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Oily Dandruff: Causes & How to Help

More than 2 billion women – or half the women in the world – experience unwanted dandruff flakes at some point in their life. Add oily scalp dandruff and the experience can be twice as uncomfortable. Scalp health is essential to hair follicle and strand growth, but oily dandruff causes can trigger flakes and greasy textured hair at any time – and often without warning.

To tackle oily dandruff and regain a glossy head of hair, we reveal the different causes of oily dandruff and help you create your tailored haircare approach. It may surprise you to know how this common concern can be triggered – and how little it has to do with hygiene.

Ahead, discover the Kérastase Symbiose range of professional haircare for effective dandruff support.

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Causes of oily dandruff

Though they can be experienced simultaneously and can influence the severity of one another, an oily scalp and dandruff are actually two separate concerns. Dandruff is super common (most of us will experience it at some point to some degree), and though often associated with poor cleanliness, it’s actually caused by a range of factors including:

Oiliness, on the other hand, has more to do with your regular scalp type. The same as with oily skin types, some people experience a higher rate of oil flow on the scalp, leading to a feeling of oiliness or greasiness across the scalp and strands. Now to the big question – can oily hair cause dandruff? If left unaddressed, an overflow of oil can cause an imbalance in the natural biome of the scalp. This can trigger the onset of yeast, which then can lead to the development of dandruff.

woman with smooth and shiny hair

How to address an oily scalp and dandruff

Dealing with double trouble? If you have dandruff due to an oily scalp, your first haircare step will be to regain balanced moisture. The Symbiose range includes four products that are ideal for oily dandruff. Via skincare-inspired ingredients, our professional range of anti-dandruff haircare encourages instant benefits and long term efficacy. Let’s dive in.

Step #1: Implement a scalp scrub

It can help to think about your scalp care in the same way you do about your skincare routine. When a build up of dead skin occurs, a balancing exfoliator can be implemented. Symbiose Micro-Exfoliating Cellular Scalp Scrub for Dandruff Flakes works at a cellular level to lift and remove dead skin cells and flakes and encourage purification across the scalp. To achieve this, skincare ingredients salicylic acid and apricot and argan shell power are combined for both physical and chemical exfoliation.

Blond Absolu Cicaextreme squeezed into hand

Step #2: Opt for targeted hair care ingredients

To target, address and reduce oily dandruff, Symbiose is formulated with three key ingredients.

1.    Salicylic acid: Acts immediately to dissolve the unwanted flakes with its ability to exfoliate and cleanse the scalp


2.    Bifidus: A prebiotic help balance the scalp microbiome

 3. Piroctone olamine: Alongside bifidus, this helps regulate the microbiome and prevent dandruff flakes

Step #3: Switch to an anti-dandruff shampoo

When oily scalp and dandruff occur, switch out your shampoo step to a formula geared for targeted support. Shampoos are the cleansing component of haircare routines, so this step is integral to getting these concerns under control. Formulated especially for oily-prone scalps, Symbiose Pureté Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Oily Scalp has the dual benefits of dandruff removal and oil build-up prevention. Our caring formula visibly improves the scalp without damaging the fibre, for beautifully replenished hair.

Step #4: Adopt balancing scalp care

When oily scalp dandruff  affects your mane and confidence, consider adopting an intensive treatment. The best products for oily dandruff hair include targeted ingredients for effective scalp care. Symbiose Cellulaire Nuit Anti-Dandruff Scalp Serum Intensif is a nighttime scalp serum provides continuous action to remove dandruff and balance scalp microbiome. To address visible dandruff and rebalance an oily scalp, use our scalp serum at least 3 times per week before going to bed. This intensive treatment is recommended for use over a 4-week period.

Step #5: Maintain supportive lifestyle habits

To regain a clarified and healthy scalp, it’s important to pair your haircare routine with healthy lifestyle habits. Both dandruff and oily scalp can be triggered by stress, weather conditions, and moisture imbalance, so adopt the following balancing habits to get your mane back on track:


Eat a nutrient rich diet.

Avoid over washing hair. Typically, hair doesn’t need to be washed more than 3 times per week.

When brushing or detangling hair, make sure to do so gently. Tugging on strands can cause stress to follicle growth and place pressure on scalp health.

Use proper sun protection when outside (every day of the year!). A hat and sunscreen helps to protect the skin on your scalp from UV radiation, which can otherwise cause imbalance.

Now that you know the causes of oily dandruff and the best haircare approach for a healthy and purified scalp, discover the difference between dandruff and a dry scalp.

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