Large Dandruff Flakes: What They Mean

Written by Allison

Large dandruff flakes can be a big problem

Large dandruff flakes bumming you out? It’s totally understandable! Although it’s a super-common affliction, many of us can get embarrassed when we see large dandruff flakes (it’s up there with fungal acne and other skin woes). To rid your scalp of your case of the flakes, you first need to figure out what has caused your dandruff.

large dandruff flakes

What causes large dandruff flakes

First up, let’s talk about different ways your scalp can get flaky. There are a whole bunch! The major causes of a flaky scalp can be:

  • Dry skin: If your skin is particularly dry, you may get a flaky scalp. These flakes tend to be on the small side though, so no large dandruff flakes here.
  • Product buildup: Using a ton of dry shampoo, but skipping out on a clarifying shampoo? You may be causing product to build up on your hair and scalp. Using a bunch of different products on your hair and not effectively removing them can cause your scalp to get irritated and itchy, and the products can flake off, looking like chronic dandruff.
  • Scalp psoriasis: This tends to present with red, itchy, scaly skin that can also be flaky.
  • Contact fermatitis: If you’ve recently dyed your hair or changed shampoos and started getting the irritated, flaky feeling? It may be contact dermatitis. This is caused by an allergic reaction with a product.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This condition presents with greasy or oily patches and can have large dandruff flakes. Seborrheic dermatitis is known to present on more than just the scalp- the face and groin are also up for grabs.
  • Ring worm: This is an infection that presents in circular, raised, red irritation.
  • Run-of-the-mill dandruff: Plain ol’ dandruff can have many different causes and affects 50% of people!

Finding a solution to large dandruff flakes

Here’s the thing though, we’re all different, and depending on a number of factors your flakiness may look like small or large dandruff flakes. Just think, scratching at your scalp, harsh shampoos, not shampooing enough, all of these things can contribute to how your dandruff flakes appear. So, to treat the problem, don’t get caught up in the size of the flake! Instead, figuring out the cause will help you find the solution.

How to find our your dandruff cause

Well, let’s review the list of causes above. Reflecting back, when is the last time you used a hair product? And the last time you gave your scalp and hair a good deep clean? Do you have dry skin elsewhere? Have you changed products recently? These can all point you in the direction of some of the more simpler causes of dandruff.

If, however, you have persistent, itchy, raised, red, or irritated skin on your scalp it may be time to meet up with your dermatologist. A dermatologist can help you identify and treat the more serious causes of large dandruff flakes.

Treating dandruff at home

For those with less serious cases of flaky scalp, you can pick up a number of solutions at pretty much every drug store. Look for dandruff shampoos with Zinc Pyrithione, Selenium sulphide, Ketoconazole, even salicylic acid.

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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