Odd Enough This is what’s REALLY causing your dandruff

A new survey from Head and Shoulders says nearly half of women and men said they don’t wear black because of flakes.

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It’s Friday night, you’ve punched out from work, and you’re standing in front of your closet pondering: “What do I wear out tonight?”

Here’s a shocking fact: The most obvious answer—the little black dress—is out of the question to some women because they’re worried about showing their dandruff.

According to a new survey from Head and Shoulders, nearly half of women and men said they don’t wear black because of flakes (and 39 percent of millennials said they’d rather their partner point out bad breath than flakes).

Dandruff is one of the most most common scalp conditions, and despite what you've heard, it's actually NOT caused by dryness. Dandruff occurs when a yeast known as malassezia forms on the scalp. We all have it, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D.—but some of us react to it, and others don’t. When you and the yeast don’t get along, you get the classic oily, flat, yellow flakes on your scalp.

“An oily environment promotes yeast growth,” he says. “Yeast levels may rise when the humidity and heat rise or during times of sweating like when you exercise.”

Check out how to make this soothing DIY hair moisturizer:

That’s why it’s key to have a shampoo with a yeast-nixing ingredient. (One option: Head & Shoulders Clinical Solutions Collection (starting at $7.99), a prescription-strength formula that uses selenium sulfide to stop yeast-growth in its tracks.) It’s also important if you have dandruff to keep your combs and brushes clean, to avoid adding more irritating germs into the mix. If you’re not seeing results from an OTC shampoo, it’s probably smart to head to the doctor’s office for more help.

Even if you don’t have dandruff, you can take care to, well, take better care of your scalp. Nowadays, we put our hair through the ringer, using chemical processes (such as coloring) and products (dry shampoo, cough, cough) that can be irritating.

“With such a high concentration of oil glands on the scalp, it is very rare for the scalp truly to be dry,” says Zeichner. “However, some hair care products or processes may cause irritation to the scalp which can lead to flaking as well.” (We like this all-natural, organic shampoo from the Women's Health Boutique!)

Luckily, dryness like this generally tends to go away once you stop using the product that caused the irritation. So you might just need a slight tweak to your routine in order to banish those pesky flakes.

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