Dandruff in Kids: Causes, Treatment and Home Remedies

How to Deal With Dandruff in Kids?

Dandruff, a common scalp condition of flaky skin, can also affect children. It is typically harmless and not a cause for major concern, but it can be bothersome and may cause discomfort or embarrassment for the child as it causes irritation and itching on the scalp. Kids generally play outdoors, making them more susceptible to dust and dust-related skin issues, including dandruff. Parents might want to know if they can use an anti-dandruff shampoo and remove the flakes. But dust is not the only reason why kids could get dandruff.  Symptoms of dandruff in children include white or yellowish flakes on the scalp, itching, and a dry or scaly scalp. Sometimes, dandruff can also appear on the eyebrows, eyelashes, or other body parts. These symptoms may come and go, varying in severity from mild to more pronounced. In this article, we shall discuss more about dandruff, its various causes, symptoms and treatment. Read on to know more.

What Is Dandruff?

Dandruff is dead skin found on the scalp or in a person’s hair, normally resulting in white flakes or even itchiness. But serious conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis may occur in some rare cases, leading to scalp inflammation.

Below, we shall discuss some more causes of dandruff in children

Causes of Dandruff in Children

Various causes of dandruff in kids include-

1. Improper Shampooing

Sometimes when we shampoo our kids’ hair, dead skin cells, which should have been rinsed, stay back due to improper head washing. This causes an accumulation of dead skin on the scalp, leading to dandruff.

2. Malnutrition

Malnutrition in kids is the most common reason for dandruff. Kids prefer to eat more unhealthy snacks or junk food rather than a fully nutritious diet, leading to scalp itching or dandruff.

3. Sensitivity to Hair Products

Sometimes, your hair product may not suit your kid well, leading to dandruff issues. Try to change the product, but prefer to do so only after consulting a doctor.

4. Malassezia

It is a yeast-like fungus, which, when it grows rapidly, leads to disturbance in the natural growth of cells. This, in turn, leads to dandruff and scalp itching. Certain illnesses or hormonal changes in kids generally are the cause of the emergence of such fungi.

5. Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

This disease is also known as eczema, which results in inflammation of the skin. This type of skin disorder does not go away easily, but dandruff is a milder form of this condition in children with less serious implications.

6. Allergic Reactions

Children can develop dandruff-like symptoms due to an allergic reaction to certain hair care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, or styling products. Ingredients in these products, such as fragrances or preservatives, may irritate the scalp and lead to flaking.

7. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations can also affect dandruff development, especially during puberty. These changes can affect the oil production in the scalp, leading to an increased risk of dandruff. Hormonal dandruff is often temporary and tends to improve as the body adapts to the hormonal changes.

Dandruff Signs and Symptoms in Children

The signs and symptoms of dandruff in children include –

  • Visible dry white flakes on your child’s scalp or outfit.
  • Presence of oily flakes on the scalp.
  • Continuous itching of the scalp area.
  • Red patches on the scalp are either caused due to itching or excessive dandruff.
  • The combination of dandruff,  excess oil, dead skin cells, and certain bacteria or fungi on the scalp can result in an odour. 
  • Dandruff in children can sometimes extend beyond the scalp, leading to flaking in other areas of the body, such as eyebrows, eyelids and face.

Can Dandruff Harm the Child’s Scalp?

In most cases, mild dandruff irritates your child and doesn’t affect the scalp area much. But the scalp area gets inflamed and turns red in certain rare cases, like seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, Malassezia or psoriasis. In such cases, consulting a skincare specialist for effective relief is essential.

Dandruff Treatment for Kids

Are you wondering how to treat dandruff in kids? Here are a few tested and tried methods-

1. Using a Medicated Shampoo

The use of medicated shampoo can treat dandruff in kids to a great extent. Do not go with shampoo; consult a skincare specialist who will recommend an effective medicated shampoo based on your kid’s situation.

2. Staying Hydrated

Tell your kids to drink as much water as they can. If they do not drink by themselves, give them water or juice in measured quantities to meet their daily need regularly. Keeping them hydrated can reduce dandruff.

3. Brushing Before Shampooing

Brush your kids’ hair properly before rinsing them with the medicated shampoo. Brushing will help eliminate the flakes to some extent, which in turn, will help better cleaning of the scalp after shampooing.

Mother brushing child's hair

4. Using Separate Combs and Towels

Maintain separate combs and towels for your kids as germs on common towels and combs may lead to more dandruff issues.

5. Proper Nutrition

Green and leafy vegetables are a must for children dealing with dandruff issues. Proteins, carbohydrates and the other required nutrients lead to moist and healthy skin, which in turn reduces or completely removes dandruff.

6. Oiling of the Scalp

Oil your kid’s scalp regularly or even on alternate days will help keep the scalp moist and thus make it dandruff-free.

7. Do Not Apply Any Harmful Hair Products

Kids are most susceptible to skin problems, and for the same reason, hair gels or creams should not be applied to kids’ hair as it may lead to dandruff or other hair-related issues.

8. Frequent Shampooing

Shampoo your kids’ hair on alternate days. Frequent shampooing helps prevent dust, the main cause of dandruff in kids. Shampooing every day, however, is not recommended.

Shampoo kid's hair

Home Remedies for Dandruff in Children

Home remedies for treating dandruff in kids include –

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda acts as an incredible scrub that helps exfoliate the scalp. You need to add a bit of baking soda to your regular shampoo and apply it normally on the scalp before rinsing it thoroughly.

2. Tree Oil

Tree oil has anti-fungal properties, which help in soothing a dry scalp. Mix a few drops of tree oil with almond or olive oil. Mix the oils thoroughly and apply on the scalp with the help of cotton. Keep it on for half an hour and then rinse your scalp thoroughly.

3. Curd

Curd helps to keep your scalp moist and soft. Apply curd on the scalp and keep it for half an hour before washing it off.

4. Lemon

Lemon contains Vitamin C that helps in treating scalp issues such as dandruff. Apply lemon juice with a cotton ball, and keep it for half an hour before washing.

5. Neem

Neem is also effective in treating dandruff. Mix coconut oil with neem juice and massage properly on the scalp.

6. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds have anti-fungal and scalp-soothing properties. Make a paste of grounded fenugreek seeds and curd and apply it on the scalp before shampooing.

7. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera is a cooling agent which contains anti-fungal properties. Extract aloe vera gel directly from the plant and apply it on the scalp before shampooing.

8. Eggs

Eggs also help to keep the scalp moist. Just beat an egg and apply it on the scalp before shampooing.

9. Apple Cider

Apple cider is efficient in clearing clogged hair pores. Mix apple cider with water in equivalent quantities and apply it on the scalp, before shampooing.

10. Coconut Oil

Coconut contains anti-fungal properties and also acts as a good scalp moisturiser. Apply coconut oil directly on the scalp, and keep it for a while before shampooing.

11. White Vinegar

White vinegar is one of the best solutions to the dandruff issue. It avoids fungal growth and also helps provide relief from itching. Mix white vinegar with water to wash your kids’ hair.

12. Garlic

One needs to overlook garlic’s bad odour but focus on its anti-fungal properties. Mix grounded cloves in water and apply it on your kids’ scalp before shampooing.

13. Butter

Take an ample amount of butter and rub it on your hair. Keep the butter for one hour. Then wash it off with plain water. It dissolves dandruff and eliminates most of the flakiness.

14. Amla/Indian Gooseberry

Amla can be dried and turned into a paste which can be applied to the scalp. It helps eliminate dandruff efficiently.

15. Tea Tree Essence

Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in treating dandruff. Dilute a few drops of tea tree essence with a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond. Massage this mixture gently onto your child’s scalp and leave it on for about 30 minutes before shampooing. 

16. Beetroot Juice

Beetroot juice is known for its nourishing properties and can help promote a healthy scalp, reducing dandruff. Gently massage it in and leave it on for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse off the juice with lukewarm water.

Can Dandruff in Kids Go Away on Its Own?

Dandruff in kids can sometimes go away on its own, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. In mild cases, dandruff may be temporary and resolved without specific treatment. Factors such as hormonal changes, scalp sensitivity, or temporary scalp dryness can contribute to self-resolving dandruff in children. It’s crucial to prioritise proper scalp hygiene, uses mild shampoos suitable for children, and avoid harsh chemicals or excessive washing, as these can exacerbate dandruff symptoms. 

By seeking timely medical advice and adopting suitable treatments, the child’s dandruff can be effectively managed, promoting a healthier scalp and reducing the discomfort associated with dandruff.

How to Prevent Dandruff in Children?

Preventing dandruff in children is important to maintain a healthy scalp and minimise discomfort. Here are some tips to help prevent dandruff in children:

  • Encourage regular hair washing: Ensure your child washes their hair regularly with a mild shampoo suitable for their age.
  • Maintain good scalp hygiene: Teach your child to gently massage their scalp while washing to remove excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells.
  • Use a gentle shampoo: Opt for mild and pH-balanced shampoos without harsh chemicals that can irritate the scalp.
  • Avoid excessive heat styling: Minimize using heat styling tools such as hair dryers, curling irons, or straighteners, as excessive heat can dry out the scalp.
  • Keep the scalp moisturised: Apply a gentle, child-friendly moisturiser or oil to the scalp to keep it hydrated and prevent dryness.
  •  Ensure a balanced diet: Provide your child with a nutritious diet rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to promote a healthy scalp.
  •  Limit exposure to harsh chemicals: Avoid exposing your child’s scalp to harsh chemicals in certain hair products or treatments.
  • Regularly clean hair accessories: Clean combs, brushes, and hair accessories to prevent the accumulation of dirt and oil that can contribute to dandruff.
  • Encourage stress management: Help your child manage stress through exercise, relaxation techniques, or hobbies, as stress can contribute to dandruff.

These preventive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of dandruff in children and promote a healthy scalp. 

When to Consult a Doctor?

In case your kids’ scalp starts to show redness or blood clots, it becomes important to seek immediate medical assistance due to excessive itching and dandruff.

Having looked at the facts and treatments related to dandruff issues in kids, we are sure that you’re now equipped with what it takes to beat dandruff in your child. With a little bit of hygiene and care, dandruff can be treated to promote a healthy scalp and healthy hair.


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2. Dandruff; UMICH; https://uhs.umich.edu//dandruff

3. Dandruff; UOFMhealth; https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tm6353spec

4. Rudramurthy. SM, Honnavar. P, Dogra. s, et al.; Association of Malassezia species with dandruff; https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/109b/2da76700543e5700019fd77d8ad04d85d2f6.pdf; November 2012

5. Causes and Diagnoses of Dandruff; NM; https://www.nm.org/conditions-and-care-areas/dermatology/dandruff/causes-and-diagnoses

6. Home Remedies for Dandruff; Jamaica Hospital; https://jamaicahospital.org/newsletter/home-remedies-for-dandruff/; July 2016

Also Read:

Scalp Problems in Children
Home Remedies for Head Lice in Kids
Premature White and Grey Hair in Children

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