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Is dandruff hereditary?

Did you know dandruff is NOT caused by poor hygiene? It’s your own sensitivity – something that can be inherited from your parents.

Sensitivity is just one factor that causes dandruff – the other two are universal and everybody has them:

  • A naturally occurring microbe called Malassezia globosa

  • Scalp oils – or sebum – which everybody produces

They cause dandruff as Malassezia globosa breaks sebum down into oleic acid.

For 50% of the world’s population that results in dandruff, because they’re sensitive to oleic acid.

If you’re not sensitive to it, you won’t experience dandruff.

A young man with short brown hair touching back of his head.

HORMONES ARE THE KEY TO OIL PRODUCTION

The oils on your scalp are produced by glands beneath the surface of your skin – they’re essential to keeping your hair and scalp moisturized.

These glands are controlled by hormones. It’s why many people start to notice oil – both on the scalp and other areas of skin – during puberty when their hormones start to kick in.

MORE OIL DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN MORE DANDRUFF

Just because you produce scalp oils – even if you have inherited a tendency to over-produce them – doesn’t mean you’ll suffer from dandruff.

To experience dandruff, you also need to be sensitive to oleic acid. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter how much oil you produce, you’ll never experience dandruff. Skin sensitivity is one trait that can be inherited from our parents.

So, it’s not really dandruff that’s hereditary, but rather some of the factors that cause it are. If you have it, you may indeed have your parents to blame!

See all our dandruff shampoos

Is dandruff hereditary? - Infographic with head scalp, hair with dandruff and the globe icons.

IS THERE A GENETIC LINK TO GREASY HAIR?

Greasy hair is caused by an overproduction of your scalp’s natural oil, sebum. When the glands produce too much of it, your scalp becomes oily and your hair appears limp and greasy.

Some experts believe that genetics can be the cause of greasier hair in some people. This is true, although there are other common causes that can lead you to have greasy hair.

OTHER CAUSES OF GREASY HAIR

  • Using the incorrect products – if your hair is susceptible to greasiness, using shampoos suited for dryness might only make it worse

  • Product build-up – if you use styling products regularly, you need to make sure they aren’t making your hair appear greasier than it really is.

  • Pollution – smog and dirt in the air can cling to scalp oils and make hair appear duller or dirtier

  • Not washing your hair often enough – greasy hair needs frequent washing – most people find it necessary to wash at least every other day to get rid of dirt and oil

TIPS TO PREVENT GREASY HAIR

  • Use warm water to wash your hair for a more thorough clean 

  • Use deep cleaning products with oil clarifying ingredients

  • Avoid running your fingers through your hair or scratching your scalp - fingertips can spread scalp oils onto your hair

  • Avoid applying products to your roots that claim “moisture” or “hydration” benefits.  These words frequently signal heavy conditioning that may make greasy hair look worse.

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