Dandruff is a common scalp condition characterized by flaking and itching of the scalp. While it is not a serious medical condition, it can be bothersome and affect one's self-confidence. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that can help improve dandruff and promote scalp health. This article will explore different at-home treatments to help manage dandruff.
Dandruff is flaky skin from the scalp caused by different things, including inflammation, a yeast-like fungus, and the buildup of hair products.
Understanding the underlying cause of dandruff is essential for effective treatment.
Natural home remedies include aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, aspirin, lemon juice, olive oil, tea tree oil, and coconut oil.
Over-the-counter dandruff shampoos contain harsh chemicals, so they should be used carefully and according to instructions.
If home remedies and over-the-counter options do not alleviate dandruff, a dermatologist should look for potential underlying skin conditions.
What causes dandruff?
Dandruff is flaky skin on the scalp. Various things, including a yeast-like fungus, seborrheic dermatitis, inflammation, or a buildup of hair products, can cause a dandruff outbreak.
Dry scalp can also cause the skin to flake off, but it is slightly different from normal dandruff and can have different causes. Typically, a person with a dry scalp also has dry skin elsewhere. Psoriasis, dry environments, aging, or other causes can cause a dry scalp.
Knowing the cause of dandruff can help one choose the most appropriate treatment.
Natural home remedies
Several natural home remedies may be effective for dandruff and may improve scalp health.
|Treatment||How to use it|
|Aloe vera||Rub some aloe vera into the scalp prior to shampooing hair.|
|Apple cider vinegar||Create a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. Pour it onto the scalp and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes be sure to rinse it out well.|
|Baking soda||Apply baking soda to the scalp when it's wet. Let it sit for at least three minutes before rinsing.|
|Aspirin||Crush two aspirin and blend them into the shampoo. Let the shampoo-aspirin mixture sit for at least two minutes before rinsing.|
|Lemon juice||Apply two tsp of lemon juice onto the scalp and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing. Then mix one tsp of lemon juice with one cup of water and pour it onto the scalp.|
|Olive oil||Before bed, rub several drops of olive oil into the scalp. Cover hair with a cap and sleep with it. Shampoo hair like normal in the morning.|
|Tea tree oil||Tea tree oil mixed with shampoo (at least a 5% ratio of tea tree oil to shampoo) can be used like regular shampoo.|
|Coconut oil||Rub 3–5 tsp on the scalp and leave it in for at least an hour before shampooing it out.|
A number of lifestyle choices can help to prevent dandruff, including:
- Eating a healthy diet. A healthy diet that includes vitamin B, zinc, and healthy fats can help to improve overall skin health and reduce the risk of dandruff.
- Reducing stress. Stress can trigger dandruff, so finding ways to manage stress is important. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time in nature can help reduce stress.
- Changing one's hair-washing routine. To help treat dandruff, it is important to wash hair regularly with a dandruff shampoo. However, washing hair too often can dry out the scalp and worsen dandruff.
- Reducing sunlight exposure. Sunlight can trigger dandruff, so it is important to wear a hat or use sunscreen on the scalp when outdoors.
- Limiting the use of hair styling products. Hair styling products can dry out the scalp and aggravate or worsen dandruff.
Over-the-counter dandruff shampoos often contain active ingredients like pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, coal tar, or salicylic acid. These ingredients help reduce dandruff-causing fungi, control flaking, and soothe the scalp.
Each active ingredient works on different causes of dandruff. Therefore, experts recommend reading the instructions and following the directions based on skin type to treat scalp issues best. A dermatologist can determine which over-the-counter ingredients best suit a person's hair and scalp type.
Some people prefer to use natural methods before using dandruff shampoos. Additionally, these shampoos may lose their effectiveness over time, which increases the risk of allergic reactions.
Furthermore, certain types of shampoos may be harmful to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some may also cause sensitivity to sunlight. In addition, depending on the kind of shampoo, it may discolor skin, nails, or hair. Also, dandruff shampoos should be kept away from wounds, cuts, infections, and the eyes.
When to see a doctor
If home remedies and over-the-counter options do not alleviate dandruff or symptoms worsen or spread, it may be necessary to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend stronger medicated shampoos or other individually-tailored treatments.
Dermatologists recommend scheduling an appointment to explore the possibility of underlying skin conditions if a person experiences persistent itchiness, redness, rash, warmth, or scalp pain.
A dermatologist can accurately diagnose the root cause of scalp conditions and offer specialized treatments. They may also suggest modifying hair care routines, such as avoiding specific hair products or reducing the frequency of hair washing, to manage symptoms better.
- Mayo Clinic. Dandruff.
- Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo.
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. How To Treat Dandruff.