Dermatologist-Reviewed Articles

Why Is My Dandruff Worse During Winter and What to Do About It?

Dandruff Solutions - DermStore


Winter is here, signaling a season often filled with brisk, invigorating walks and playful romps in snow flurries. But for those of us who find ourselves discreetly dusting off a fine layer of white flakes that have, to our dismay, landed on our clothing—not from the snow, but from our own heads—winter may equal frustration. Unfortunately, a change in seasons and the onset of cold weather can exacerbate problems with the scalp. Moreover, when you wear darker-colored clothing, the white sprinkles can be more noticeable.

So what causes this all-too-common embarrassment? Dandruff can become more problematic in winter due to a variety of factors:

  • Air temperature. The drying forces of cold winter air and overheated indoor spaces can upset moisture balances in the skin.
  • Seasonal stress. Some people experience greater stress and fatigue during the winter, which can trigger scalp conditions.
  • Winter allergies. As exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites and mold increases, winter allergies can kick in.
  • Imbalances in the body. Changes in diet and seasonal hormonal variation may also play a role.
  • Multiple factors. A combination of the above factors (and others) can contribute to fluctuations in the severity of symptoms.

If you are suffering from dry, itchy scalp due to dandruff, there are several steps you can take to keep those flakes under control. Here are a few tips:

  • Shampoo frequently. Washing your hair with gentle products, such as Dr. Marder’s Total Relief Shampoo and Conditioner, and massaging the scalp can help reduce those pesky flakes.
  • Humidify your home. From head to toe, your skin will appreciate the added moisture that a humidifier can bring to your home environment. A humidifier’s burst of water vapor can help ease a number of cold-weather-induced skin problems, including an irritated scalp.
  • Seek relief with home remedies. To calm inflammation, you can massage the scalp with natural oils, such as organic cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil combined with tea tree oil. Lemon juice can help balance pH levels, and a gentle salt rub can loosen dead skin.

It is important to remember that dandruff cannot be attributed to winter alone. As a preventative measure, it is advisable to treat underlying causes and symptoms of dandruff consistently throughout the year.

READERS—Was this article helpful? Do you have other questions on how to keep your scalp healthy? Ask away in the comments section below. Plus, check out DermStore’s top dandruff solutions here.

Dermatologist and Medical Director of Marder Dermatology

Gary L. Marder, D.O.

Dr. Gary L. Marder is the medical director of Marder Dermatology, and Skin Cancer Center located in Port Saint Lucie and Okeechobee, Florida. Dr. Marder not only specializes in dermatology, but he also sub-specializes in cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery for skin cancers, and is one of the only dermatologists in the state of Florida who is trained and state licensed to treat different skin cancers with radiation therapy in the office. Utilizing radiation therapy, Dr. Marder has been able to save many patients from surgery, as well as in preserving the ears, eyelids, nose, and lips from surgical disfigurement and scarring. To Dr. Marder, the patient’s cosmetic outcome is as much as an important factor as insuring that the patient has an excellent curable surgical outcome. 

Dr. Marder is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery at three different medical schools, S.E.C.O.M./Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, L.E.C.O.M. in Bradenton, Florida, and Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa.