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Dandruff on a bald head

Did you know bald heads don’t get dandruff? It’s true! If you’re bald and scratching your head in puzzlement (and irritation) staring at the flakes on your scalp, read on.

You might see flakes on your skin, like when you get sunburnt and dried skin peels or flakes, but this isn’t dandruff. Dandruff only appears where there’s a lot of hair.

The hair on our heads creates the right environment for dandruff causing fungus to thrive. 

Head & Shoulders Classic Clean bottle on the water surface.


It takes a combination of 3 things for dandruff to appear - fungus, natural scalp oil and a sensitive scalp.

  1. Malassezia globosa. This is the dandruff-causing fungus that lives on our scalp. On its own, it’s not so bad, but if it comes with the below we have a problem.

  2. Natural scalp oil. Malassezia globosa breaks down your natural scalp oils into other irritating substances including oleic acid, which can cause scalp irritation.

  3. Individual skin sensitivity. Whether or not we develop dandruff symptoms depends on how sensitive we are oleic acid. If we’re sensitive, cue the dandruff.


Fungus, natural scalp oil and the possibility of sensitive skin are all factors that are still present on a bald head. So, why wouldn’t a bald person get dandruff?

The main reason’s the environment. The lack of hair on the head creates a totally different environment. The temperature of the head is 2-4℃ cooler, and the environment on a bald head isn’t as dark or humid.

A specific environment is important for Malassezia globosa to thrive. When those factors change, it doesn’t work quite the same. It’s the same for us - when our temperature is raised when we have a fever, our body doesn’t work in quite the same way.


If you’re bald and wondering why you have an itchy scalp, it may just be dry skin, just like your hands and face can become dry. Or, it could be psoriasis, a genetic condition that causes flaking even on less hairy areas of the body, like the elbows.

If topical lotions don’t help, consult a dermatologist who will be able to help you get to the bottom of it.

If you’re bald by choice (shaved hairstyle, clean shaven face), and then you decide to allow your hair to grow, dandruff symptoms can return. In this case, turn to Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo.