6 Tips to Eliminate Dandruff in Children

In today's article, you'll learn how to eliminate seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff in children, which is a very common condition.
6 Tips to Eliminate Dandruff in Children

Last update: 26 March, 2022

Many children have dandruff in their hair from a young age. Dandruff is a very common condition in both children and adults, regardless of their age. It’s not a disease and is usually easy to remedy. However, dandruff in children and adults can be uncomfortable and unsightly.

Dandruff in children is usually recognized when flakes of white or yellowish skin appear on the scalp. Babies can also have a similar condition on their head called cradle cap. This can also be evidenced because it appears accompanied by redness of the affected areas and even the appearance of scabs and itching (which can sometimes be very intense and uncomfortable).

Although many think otherwise, it’s important to clarify that dandruff isn’t contagious nor does it indicate a lack of hygiene. In fact, in some cases, it comes from the constant and excessive use of shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products.

A teenage girl who's worried about dandruff.

Dandruff in children can usually be improved with the daily use of a mild shampoo. Only in special cases should we resort to a special shampoo or cream recommended by the pediatrician or specialist.

The most common causes of dandruff in children

The most common cause of dandruff is the excessive production of the skin’s own oil by the sebaceous glands and hair follicles. There’s also a type of yeast or fungus called Malassezia that can grow in sebum along with bacteria.

One of the most common causes of dandruff in children is seborrheic dermatitis. In fact, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics establishes that it represents 13% of the reasons behind consultations in children under 1 year of age. This disease is usually accompanied by redness of the scalp and itching.

Dandruff-associated flakes can sometimes be caused by conditions other than seborrhea such as dry skin (due to exposure to extreme cold) or skin conditions, such as acne or psoriasis. It also usually appears when we wash our hair too often or with aggressive hair products, or if we wash our hair too little.

Normally, this problem doesn’t require doing to see a pediatrician but rather improves quickly with a gentle shampoo for everyday use or a special dandruff shampoo. If this doesn’t happen, you’ll have to go to the pediatrician or specialist.

6 tips to eliminate dandruff

  1. Try to brush your child’s hair every day and especially before shampooing to remove visible scales. Just following this advice will surely improve the problem.
  2. Use a mild shampoo for daily use that you can find at your drugstore or supermarket of preference.
    • If the dandruff doesn’t disappear, consult your pediatrician to see if they can prescribe a specific dandruff shampoo that exists on the market and is sold in a pharmacy.
      A little girl washing her hair in the bathtub.
  3. Today, there’s a wide variety of anti-dandruff shampoos such as selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, tar, or ketoconazole. Consult your pediatrician or specialist before choosing any of these products. It’s also a good idea to wash your child’s hair twice a week, interspersing the mild shampoo with the anti-dandruff shampoo.
  4. Try not to use conditioners, masks, or greasy products that can help create more dandruff. These products can be harsh on your child’s hair and also on your child’s scalp.
  5. A good idea is to perform hair massages with the shampoo itself or even with aloe vera. It’s best to perform these massages with aloe vera, rinse with water, and then add shampoo and rinse again with water. The properties of aloe vera are in the gel that’s extracted from its leaf. Aloe vera is very effective if you apply it to the scalp, as it works by expelling bacteria and fat deposits that clog hair follicles.
  6. You can also apply a little lavender oil (before shampooing), as this tends to slow down the production of dandruff and is usually very effective. Lavender oil is very helpful to improve any skin condition like acne, eczema, and also to control dandruff.

Another trick used by grandmothers is to make a mask by mixing baking soda with water and leaving it on for 15 minutes.

Multiple studies have shown the moisturizing and cleansing properties of aloe vera in hair care. Therefore, it’s one of the most effective natural methods to eliminate dandruff in children.

Dandruff can also increase if a child is nervous or stressed. We recommend that you do exercises with your child to relax, practice mindfulness, or even do yoga for children in order to reduce anxiety. These exercises will have many other benefits for children if they practice them weekly.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.