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Dyed Hair & Dandruff: The Ultimate Treatment Guide

Written by Robbie Salter
Reviewed by Julie Karen, M.D.
Dyed Hair & Dandruff: The Ultimate Treatment Guide

The harsh chemicals in hair dyes can wreak havoc on your scalp, leaving it dry and flaky. In some cases, hair dyes can even cause hair loss and long-term damage to your hair follicles. 

It’s not uncommon to find white flakes on your shoulder after dying your hair, especially from less-premium dyes. 

Think you might have developed dandruff after dying your hair? In this guide, we’ll discuss how the effects of dying your hair could lead to dandruff  - and how to treat flaky scalp, dryness, and irritation from dyed hair effectively as possible.

Dandruff 101: the basics

So, you’ve dyed your hair and noticed a few white or yellowish flakes on your shoulders, car headrest, or office desk. (Well, maybe more than a few flakes.) If this sounds like you, then you may have a case of the post-hair dye blues, otherwise known as dandruff. 

Dandruff is an extremely common condition that affects the scalp. The symptoms of dandruff include mild or severe itchiness, redness, and flaking from the top of the head.

Dandruff is typically not due to hygiene. Instead, it’s related to the overgrowth and flaking off of dead skin cells, which is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. The onset of dandruff occurs usually around puberty and tends to drop off by the age of 50. 

Although there’s no cure for dandruff, there are proven methods of managing the symptoms. There’s hope for those suffering from dandruff - whether or not it’s related to hair color damage.

Signs and symptoms of dandruff

The two dead giveaways of dandruff are an itchy scalp and flakes. Most of those who suffer from dandruff only start taking the issue seriously after discovering white or yellowish flakes on the shoulder of their clothes. 

Those aren’t the only symptoms of dandruff, however. Below, we’ve listed some of the lesser-known signs that you may have dandruff:

  • Recurrent eczema

  • Beard or eyebrow rash

  • Oily scalp

  • Hair breakage

  • Redness and inflammation

  • Itchiness

If you’ve noticed any combination of the symptoms listed above, you may have dandruff or a related condition. 

Once dyes have dried out your hair, your scalp becomes a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause dandruff.

The causes of dandruff

There’s no clear reason why dandruff occurs in most cases. However, what we do know is that poor hygiene rarely has anything to do with it.

Generally, dandruff is exacerbated or made worse by the following conditions:

  • Dry skin or scalp

  • Failure to regularly shampoo or condition hair

  • Allergic reactions

  • Pre-existing conditions (e.g., seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema)

  • Fungal infections (Malassezia)

  • Irritated skin or scalp

  • Overuse of certain styling products like dry shampoo (instead, always look for a dry shampoo formulated with scalp soothing ingredients like Piroctone Olamine)

There are also a few key risk factors for dandruff, including:

  • Illnesses: a history of autoimmune disease is associated with dandruff

  • Age: most cases develop during adolescence or young adulthood

Hair dye and dandruff

The ingredients in hair dyes don’t directly cause dandruff. However, manufactured hair care products and salon or drugstore dyes can remove protective oils from your scalp. Whether you have curly hair or straight locks, over time, this can cause serious damage by drying out your scalp, curbing hair growth, and damaging your hair shafts.

Once dyes have dried out your hair, your scalp becomes a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause dandruff. Similarly, a chemical in certain dyes, called paraphenylenediamine (PPDA), can cause nasty allergic reactions that produce flakes.

What can you do about hair dye-induced dandruff?

Only scientifically formulated dandruff shampoos can repair damaged hair and bring your scalp back to full health. However, most dandruff shampoos on the market are not safe for color and chemically treated hair. In fact, some dandruff shampoos could actually ruin the treatment and strip the color right out of your hair.

There’s a lot of information floating around online about natural home remedies for dandruff caused by colored hair. Unfortunately, most of these claims of natural ingredients being the best dandruff shampoos and styling products are simply untrue. 

Everything from moisturizing essential oils, amino acids, almond oil, tea tree oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, coal tar, salicylic acid, lemongrass oil, argan oil, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar have been touted for their anti-dandruff properties—none of which are dermatologist approved. Although they may provide some relief for itchiness, only scientifically formulated, dermatologist-tested dandruff-fighting antifungal shampoos can hydrate and repair damaged, dry hair and bring your scalp back to full health. 

Jupiter's sulfate-free shampoo, dandruff control and hair care products, and clarifying scalp care products are scientifically formulated to be color-safe for chemically treated hair. We intentionally leave out harsh surfactants (detergents) to ensure that all of our products will keep your color and chemical-treatment locked in. To treat dandruff induced by a color or chemical treatment, try our Balancing Shampoo which is formulated with the proven dandruff active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione, and you'll notice flake free locks in no time.

Balancing Shampoo
Balancing Shampoo

Meet our head honcho. This soothing multi-tasker gets to the root of flaking and irritation, thanks to our star active ingredient, Zinc Pyrithione. Backed by a lush aroma of mint, vanilla, rosemary, sage, tangerine, and lavender, it’s bound to elevate your mood, and your shower.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.