23andMe’s New Dandruff Report

You have a good head on your shoulders, but your genetics might be influencing whether or not you also have a little dandruff there.

While we can’t brush it off for you, 23andMe scientists have identified genetic variants associated with dandruff.

As part of 23andMe’s regular cadence of releasing new trait reports, 23andMe now offers a report on a customer’s genetic predisposition toward having dandruff. The new report analyzes a customer’s genetic data for 487 variants associated with dandruff, takes into account a customer’s age, sex and ancestry, and reports back whether that customer is more or less likely to have dandruff.

Your genetics, of course, is just part of the picture. Your environment and lifestyle also influence the flaking of the skin on your scalp. And the root of the problem, or at least one possible cause, may be in the interaction between the microbes on your scalp and your skin cells.

For some of us, these microbes — and don’t freak out because we all have ‘em — may trigger an immune response that triggers skin cells to more rapidly divide causing skin cells to flake off and form dandruff. Scientists don’t yet know why some of us are more sensitive to these microbes than others, but they’ll continue to comb through the data to find out why.

This report, as well as the now more than two-dozen other trait reports we offer within our  Health + Ancestry Service, are meant to give customers a bit more insight into the fascinating world of genetics. They also add to the understanding of how your DNA and environment interact to help influence all the many things that are part of who you are.