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Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Dandruff?

Written by Ross Goodhart
Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Dandruff?

Are you struggling with keeping your scalp healthy? Do the itchy flakes on your head get you down? Well, the good news is you're not alone. 

Did you know that nearly 75 percent of people experience symptoms of dandruff at some point, and about 20 percent get it chronically (all the time)? The dandruff dilemma is real, but the great thing is we are here to help. 

A healthy scalp environment is important, as are your vitamins and diet. Read on to find out how vitamin deficiency and dandruff can go hand in hand, and take our quiz for your personalized hair care regimen based on your scalp health.

So, What Is Dandruff, Anyway?

We’re so glad you asked that question. Dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin condition. Although we may see it on our scalp, it can appear in many areas of the body. It can show up on your face, eyebrows, around the nose, ears, chest, and mouth.

When it comes to dandruff, itching, and flaking can occur, which can be annoying and frustrating.

The Dandruff Basics

Dandruff flakes, simply put, are a large group of skin cells that flake off your scalp. A number or different causes can trigger the flaking, and can be from a combination of factors or conditions. 

Some factors that can play a role in your dandruff dilemma are:

  • Your genetics 

  • Stress

  • Exercise

  • Your diet

  • Your routine

  • Dry scalp

  • Eczema 

  • Scalp psoriasis

  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Role Players

Let’s dive into some of the lifestyle factors that can play a role when it comes to dandruff. 

  • Stress: Stress can affect your overall health and wellness and can trigger dandruff or worsen the symptoms.

  • Exercise: Not getting enough exercise and stress can go hand in hand. On the flip side, sweat produced on our scalp can clog pores and increase oil production which may cause dandruff.

  • Diet: A healthy diet and dietary choices go a long way. Certain foods can help reduce your symptoms or can make dandruff worse.

  • Routine: Certain hair styling products can cause buildup on your scalp and hair, especially if used in excess.

When these conditions or factors occur, they can irritate your scalp, the microbial balance can be disturbed, and those flakes of dead skin cells shed off. When that occurs, it can leave you with the white or yellow flakes you find on your clothes or in your hair. 

Since the skin is the first line of defense, it coats itself in oils to keep those little invaders out. Some people can have a hyperactive immune response that may produce excess oil from the sebaceous, or oil glands, in the presence of microbes like bacteria and yeast.

Root Cause of Dandruff

While lifestyle factors can play a role in getting dandruff, here are some underlying root causes of dandruff:

  • Genetics

  • Weather

  • Ingredients in your shampoo

  • Buildup from styling products

  • Moisturizing products

  • Natural effects of aging

  • Scalp Psoriasis: An autoimmune skin condition that results in excess cell build-up on the skin's surface. People with this condition can have flaky, dry, or even inflamed skin.

  • Malassezia Yeast Overgrowth: A type of yeast that lives on everyone’s skin. The most common culprit behind dandruff is the presence of this fungus. It’s the most likely cause of flare-ups for people with dandruff.

  • Dry Scalp: When the scalp is dry and irritated, it tends to flake off in small white-ish flakes

While there are many factors and causes that come into play with dandruff, a healthy diet can play a big role in maintaining and supporting a healthy scalp. Read on to learn more. 

A Healthy Diet Goes a Long Way

A healthy diet can impact all aspects of your health, including your appearance and the condition of your skin. Eating healthy foods and taking dietary supplements with certain vitamins and minerals can support a healthy scalp from the inside out. 

Such foods that can be helpful to add to your diet include:

  • Salmon

  • Egg yolks

  • Carrots 

  • Flaxseed

  • Cauliflower

  • Avocado

  • Walnuts

  • Whole grains

  • Leafy greens

Most adults don’t get the recommended dietary allowance of vitamins and minerals in their diet, and vitamin deficiency can be a side effect of popular low-fat diets. Because of this, adults often need to seek out a supplement to ensure they’re receiving the best nutrients everyday. 

Vitamin Deficiency

When it comes to vitamin deficiency, vitamins have been shown to possibly play an important role in the production of dandruff on your scalp. Deficiency of certain vitamins can be a cause of the severity of this skin condition. 

Key vitamins linked to scalp health may include:

  • Riboflavin ( Vitamin b2)

  • Niacin (Vitamin b3)

  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin b6)

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that your body uses to maintain healthy bone development. This vitamin plays an important role when it comes to your immune system, nervous system, as well as musculoskeletal system. 

Vitamin D deficiency can be associated with both insufficient vitamin D in your diet or insufficient sunlight. It may be possible that your body isn’t properly absorbing or using vitamin D. Deficiency of this vitamin can be linked to increased inflammation, which can lead to dandruff.

Vitamin B

If you are feeling tired or exhausted, that can indicate a sign of a vitamin B deficiency. These vitamins can help to soothe feelings of stress and can help support the nervous system, digestive system, and skin health. A possible deficiency of this vitamin can be linked to dandruff, and is thought to be a cause of alopecia, which is a skin condition in which the hair can fall out in small patches

Zinc

Zinc is important for supporting your immune system, healing wounds, and ensuring normal growth development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. 

Some signs of zinc deficiency can look like:

  • Hair loss

  • Dandruff

  • Weight loss

  • Eye problems

  • Changes in nails

  • Wounds that take time to heal 

Restrictive diets can be more at risk of a zinc deficiency and often need to be supplemented with a daily tablet that includes zinc.

Vitamin Treatments

Vitamin treatments, notably from dietary supplements, can play a key role in maintaining scalp and hair health (along with full body health!).

An increase in zinc has been shown to have antifungal properties and can help address the underlying cause of dandruff and soothe its symptoms. 

Niacin or vitamin B3 is an essential vitamin for the body. It can work to promote and maintain great hair health. 

Riboflavin, or vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin and is found naturally in foods, added into some food products, and can be taken as a dietary supplement.

There are several ways to get vitamin D in your body. One option is through sunlight, however don’t forget the sunscreen because too much sun exposure can dry out your skin and scalp leading to flaking and skin and hair damage.

To get more B vitamins in your diet, you can add these foods:

  • Potatoes

  • Kidney beans

  • Dairy products 

  • Whole grains

  • Fish

  • Pork

  • Chicken

  • Bananas

You can add a dietary supplement to support levels of key vitamins in your body, while also eating the right foods to support a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy and taking dietary supplements can help to support and maintain a healthy scalp and hair.

Other Treatments

Aside from a healthy diet and dietary supplements, there are other treatments that can help support your scalp health. These treatments can be over-the-counter or prescription-strength. 

You can use medicated shampoos (check out or Balancing Shampoo with the flake-fighting active ingredient, Zinc Pyrithione) or non-medicated shampoos, foams, and lotions for scalp treatments. These are great at supporting and promoting hair and scalp health and addressing scalp discomfort.

Exfoliation is also important to your scalp health - try using our scalp brush to gently break up and remove debris and buildup from styling products and flaking, and will prepare the skin on your scalp for cleansing shampoo and soothing conditioner. 

Summary

Though dandruff can’t be cured, it can be easily managed with the right set of products and minor changes to your diet and lifestyle. When it comes to dandruff, a healthy scalp microbiome is key. Finding ways to conquer the flakes can be as easy as starting a routine that supports your hair and scalp health and complementing it with healthy diet and lifestyle choices. 

Vitamin deficiency can show up in many ways, and result from diet and lifestyle choices or genetics. You may need a scientifically formulated nutritional supplement to help address common deficiencies. That’s why we’ve packed our Daily Scalp Essential with biotin, zinc, and aminos to promote healthier, thicker hair and prevent breakage.* 

Don’t let vitamin deficiency get you down. Grab your daily supplement and your leafy greens, and you can be on your way to healthy hair and a flake free scalp.

To achieve the healthiest hair possible, check out Jupiter today! 

Deficiency of certain vitamins can be a cause of the severity of dandruff.

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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.