A portrait man wearing beach shirt and thick-framed glasses.

A is not at all uncommon, but yellow dandruff is a real head-scratcher. It feels oily to the touch, has a weird smell, and, in some cases, it can spread beyond the hairline. Fortunately, there are remedies to address this scalp problem. You just have to zero in on what triggers it. 

What’s the Deal With Yellow Dandruff?

Usually, the scalp produces just enough sebum to hydrate the skin and protect the hair. Sometimes oil collects at the root and mixes with sweat, which is normal and easy to remove with shampoo.

But when you have an unhealthy or sensitive scalp, the sebaceous glands go into overdrive, producing excess sebum that traps dead skin cells. It builds up quickly and, before you know it, yellow dandruff has invaded your scalp. In addition, a is where the Malassezia yeast loves to hang around. It can trigger seborrheic dermatitis, which may lead to itching and .

While it’s clear that an oily scalp is the primary cause of wet and yellowish dandruff, other factors can contribute to the problem:

  • Skipping hair wash day way too often. When you go days without shampooing your hair, sebum accumulates on your scalp. Moreover, it can disrupt the natural balance of your scalp’s microbiome.
  • Wearing hats for long periods. Hats and helmets restrict airflow to the scalp, creating a humid environment for bacteria and yeast to multiply.
  • Eating too much junk food. Diets high in sugar, refined carbs, and saturated fats can lead to spikes in your skin’s sebum production.
  • Being hit hard by stress. Cortisol, the , can prompt the sebaceous glands to release more oil. Other scalp conditions like psoriasis and eczema also flare up during stressful times.

How to Care for the Scalp (And Be Dandruff-Free)

Think of your scalp as a luscious lawn. You need to take proactive measures and do regular maintenance. A single wash won’t get rid of yellow dandruff overnight, but incorporating these healthy habits into your daily grooming routine will help.

1. Use anti-dandruff shampoo at least twice a week.

If a flaky scalp is a recurring issue, regular shampoo won’t cut it. The recommends using a formulated shampoo with ingredients such as piroctone olamine, zinc pyrithione, or ketoconazole weekly. The frequency depends on your hair type. For those with thick or textured hair, once a week is sufficient. For fine strands, you can use it every other day.

If you’re active, try CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men. It has taurine and Triple Anti-Dandruff technology that strengthens the scalp to remove and prevent visible flakes. On top of that, the menthol extract cools down your scalp and helps relieve itching.

2. Don’t rush and rinse.

is much more than "lather, rinse, and repeat." The proper way to do it is by massaging the shampoo directly into the scalp. Doing this helps build a cleansing lather from the shampoo and dislodge all the gunk on the skin. After a few minutes, rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

3. Cool it on the styling products.

and the hairstyles may be fine as heck, but they demand tons of products – pomades, gels, waxes, the whole caboodle. These contain oils that, with extended use or buildup, can make your yellow dandruff more of a pain. Meanwhile, your scalp wants some time alone.

4. Exfoliate your scalp.

Anyone with an oily scalp could benefit from using a scalp scrub. It might seem extra, but this exfoliant helps eliminate excess sebum, buff dead skin away, and clear product buildup. It can even boost nutrient absorption for the hair follicles. Just remember not to overdo it. You should only scrub your scalp once a month. Any more than that may cause irritation and dryness.

Yellow dandruff can be downright embarrassing. But remember that the more you stress about it, the more it persists. If you’ve tried at-home treatments yet you still see flakes on your scalp, check in with your dermatologist. They can help you find the root cause and recommend prescription-strength treatments.