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You may notice flakes appearing in your hair or even have them fall out of your hair when you move your head. This is the condition known as dandruff. While it is certainly quite common, that does not make it any less embarrassing. Nobody wants to have flakes raining down from their head.
The good news is it is something you can easily get under control, manage, and even prevent. All you have to do is learn a bit more about this condition, why it happens, and what treatment options you have.
Once you learn more about dandruff, you will be ready to tackle the issue and rid yourself of it forever. Once you say goodbye to the flakes, you can be more confident. It might even give you a nice self esteem boost. So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to start the journey to end your dandruff once and for all.
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff refers to dry flakes of skin that come from your scalp. It’s an inflammatory skin condition that is very common.
Some people naturally experience more dandruff than others. Luckily, the condition is very treatable.
In this article, we’ll go into how to get rid of dandruff, including its symptoms and effective dandruff remedies.
The most common symptom of dandruff is white flakes of dead skin appearing in your hair, on your neck, or even on your clothing on your back and shoulders. People with dandruff might also see redness on their scalps.
Dandruff can be itchy. Unfortunately, itching only loosens more dead skin cells, making your dandruff appear worse.
You’ll want to take note of the severity of your symptoms before deciding how to get rid of the issue.
Seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most common causes of dandruff. It can occur not only on the scalp but the skin of your face, ears, and chest.
Dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis tends to have more severe symptoms, rather than only light flakes. Redness and itchiness are common.
Although dandruff looks like the result of dry skin, it’s linked to an increase in the production of your skin’s oil or sebum.
Blow drying your hair too often or not washing your hair often enough can contribute to dandruff, but they aren’t the root causes.
It’s possible that dandruff is the body’s reaction to the presence of Malassezia yeast, which is found naturally on human skin. Before prescribing a medicated shampoo or cream, a doctor may determine how to remove dandruff based on the amount of Malassezia yeast on your skin.
Certain conditions don’t necessarily cause dandruff, but they can make it worse. Dry winters and vitamin deficiencies can increase existing dandruff. People also tend to see more dandruff when they are stressed or sick.
Natural Home Remedies
Dandruff is a very common condition. As annoying as it may be, you might feel that dandruff is too minor to take to the doctor, and you’d be right. In most cases, you can manage your dandruff with simple ingredients around the house.
Here is a look at some of the natural remedies for dandruff you can try at home.
Egg yolks are an excellent treatment for dandruff and overall hair health.
You might see egg yolks listed as an ingredient in many hair masks. Yolks are an emulsifier, which helps bind ingredients together and creates a smoother mask.
The reason egg yolks can be so effective in treating dandruff is that they are high in sulfur.
Use egg yolks on their own or mix them with another dandruff-fighting ingredient, such as coconut oil or yogurt.
It seems like baking soda can do almost anything. You can add “clear up dandruff” to its list of benefits.
Baking soda can absorb oils and dirt, as well as dead skin cells. Apply some to your scalp to absorb any excess sebum without drying out your hair.
The powder can also work as a light exfoliator and help remove cells that haven’t yet flaked off.
Try mixing baking soda with a little water to make a paste, adding it to the shampoo of your choice, or mixing with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to get multiple home remedies for dandruff.
It may seem counterintuitive to apply oil to your scalp, but cedarwood oil is also a treatment for oily hair.
This essential oil is made from distilling chips and sawdust from cedarwood.
If the cause of your dandruff is a fungus like Malassezia, cedarwood’s antiseptic and antifungal properties could be an effective treatment for you.
Like vitamin and mineral deficiencies, not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can result in increased dandruff. However, your body doesn’t produce omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to include them in your diet.
High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish oils, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds. You can also take omega-3 supplements.
Fenugreek seeds are antifungal, so they help prevent dandruff caused by Malassezia fungus.
You can use Fenugreek seed paste and mix it with other ingredients for added benefits to your scalp and hair health.
To make a Fenugreek paste, soak the seeds in hot water and leave them overnight. The next day, grind them into a paste. Apply the mixture to your scalp and let it set for one hour.
You can also try mixing Fenugreek seed paste with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, yogurt, or lemon juice.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has enzymes, malic acid, and acetic acids that kill bacteria and fungus. Its acidity is also good for your pores and pH balance.
You should use a diluted apple cider vinegar mix or add it with another ingredient, such as Fenugreek seed paste. Try adding a drop of essential oil to diluted apple cider vinegar for a pleasant aroma and additional benefits.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is antifungal and has been used to treat infections. It can kill off excess Malassezia or any bacteria causing excessive skin cell growth.
You need to dilute tea tree oil since applying it directly to the scalp could irritate the skin instead of soothing it. You can mix one or two drops of tea tree oil into shampoo for easy application. It’s best to choose a shampoo that doesn’t already have a strong scent.
Taking probiotics can also help reduce your dandruff. Probiotics strengthen the immune system and help prevent excess yeast growth.
You can get more probiotics into your system by taking a probiotics drink, eating more fermented foods, and increasing the starchy and fibrous foods in your diet, such as potatoes and plantains, which help probiotics grow.
Coconut oil is a natural antibiotic and can also effectively treat yeast infections. This oil also moisturizes and conditions skin and hair, keeping a dry scalp at bay.
Coconut oil is a mild ingredient that you can apply directly to the scalp. Use two tablespoons of warm oil. Coconut oil hardens when it becomes cold, so you’ll want to make sure it’s warm enough to be liquid for easy application.
Massage the oil into your scalp and hair, cover with a shower cap, and let it set overnight. In the morning, wash your hair with your preferred shampoo.
Yogurt reduces irritation and itching in scalp. It’s also good for hair health because it contains zinc and lactic acid. Yogurt also contains probiotics and several healthy enzymes, which will help take out any dandruff-causing bacteria or fungus.
You should use a plain, nonfat yogurt to treat dandruff. Massage straight yogurt into your scalp and let it set for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.
Lemon and Lemon Juice
Lemons and lemon juice are very acidic. Dandruff can’t grow in an acidic environment. Both citric acid and vitamin C help fight against dandruff.
Lemons are also anti-fungal, and the juice can get rid of any chemicals left in your hair from beauty products.
You can try applying lemons directly to your scalp or using the juice in a mixture. For the easiest method, simply cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice directly onto your scalp. Massage and let set for five to ten minutes.
Although not completely natural, baby oil is a gentle dandruff remedy. Some brands are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which can only have positive effects on your scalp.
If you’re struggling with how to get rid of dry scalp, baby oil might be a solution.
Apply it evenly to your scalp and massage gently. Wear a shower cap and let the oil set overnight. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly in the morning.
Aloe Vera is an excellent anti-fungal moisturizer for the scalp. It helps eliminate dry skin and remove dead skin cells. At the same time, it encourages new cell growth for a healthier scalp.
Many people also use Aloe Vera to reduce itching, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic might seem like a strange remedy, but it’s packed with benefits. Garlic is antibacterial and contains allicin, which fights off fungal and yeast infections.
You can crush garlic cloves or use a garlic powder in another hair-healthy ingredient, such as honey, to make a hair mask. If you’re not keen on garlic-smelling hair, you can try adding more to your diet. Your body will still receive those antibacterial benefits from consuming garlic.
Several essential oils can help treat dandruff. In addition to the ones we’ve already mentioned, bay, lavender, rosemary, sage, and sandalwood are also good choices for scalp health.
Make sure to avoid applying essential oils directly to the scalp since they’re high concentrated and might be too strong for your skin. Combine oils with water or another carrier like aloe vera gel.
Aloe Vera Gel
We know that aloe vera is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and a great moisturizer. Using an aloe vera gel is an easy way to access the benefits of this plant.
You can apply aloe vera gel directly to your scalp. Massage gently, and let it set for a few minutes before rinsing.
How to Get Rid of Flakes
Even if you’re not feeling much discomfort from your dandruff, the flakes might be there for everyone to see. So how do you get rid of dandruff?
Try out the home remedies above or try out some specialized products for getting rid of dandruff.
Everyone reacts to products and remedies differently, so it may take a few tries to find the best way to get rid of dandruff for you.
Shampoos for Dandruff
Shampoos specifically created for dandruff treatment are widely available. While these shampoos may be great for people with serious cases of dandruff, be aware that extended use may dry out your scalp.
Dandruff shampoos usually have salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, tar, ketoconazole, or zinc pyrithione.
They work by reducing Malassezia growth and the rate of your scalp skin growth.
Use them like you would a regular shampoo, and take note of any special directions given on the product.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that can be very effective in reducing flakes. However, make sure you buy a high-quality product. There are several varieties on the market, and some are very obviously less effective.
You’ll need to seek out raw, unfiltered ACV to get its full benefits and see your dandruff fade. Pure ACV is easy to distinguish. Filtered products are often clear, with a light yellow tint like apple juice.
Unfiltered ACV should look slightly milky, with a lighter substance floating in the bottle or settled at the bottom. This nutritional strain is called the “Mother, ” and it contains the majority of ACV’s nutrients and benefits.
Apple cider vinegar is strong so dilute it with equal parts ACV and water. For easy application, put the diluted vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to your scalp and hair.
Although ACV will smell strongly of vinegar at first, the scent will fade once the vinegar dries.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another natural remedy that you should purchase carefully. Look for an organic, pure form of tea tree oil for maximum benefits.
Dilute tea tree oil with a carrier before applying it to your scalp. Coconut, olive, and jojoba are all good carrier oils.
Fill an application bottle with about three-fourths of the carrier oil and add 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo.
In a few cases, you might want to consider a topical steroid. These medications are anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory.
Topical steroids are usually a cortisone-based lotion or cream. You’ll need to consult your doctor to find out how to get rid of dandruff based the root causes in your case.
How to Avoid Dandruff
We’ve gone into how to get rid of dandruff, but what about avoiding it in the first place?
There are preventative measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of a dandruff breakout.
Your scalp, like any other skin, will benefit from limited sun exposure. Vitamin D nourishes skin and hair, but getting too much can cause damage.
Many people see dandruff during cold, dry winters. If you’re someone who struggles with dry skin, be proactive, especially in the winter. Investing in a humidifier could keep dandruff at bay.
We also know that vitamin deficiencies and stress can worsen dandruff. Eat a healthy diet and learn ways to manage your stress to keep your scalp healthy too.
Can Dandruff Be Cured?
There is no single dandruff cure. However, with the right preventative steps, you can stop your dandruff from coming back.
How to cure dandruff varies by person, but you should know your skin type and take steps accordingly. If you tend to have dry skin, you can moisturize regularly with hair packs or a shampoo tailored to dry scalps.
If your skin is oily, you might need to shampoo more often. You might also have an excessive amount of yeast growth in your body. Excess yeast in the intestinal tract can also cause oily skin. Limiting sugars, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates in your diet can make a difference for your scalp.
If you are particularly prone to dandruff, you might consider alternating between your regular shampoo and one with an anti-dandruff formula to reduce dandruff and prevent your scalp from drying.