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Dandruff After Bleaching Hair: Symptoms, Causes, and Fixes

Do you struggle with dandruff after bleaching hair? Find out why you get it, how to treat it and how to prevent it!

Written by Ioana Moldovan
Dandruff After Bleaching Hair

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Dandruff after bleaching hair is a common concern. Many seek a lighter hair shade and opt for bleaching. Still, the chemicals can be harsh. They strip the scalp of its natural oils. This often results in a dry, flaky scalp, leading to dandruff.

It’s essential to understand this side effect and take preventive measures. Bleaching isn’t just about new hair color; it’s also about scalp care. You’ll find all this and more in this article.

Dandruff and Bleached Hair

Dandruff and Bleached Hair

Bleaching your hair can sometimes lead to dandruff. Dandruff happens when small pieces of dry skin flake off of your scalp, causing itching and discomfort. When you bleach your hair, you use strong chemicals that may irritate your scalp. This increases the risk of dandruff.

To reduce the chance of dandruff after bleaching, you should follow some important steps:

  1. Make sure to have a professional perform the hair bleaching, or follow instructions if you’re doing it at home.
  2. Keep your scalp clean and moisturized after bleaching.
  3. Cleanse with a gentle shampoo to reduce oil and skin cell buildup that contributes to dandruff.
  4. Use a conditioner or scalp treatment designed to soothe and hydrate your scalp.

Scalp Damage From Bleaching

When you bleach your hair, you’re looking for a fresh, lighter look. Sometimes, the process can cause unwanted side effects like dandruff and scalp damage. In this section, we’ll discuss the possible damages that can occur to your scalp from bleaching.

Chemical Burn and Bleach Damage

Bleaching hair involves using strong chemicals to break down the natural melanin in your hair, resulting in a lighter color. These chemicals can also cause skin irritation and even chemical burns on your scalp.

Symptoms of a chemical burn from bleach include:

  • Redness
  • Itching, flaky or scaly patches
  • Burning or stinging sensation

In some cases, blisters can form on the scalp, which may weep, ooze, or crust over.

While bleaching can cause damage, it doesn’t directly cause dandruff.

If your scalp is already prone to dandruff, the added irritation from bleaching could exacerbate the problem. In such cases, using a dandruff-formulated shampoo to wash your hair might help reduce some of the itchiness and flakiness.

Potential for Infections

When your scalp has bleach damage, it becomes more vulnerable to infections. Blisters or open sores caused by chemical burns can be an entry point for bacteria. This can then lead to a scalp infection.

Signs of an infected scalp include:

  • Increased redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain,
  • A foul-smelling discharge from the affected area

If you suspect an infection, consult a healthcare professional for appropriate treatment. Avoid self-treatment with over-the-counter products.

In some cases, you may need a prescription for a topical or oral antibiotic to clear up the infection.

9 Symptoms of Dandruff After Bleaching

9 Symptoms of Dandruff After Bleaching

Bleaching your hair can sometimes lead to dandruff. Several symptoms can be indicators of this issue:

  1. White or yellowish flakes
  2. Itchy scalp
  3. Redness or inflammation
  4. Dry scalp
  5. Tightness or tension on the scalp
  6. Burning or stinging sensation
  7. Oily or greasy patches
  8. Scaly patches
  9. Hair thinning or breakage.

1. White or Yellowish Flakes

The most evident symptom of dandruff is the presence of white or yellowish flakes on your scalp, eyebrows, beard, or shoulders.

These flakes are a result of dead skin cells shedding from your scalp. Bleaching hair can irritate the scalp and cause increased flaking.

2. Itchy Scalp

Another common symptom of dandruff after bleaching is an itchy scalp. The chemicals in hair bleach may cause irritation and dryness, leading to itchiness.

3. Redness or Inflammation

Following hair bleaching, you might notice redness or inflammation on your scalp. This can be a result of irritation caused by the bleach.

Hair bleach may exacerbate existing dandruff symptoms or trigger dandruff in individuals who are prone to it.

4. Dry Scalp

A dry scalp is another symptom of dandruff after bleaching. Hair bleach can strip the natural oils from your scalp, causing dryness and flaking.

5. Tightness or Tension on the Scalp

When your scalp becomes dry, you may experience tightness or tension. This sensation can contribute to general discomfort as well as dandruff.

6. Burning or Stinging Sensation

A burning or stinging sensation on the scalp after bleaching may indicate an allergic reaction to the chemicals.

These sensations can cause an increase in itchiness and flaking, leading to dandruff symptoms.

7. Oily or Greasy Patches

While dryness is a common result of bleach, some individuals may experience oily or greasy patches on their scalp after treatment.

This might be your scalp’s attempt to compensate for the dryness caused by the bleach, but it could also contribute to dandruff.

8. Scaly Patches

In some cases, dandruff after bleaching can manifest as scaly patches on the scalp. These patches can be itchy and flaky, making them uncomfortable and noticeable.

9. Hair Thinning or Breakage

Dandruff after bleaching may cause hair thinning or breakage as a result of a weakened hair structure.

When you scratch your itchy scalp, you may cause additional hair damage.

Causes of Dandruff After Bleaching

Bleaching your hair can sometimes lead to dandruff. Here’s a list of the main factors:

  • Chemical Irritation
  • Stripping of Natural Scalp Oils
  • Disruption of the Scalp’s pH Balance
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis
  • Age and Stress
  • Damage to the Skin Barrier
  • Overproduction of Skin Cells
  • Allergic Reactions to Bleach Ingredients
  • Aggravation of Pre-existing Scalp Conditions
  • Overuse or Misuse of Bleaching Products
  • Inadequate Aftercare or Moisturization
  • Secondary Fungal Overgrowth

Chemical Irritation

Bleaching agents can cause irritation to your scalp, which may lead to dandruff. These chemicals can trigger inflammation and itchiness. They make your scalp more susceptible to flaking.

Stripping of Natural Scalp Oils

Your scalp produces natural oils to maintain its moisture and health. Bleaching can strip away these oils, leaving your scalp dry and prone to dandruff.

Disruption of the Scalp’s pH Balance

Your scalp has a natural pH balance that helps maintain healthy skin. Bleaching products can disrupt this balance, which might contribute to dandruff.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis can be responsible for dandruff after bleaching. Yeast can be the cause. this condition worsens due to the chemicals used in bleaching.

Age and Stress

Both age and stress can affect the health of your scalp. With increased stress or as you age, your scalp may become more sensitive to the harsh chemicals in bleaching products. This results in dandruff.

Damage to the Skin Barrier

Bleaching agents can damage the protective barrier of your skin. This makes it more susceptible to infections, irritation, and dandruff.

Overproduction of Skin Cells

Sometimes, bleaching can trigger an overproduction of skin cells on your scalp. As these cells shed, they can lead to dandruff.

Allergic Reactions to Bleach Ingredients

You may have an allergy to certain ingredients used in bleaching products. Theycan cause your scalp to become inflamed and lead to dandruff.

Aggravation of Pre-existing Scalp Conditions

If you already have pre-existing scalp conditions like psoriasis, bleaching your hair might worsen them. This leads to increased dandruff.

Overuse or Misuse of Bleaching Products

Using bleaching products too often or incorrectly can harm your scalp, causing irritation and dandruff.

Inadequate Aftercare or Moisturization

Lack of proper aftercare or moisturization following a bleach treatment can result in a dry and flaky scalp. this leads to dandruff.

Secondary Fungal Overgrowth

Bleaching can make your scalp more vulnerable to fungal overgrowth. This can cause dandruff.

Yeast-like fungi feed on oils on the scalp, and their overgrowth can lead to dandruff.

Identify Post-Bleaching Dandruff Types

Bleaching your hair can sometimes lead to dandruff as a side effect. It’s important to identify the type of dandruff caused by bleaching to treat it.

Here are three common types of post-bleaching dandruff:

  1. Contact dermatitis
  2. Eczema
  3. Malassezia related dandruff

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when your scalp becomes irritated or has an allergic reaction to a product or substance, such as bleach. After bleaching your hair, you might notice itching, redness, and flaking.

To treat contact dermatitis, you should:

  • Stop using the product that caused the reaction
  • Use a mild or fragrance-free shampoo
  • Apply a hydrocortisone cream to help with inflammation

Keep an eye on your symptoms and consult a healthcare professional if they don’t improve after a few days.


Eczema is a skin condition that causes inflammation, itching, and flaking. If you already have eczema, bleaching your hair may exacerbate the condition.

To manage eczema-related dandruff after bleaching, you should:

  • Use a gentle shampoo that’s suitable for sensitive skin
  • Keep your scalp moisturized with products that don’t contain irritants
  • Avoid scratching your scalp, as it can aggravate eczema

If your eczema does not improve or worsens, seek help from a healthcare professional.

Malassezia is a type of fungus that lives on the skin and can sometimes cause dandruff. Bleaching your hair could disrupt the balance of your scalp’s natural oils. This makes it more susceptible to fungal overgrowth.

To tackle Malassezia-related dandruff, you can:

  • Use a shampoo that contains anti-fungal ingredients, such as zinc pyrithione or ketoconazole
  • Wash your hair on a regular basis to prevent a buildup of skin cells and oils

How To Get Rid of Dandruff After Bleaching Hair

How To Get Rid of Dandruff After Bleaching Hair

After bleaching your hair, you may notice dandruff. To treat it, follow these hair care tips:

  • Use a mild, sulfate-free shampoo: This will cleanse your hair without causing further irritation.
  • Incorporate an anti-dandruff shampoo: Use it at least twice a week to help control dandruff.
  • Apply a hydrating conditioner: It will nourish your hair and help prevent dryness caused by bleaching.
  • Use natural oils: Coconut or jojoba oil can provide relief for your scalp.
  • Consider a scalp exfoliation treatment: It helps remove dead skin cells and promotes a healthy scalp.

Remember to avoid overwashing your hair and maintain a balanced diet. Staying hydrated also benefits your scalp health. Limit the use of heat-styling tools and protect your hair from direct sunlight.

Home Remedies for Dandruff After Bleaching

Bleaching can be harsh on your scalp and may lead to dandruff. Here are some home remedies to help you deal with this issue:

RemedyApplication and Benefits
Apple Cider VinegarDilute with water and use as a final rinse to balance scalp pH and reduce flaking.
Coconut OilApply to the scalp for moisturization and its antifungal properties.
Tea Tree OilAdd a few drops to shampoo or dilute in carrier oil for its antifungal qualities.
Aloe VeraApply gel directly to the scalp for soothing and moisturizing effects.
YogurtUse as a scalp mask to introduce probiotics and soothe irritation.
Lemon JuiceDilute with water and apply to the scalp to help balance pH and reduce oiliness.
Olive OilWarm slightly and massage into the scalp to moisturize and soothe.
Baking SodaMix with water to create a paste and apply as a gentle scrub to exfoliate the scalp.
Fenugreek SeedsSoak overnight, grind into a paste, and apply as a mask for antifungal properties.
Neem LeavesMake a paste or decoction for their antimicrobial properties to combat dandruff.
HoneyApply diluted honey to the scalp for its antimicrobial properties and moisturizing effect.
Rosemary OilMix with a carrier oil and apply for its circulation-boosting and dandruff-fighting properties.

Medical Treatments for After Bleaching Dandruff

Medical Treatments for After Bleaching Dandruff

Here are some medical treatments to help you get rid of dandruff after hair bleaching:

  • Shampoos:

    • Ketoconazole shampoos
    • Salicylic acid shampoos
    • Zinc pyrithione shampoos
    • Coal tar shampoos
    • Selenium sulfide shampoos
    • Ciclopirox olamine shampoos
  • Topical treatments:

    • Corticosteroids
    • Antifungals
  • Light therapy (phototherapy): Can help reduce inflammation and dandruff on your skin.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors:

    • Pimecrolimus cream
    • Tacrolimus ointment

Remember to choose the right treatment for your specific needs and consult with a dermatologist if necessary. Stay patient, and soon your scalp will feel better!

Tips on Maintaining Healthy Scalp and Hair After Bleaching

To keep your scalp and hair healthy after bleaching, follow these simple tips:

  • Keep your hair moisturized by using a leave-in conditioner. This helps prevent dryness and brittleness.
  • Use a gentle shampoo designed for color-treated hair. It will cleanse your scalp and hair without stripping essential oils.
  • Apply a deep conditioning treatment once a week to nourish your hair and restore its natural moisture balance.
  • If your scalp is feeling irritated or dry, try a soothing scalp treatment with natural ingredients.
  • When washing your hair, use lukewarm water. Finish with a cold water rinse to seal the hair cuticles and keep moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to treat scalp burns from bleaching?

To treat scalp burns from bleaching, rinse the affected area with cool water. Apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation. Avoid using harsh shampoos and hair products, and give your scalp time to heal. If the burn is severe or doesn’t improve, consult a dermatologist.

Why does bleaching cause itchy scalp and dandruff?

Bleaching can cause an itchy scalp and dandruff. The harsh chemicals strip your scalp of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Bleaching can damage your hair follicles. This triggers an immune response that results in increased skin cell production, flaking, and itching.

How to prevent dandruff after hair bleaching?

Ensure you deep-condition your scalp and hair before and after the bleaching process. Use gentle, sulfate-free shampoos and moisturizing conditioners to maintain your scalp’s natural balance. Also, consider using a dandruff shampoo a few times a week to keep flakes at bay.