetics, hormonal changes are another stumbling block often associated with dandruff. 

For many people, withdrawal problems begin to occur when they reach their teenage years. 

It is a well-established fact that our bodies undergo many hormonal changes during puberty. Thus, by combining the two, we conclude that hormonal changes may be related to hair.

In addition, as we all know, hormones play several essential roles in our body, and one of these is the production of oil in our heads. 

Similar to genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances can also force our body to produce more oil in our scalp, accelerating the breakdown of skin cells and dandruff creation.

Although it is impossible to control all the hormones in our body, we can still control some of them by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

In addition, stress, poor hygiene, and excessive sweating are all factors that contribute to hair loss. 

Therefore, if you are suffering from dandruff, be sure to avoid this as much as possible. You can treat dry skin, fungus Malassezia, and dandruff.

4. What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Dandruff?

Many causes are responsible for the occurrence of dandruff. Here below are few prominent reasons:

  • Sometimes a lack of shampooing can cause an oily formation on the scalp, which leads to dandruff rashes. However, it is a myth that dandruff is directly linked to poor hygiene. Even if you wash your hair regularly, you may still develop those troublesome flakes.
  • Most people have a problem, but it can be very noticeable if you often wear black or if your hair is black.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: If you have a severe form of the problem, it may be a minor form of seborrheic dermatitis (SD). SD is a chronic form of eczema that affects areas of the body that secrete sebum or excessive oil.
  • People with oily skin tend to be more prone to the problem. The fungus called Malassezia is usually another cause of dandruff. 
  • For those who do not have dandruff, it takes about a month for the new skin cells to mature, die, and break down. But for those who have dandruff, the procedure skin cells cycle occurs in two to seven days, as per the Journal of Medical Chemistry.
  • Skin irritation is caused by an allergen or irritant, which leads to severe, potentially painful rashes and can cause dandruff. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, this problem usually happens because of hair care products or dyes.
  • Cold winter and dry Skin: If the cold winter air dries up your skin everywhere, including your skin, then dry skin can be the cause of your discomfort. When dry skin causes dandruff, flakes are usually thinner and less oily than SD-induced flakes. 

Dandruff is quite common. Anyone can have this scalp issue, but certain specific factors can make you more prone to it, including:

  • The frequent wash of hair and scalp with harsh shampoo: For those with dandruff and already at risk of losing their hair, frequent washing of the head can worsen the condition. Frequent washing with harsh chemical shampoos can dry the scalp and making hair lifeless. 
  • Age Factor: Dandruff usually begins in adolescence and rises in about 20 years, becoming more severe in people over 50, according to a review published in December 2015 in the Journal of Medicine and Research.
  • Sex Hormones: Androgen sex hormones, such as testosterone, stimulate activity in the sebaceous tissues. Too much oil means an increased risk of inflammation and dandruff. Often Men are more affected due to testosterone than women.
  • Other Skin Disorders History: History of Other Skin Disorders Having eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, or acne can cause dandruff.
  • Oily Skin: If you have oily skin, you are at higher risk for dandruff.

5. How much do I have to worry about side effects?

While dandruff itself may not cause side effects, certain products that control dandruff are possible. Beware of shampoos that contain charcoal, as they can dye your hair.

People with white hair, gray hair, and hair are often more vulnerable to these types of side effects.

Additionally, charcoal tar can make your skin more sensitive to the sun – you can prevent sunburn on the scalp by reducing exposure or wearing a hat outside.

6. Will I lose my hair?

Dandruff itself is not a cause of hair loss. While there may be hair loss and dandruff simultaneously, there is no cause and effect between these two conditions.

Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis causes hair loss. Unlike normal mild fever, seborrheic dermatitis (more severe acne) can appear, affecting the face, skin, and sometimes the entire body. 

In addition to the intoxication, more scalp appearance, redness, and oily yellow plaques may appear.

7. How can I treat dandruff?

Medicinal dandruff shampoos are the most common treatments for itchy scalp. The following may be helpful:

  • Shampoo that contains Pyrithione zinc
  • Tar-based shampoos
  • Shampoos containing salicylic acid 
  • Selenium sulfide shampoos 
  • Ketoconazole shampoos

Whatever you use, be sure to leave it on your head for at least five to ten minutes to give the product an effective result.

Some people also notice some improvement with tea tree oil or shampoos that contain this essential oil. Tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions in some users, thus exacerbating skin problems.

First, the itching and mild dandruff, you can do daily cleansing with a mild shampoo to reduce scalp dryness and build up skin cells. 

If that doesn’t help, try a medical dandruff-reducing product. You may need to try more than one shampoo to find an effective hair care process. You may also need long-term treatment.

If you develop itching, redness, or rashes using any product, stop using it. If you develop allergies – such as chest pains or shortness of breath – seek medical help immediately.

Dandruff shampoos are classified into drugs that contain:

  • Pyrithione zinc shampoos: This contains the anti-fungal agent zinc Pyrithione.
  • Tar-based shampoos: Coal tar reduces how fast cells in your skin die and explode. If you have light-colored hair, this type of shampoo can cause a color change. It can also make the scalp more sensitive to the sun.
  • Shampoos contain salicylic acid: These products help eliminate the scale.
  • Selenium sulfide shampoos: These contain an antiseptic agent. Use these products as directed and wash thoroughly after shampooing, as they can remove hair and scalp dandruff.
  • Ketoconazole shampoos: This shampoo is intended to kill the fungus that causes dandruff that lives on your scalp. Available over the counter (OTC) on doctors’ prescriptions.

If one type of shampoo works for a while and then seems to lose its effectiveness, try switching between two types of dandruff shampoos.

Read and follow the directions in each bottle of shampoo you try. Some products need to be left for a few minutes, while others need to be cleaned immediately.

Initially, use one or three times a week shampoo to treat dandruff. Then tap once a week or less often for care and prevention.

8. What are the home remedies and lifestyle habits to reduce dandruff?

You can take steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of developing dandruff:

  • Learn to manage stress: Stress affects your entire life, making you prone to certain conditions and illnesses. It can also help to create dandruff or strengthen existing symptoms.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Nutrients foods with vitamin B, zinc, and certain types of good fats can help prevent dandruff.
  • Regular use of shampoo: If you have oily hair, often washing your hair can help prevent dandruff. Gently rub your head to release the flakes. Clean thoroughly.
  • Little sunlight: Sunlight can be good for controlling dandruff. But because exposure to ultraviolet light damages your skin and increases the risk of skin cancer, you may be exposed to the sun. Instead, spend some time outside. And be sure to wear sunscreen on your face and body.
  • Reduce the use of hair styling products: Hair styling products can build up in your hair and scalp, making them oilier.

9. Do I need to consult a doctor for dandruff?

Minor cases of dandruff do not require a visit to the doctor. If you are still experiencing problems with the inability to function without treatment and lifestyle, it may be time to call a dermatologist for help. 

Some conditions may look like acne, such as eczema, psoriasis, or fungal infections, but they require very different treatments.

10. How do I prevent dandruff?

Once you have a problem, chances are you will find it again in the future. There is no permanent cure, but regular use of antidandruff shampoos can help keep it in place. 

In addition to treating flakes as they arise, you can take specific precautionary measures to ensure that they do not appear in the first place.

11. How Is Dandruff Diagnosed?

A dermatologist can diagnose dandruff by simply looking at your skin. If your dandruff does not respond to treatment, your healthcare provider may choose to perform a skin biopsy to rule out other possibilities concerning dandruff and scalp problems.