The potential side-effect of white wine that has us scratching our heads.

 Image: Will and Grace

It’s a sad and itchy day for those who, like myself, are rather fond of a glass (or two) of white.

I know when I drink too much white wine it can irritates other people… but until this week I had no idea it could irritate my scalp, too.

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In a recent Allure magazine article, Anabel Kingsley, a training trichologist (fancy word for scalp specialist) from the Philip Kingsley Institute, revealed a depressing link between your favourite vino and dandruff.

“Drinking white wine triggers the overgrowth of yeast in people who are prone to dandruff. It can also exacerbate too-fast skin-cell turnover, which can cause dandruff,” Kingsley told the magazine. Yikes.

Wait, you're joking... right?

I’m currently struggling with two things: one, the overwhelming temptation to furiously scratch at my head, and two, the feeling I’ve been betrayed by a long-term friend.

A 2013 article on the Philip Kingsley website adds that alcohol's dehydrating effect on the scalp can exacerbate the likelihood of dandruff  — and that white wine and champange in particular can irritate flakey or itchy scalps. Oh, man. This just keeps getting worse.

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However, considering another expert interviewed by Allure — Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist and scalp expert — is unfamiliar with the concept, it would be premature to announce Doomsday just yet.

Whilst Fusco has said she can understand the theory behind it, it isn’t a link she’s heard of before. (Post continues after gallery.)

Without getting too bogged-down in the medical jargon (words like malessezia and candida are a stretch too far for someone who dropped out of Year 10 science) the theory stems from the relatively high sugar contents of white wine and champagne.

"If I had to hypothesise, perhaps white wine and champagne's higher sugar contents exacerbate the dandruff… so if high amounts of yeast and sugar are consumed, it creates an environment for dandruff,” Fusco told Allure.


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If you're looking to combat a flakey scalp, Fusco recommends ditching foods that promote inflammation, for example sweets and fried food, and swapping white wine for red wine or vodka. While saying no to chocolate and hot chips is going to be a challenge, I think I can manage the latter. You?

Nailed it. Image via Vimeo.

Our recommendation? Don't give up the wine unless you're experiencing adverse side-effects.

Otherwise, there's probably no need to freak out. Buy yourself some anti-dandruff shampoo, and whip out your best and most fabulous Miranda Kerr hair flick.

Are you a white wine drinker who has experienced scalp problems? Would you give up white wine to prevent dandruff?