Can a fungus cause dandruff?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

If you have persistent dandruff, it may be caused by fungus fanatically feeding on the oils secreted from your hair follicles. Now I’m not talking about a crop of mushrooms, but a yeast-like fungus called malassezia. (We should give a prize to the nice person who named that one!) This fungus can live quietly on skin and never cause any trouble. But for some, genetic, environmental, or hormonal factors cause more oil to be secreted, which means the fungus has a field day and can grow out of control. The overgrowth irritates your skin causing more skin cells to grow rapidly. When these extra skin cells die, they flake off and dust you with dandruff.

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