Dandruff is dead skin from the scalp that flakes off into the hair. As a person scratches their head, white (sometimes yellow) flakes typically release from the scalp or hair and onto clothing or other areas off the body. This can lead to a feeling of uneasy, embarrassment, and other personal issues. While dandruff can be a huge annoyance to deal with, there are many ways to rid your head of those unwanted flakes. Before we discuss home remedies for dandruff, let’s look at some commonly believed causes of dandruff.
Causes of Dandruff
- Fungus – A fungus called Malassezia (a yeast) resides in the scalp of many people and is beleived to be one of the major causes of dandruff. This fungus causes the scalp skin to rapidly shed and create itching.
- Eczema – Scalp eczema results in the inflammation of the skin, itching and typically yellow flaking.
- Oily skin – This is a common cause of dandruff. Dandruff can occur when oil is excessively produced from glands adjacent to your hair follicles. Dandruff flakes occur or become noticeable when the skin cells build up and mold together by the oil to create a larger flake.
- Irregualar Sampooing – Not washing your hair enough can lead to an oily scalp and a build up of dead, flaky skin.
- Adverse reactions to products put into the hair.
- Unhealthy immune system.
- Dry skin
- Psoriasis – This cause accelerated skin cell growth resulting in flaky skin.
Home Remedies for Dandruff
Dandruff can be treated with an over-the-counter shampoo. Several brands are on the market with different active ingredients that will work for many people to control dandruff. However, there are a few methods you may want to try at home before paying for expensive shampoo.
Once again baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) appears as a home remedy. Simply form a paste with a tablespoon of baking soda and enough water to create the paste. Use the paste on already wet hair by working it into the scalp. Let it sit on the scalp and your hair for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Use it two to three times a week until the dandruff is eliminated. Baking soda is a natural method to cleanse your hair of oils, dirt and dead skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is believed to be beneficial to eliminate dandruff, particularly caused by yeast. This is because vinegar is acidic and potentially has the ability to create an unwelcoming environment for yeast growth. It is also believed to have enzymes that can kill skin fungus. Always use organic apple cider vinegar to ensure pure ingredients and to avoid ingredients that will negate the positive attributes. To apply it to your hair, dilute it with water using a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. For example, mix one cup apple cider vinegar with one cup water. You can then place the mixer into a spray bottle and apply it to your hair, making sure to spray the scalp and not just the hair. Let the mixture sit in your hair for 10 minutes and then rinse. Repeat 2 to 3 times a week until dandruff disappears.
Aspirin does more than alleviate a pesky headache. It also can rid the scalp of those irritating dandruff flakes. Aspirin contains salicylates, which is also an active ingredient in some dandruff shampoos. Use a clean hammer, mortar & pestle, or similar instrument to break down 2-3 aspirin into a fine powder. Add it to your normal shampoo and use the mixture whenever you wash your hair. Rinse your hair until the shampoo/aspirin is removed.
Lemons are acidic by nature and can restore pH levels to normal while reducing oils. Lemons are believed to be beneficial to combating common fungus causing dandruff problems. Squeeze the juice from several lemons (discard the seeds) and apply to the scalp about once a week. Rinse the juice out after 10 – 15 minutes.
Aloe vera is a good home remedy for dandruff because it has the ability to moisturize the scalp to prevent dryness while providing itch relief. Aloe vera also is able to hinder fungal or yeast growth that can cause dandruff. The best way to use aloe vera is straight from the leaf by extracting its natural gel. The gel is located in the center of the leaf so you will have to slice the leaf lengthwise to expose the gel (see the video below). Apply the aloe vera gel directly to the scalp and massage it in. Leave it in the scalp for at least 20 minutes and rinse it out. You can also use store bought aloe vera, but it is best to buy 100% pure organic.
Studies have found that probiotics (live cultures) may be beneficial to reducing dandruff. One study found that the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei was very effective at reducing the yeast responsible for creating dandruff. Probiotics are found in foods like yogurt, kefir, some cottage cheese, sauerkraut, and miso soup. Not all strains of the many probiotics have been studied for their ability to deter dandruff. However, supplements are available that contain multiple strains per capsule (including Lactobacillus paracasei) that may be beneficial just by the pure volume of probiotics. Alternatively, you can test foods containing probiotics by eating them regularly and monitoring if dandruff subsides.