Save big with kits + FREE 2-3day US Shipping >$50

Need help choosing the right kit?

Our Skin Profile Quiz can help recommend a kit that best addresses your skin’s unique concerns


Want to order by phone or have questions about our products?

Our skincare experts are here to help 7am-3pm PT Monday - Friday



Sign into your account to track & manage orders or update your account info below.


Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


Can Dandruff Cause Acne? (HINT: It Depends)

Many people wonder, "Can dandruff cause acne?" While dandruff or acne is common in many individuals, the question of whether one can lead to the other is not as straightforward.

In this blog post, we will dissect the complex relationship between dandruff and acne to see if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. By understanding this connection, you can take proactive steps to manage both conditions better.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Dandruff and acne are closely related, and dandruff can exacerbate or cause pimples and facial acne.
  • Excess oil production on the scalp can lead to both conditions, affecting hair follicles and potentially clogging them.
  • A holistic approach involving specialized products for both conditions is often the most effective way to manage and prevent dandruff and acne.
  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive range of products that are effectively designed to tackle the complexities of both dandruff and acne.

Woman suffering from dandruff

Understanding Dandruff

Understanding dandruff is essential to unraveling its potential link to acne. Dandruff is a common scalp condition that causes white flakes of dead skin to appear. An itchy scalp often accompanies it. The onset of dandruff can be due to various factors, including dry skin, excess oil production, and fungal growth on the scalp.

Causes of Dandruff

  • Dry Scalp: A dry scalp is the most straightforward reason for the formation of dandruff flakes.
  • Sebum Production: Sebaceous glands' overproduction of natural oils can lead to dandruff.
  • Fungal Infections: Malassezia, a fungus on the scalp, can cause dandruff when it grows out of control.

The Anatomy of Acne

Understanding what acne is vital before we delve into whether dandruff can cause acne. Acne is a skin condition characterized by the onset of pimples, blackheads, and cysts, often occurring on the face, neck, and back. Acne breakouts are primarily caused by clogged pores filled with sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

Causes of Acne

  • Excess Sebum: Overactive sebaceous glands produce excess oil that can clog skin pores.
  • Dead Cells: Accumulated dead skin cells can block pores on your face, leading to acne.
  • Hormonal Changes: A hormone imbalance often triggers acne, especially in teenagers and adults.

Woman looking at mirror trying to pop pimple on forehead

Can Dandruff Cause Acne? The Connection Explained

Now to the burning question: Can dandruff cause acne? The connection between dandruff and acne is not entirely direct, but it is possible. Dandruff flakes, especially when not managed correctly, can contribute to various skin issues, including acne.

How Dandruff Can Lead to Acne

  • Spreading of Flakes: When dandruff flakes fall from the scalp and come into contact with the skin, they can clog pores.
  • Excess Oil: Both dandruff and acne are often associated with excess oil production. This excess sebum can lead to acne while worsening dandruff.
  • Fungal Strains: The same fungal growth that leads to dandruff can also contribute to acne, particularly when it spreads to the face.

Dandruff and Acne: Common Triggers

Both dandruff and acne have overlapping triggers, which further establishes the link between acne and dandruff. Understanding these triggers can help in managing both conditions.

Shared Causes of Acne and Dandruff

  • Excess Oil: The body's overproduction of oil can worsen dandruff and lead to acne.
  • Poor Hair Care: Failure to wash your hair regularly can cause an accumulation of natural oils, leading to acne and dandruff.
  • Cosmetic Products: Some hair conditioners and skin cosmetics can clog pores and trigger dandruff.

Managing Dandruff to Prevent Acne

If you believe that dandruff contributes to your acne condition, there are ways to manage it. Anti-dandruff shampoos, aloe vera, and natural oils like virgin coconut oil can all be used to keep dandruff at bay and may help prevent dandruff-related acne.

A guy washing his head

Tips to Keep Both Acne and Dandruff Under Control

  • Use Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Look for shampoos that have antifungal properties to combat the onset of dandruff.
  • Opt for Aloe Vera: The soothing properties of aloe vera can offer relief from fungal infections and excess oil.
  • Check Your Hair Products: Ensure your conditioner and other hair care items are non-comedogenic to prevent clogged pores.
  • Regular Hair Washing: Keep your hair clean to prevent excess oil from triggering acne and dandruff.

Natural Remedies for Dandruff and Acne

The beauty of nature is that it offers solutions for various skin conditions, including acne and dandruff. There are several ways to manage these conditions naturally, from kitchen staples to herbal remedies.

Home Remedies to Consider

  • Virgin Coconut Oil: This natural oil can control fungal growth and moisturize a dry scalp.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Effective for relief from fungal infection and reducing excess sebum.
  • Aloe Vera: Known for its moisturizing and antifungal properties, it can help manage both conditions.

Person making homemade remedy with aloe vera

What NOT to Do If You Have Both Dandruff and Acne

Avoiding certain actions is just as crucial as what you should do when suffering from dandruff and acne. Missteps can exacerbate both conditions, making them harder to manage.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Tying Hair in a Ponytail: This can spread oil and dandruff flakes from the scalp to the face.
  • Using Harsh Products: Strong shampoos or skincare products can strip natural oils, causing the body to produce more oil.
  • Scratching the Scalp: Itchy scalp may make you want to scratch, but it can worsen dandruff and potentially lead to acne.

Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

If you're looking to manage acne, especially acne due to dandruff, Exposed Skin Care provides a comprehensive solution. It targets various issues often associated with dandruff and acne to give you the healthiest skin and scalp possible.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

The benefits of Exposed Skin Care are:

  • Effectively Manages Facial Acne: Whether it's acne caused by dandruff or other factors, Exposed Skin Care's Treatment Serum works wonders for your face.
  • Reduces Itching and Flakiness: The Clearing Tonic and Clear Pore Serum help soothe the skin on the scalp, reducing itching and flakiness associated with dandruff.
  • Prevents Pore Clogging: Pores get clogged with dead skin cells and excess oil. The Facial Cleanser ensures they remain clear, preventing the onset of acne.
  • Dandruff Management: If you suffer from dandruff, the Derm-X Cloth helps to exfoliate the scalp, aiding in getting rid of dandruff effectively.
  • Comprehensive Care: Exposed Skin Care’s range of products work synergistically to maintain both scalp and hair health, helping you avoid dandruff and keep acne and dandruff at bay.

By focusing on the intricate link between dandruff and acne, Exposed Skin Care helps tackle dandruff triggers and associated issues like itching, hair fall, and skin conditions like eczema and seborrheic eczema.


Understanding the connection between acne and dandruff can be essential in maintaining not just your scalp's health but also the quality of your skin. One of the leading causes is the excess oil that the scalp produces, which can clog hair follicles and contribute to acne formation.

Utilizing specialized products such as dandruff shampoos can help manage the condition. However, a holistic approach is usually the best, considering the unique interplay between the scalp and face. This involves a regimen that aims to prevent dandruff and ensures your skin remains as acne-free as possible.

If you develop dandruff, a multi-step approach could more effectively combat the ensuing skin issues. Exposed Skin Care, for instance, offers a range of products that tackle the complexities of dandruff and acne, embodying the multi-pronged strategy we're advocating for.

Nonetheless, prevention remains the best cure. The ideal routine should be one that can prevent both acne and dandruff before they become a visible or uncomfortable problem. Incorporate gentle yet effective products, focusing on the long-term health of both your scalp and face.

As we conclude, it becomes evident that the journey to acne and dandruff-free skin is multi-faceted. It's not just about tackling the symptoms but understanding the root cause, whether excess oil, flaky skin, or clogged follicles, and finding a solution that works best for you.


Q: Can dandruff cause acne?

A: Yes, dandruff can contribute to the formation of pimples and exacerbate existing acne conditions.

Q: What causes excess oil on the scalp?

A: An imbalance in sebum production from sebaceous glands leads to excess oil on the scalp.

Q: Are dandruff shampoos effective for treating acne?

A: Dandruff shampoos can effectively treat the scalp but are not specifically designed for facial acne.

Q: How can one prevent both dandruff and acne?

A: A holistic skincare regimen that tackles both conditions is usually the most effective. This involves using products that keep both the scalp and face healthy.

Q: What role do hair follicles play in dandruff and acne?

A: Hair follicles can get clogged with dead skin cells and excess sebum, leading to dandruff and acne.