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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

What Is It?

Dandruff is a condition in which dead skin cells are shed from the scalp in large enough amounts to be noticeable. When these dead cells stick together, often because of surface debris and oil in the hair, they are noticeable as flakes in the scalp and on clothing.

Dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis of unknown cause. It is more of a nuisance and a cosmetic problem than a medical one.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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