COVID-19 and the Increase in Dandruff

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us many things, including expecting the unexpected – but sometimes, the unexpected can truly take us by surprise. According to Dr. August Natalie, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, “In 2020, I saw a vast increase in the number of patients coming in concerned about seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff.”


What it dandruff?

Dandruff is a common scalp condition that causes flaky skin and an itchy scalp. Dandruff commonly appears as white flakes of dead skin in your hair or on your shoulder. Your scalp will likely be itchy and you may notice areas that are red, crusty or raw. Dandruff is not a contagious condition.


COVID-19 causing dandruff and dry scalp

The stress from COVID, as well as cold and dry weather and some hair products, can be the cause of dandruff or worsening the pre-existing condition. Dr. Natalie notes, “While the increase in dandruff during the COVID pandemic could very likely be tied to the increase in stress, I have noticed a trend with patients that due to working from home now they are showering less often than they did when they left the house daily. This oil builds up on the scalp, lack of cleansing, as well as added stress, are leading to dry, itchy scalps and more cases of dandruff.”


Dandruff treatment

In most cases, dandruff treatment includes over-the-counter dandruff shampoo. Look for a shampoo with active ingredients that include selenium sulfide 1%, zinc pyrithione or ketoconazole. Follow the label directions on how much to use and how often. When your dandruff improves, dandruff treatment can be reduced by slowly reintroducing your normal shampoo. If your dandruff does not improve within 4 to 6 weeks, or if you are noticing severe raw areas on your scalp, seek out assistance from a board-certified dermatologist.


 Suffering from hair or skin conditions since the COVID-19 pandemic began?

We recommend that anyone with new or worsening skin, hair or nail conditions seek out help from a board-certified dermatologist to determine the underlying cause and find the best course of treatment to fit your lifestyle. Find a Forefront dermatologist near you today.