Flight of the Flakes: Dandruff Treatment at Home
Dandruff is termed seborrhoea and could be the result of various things including stress, poor hair brushing and dry skin. Home remedies for dandruff are effective provided the condition has not assumed serious proportions. If the condition is severe and your normal shampoo does not suffice, medical treatment would be the only option. There are different types of dandruff. It usually shows up as dry and flaky skin on the scalp. You could on occasions have red or pink skin indicating scalp inflammation. In more serious cases the white flakes could be accompanied by itchiness and burning.
There is also the scalp psoriasis vs dandruff confusion and it is important to differentiate between the two. Scalp psoriasis is an immune disorder and can be seen as scaly flakes on your skin while dandruff can happen all over your scalp and does not have any fixed pattern.
When it comes to the dandruff vs dry scalp debate, though both of them have the same symptoms, namely itchy scalp and falling flakes, there is a difference. While in an itchy scalp the skin flakes off due to irritation, dandruff can also be the result of too much oil in the scalp which causes the flakes to build up and then fall.
Dandruff is caused when a fungus called Malassezia starts developing on your scalp. You begin to experience extreme dryness due to this and this could even result in scalp damage. Dandruff is also a result of very oily hair; when your scalp produces excessive oil, fungus thrives on it and this creates more dandruff. The most common reasons for dandruff are:
- Not shampooing regularly
- Infrequent brushing and washing of hair
- Severe mental illness or stress
- Parkinson’s disease
- Improper diet
Best Home Remedies to Treat Dandruff
The first thing most people do to handle their dandruff issues is to buy an anti-dandruff shampoo. There are also quite a few over-the-counter products which people use to ensure that their scalp is flake free in a jiffy. But the home remedies for dandruff and itchy scalp that use natural ingredients could be as or more effective to bring the shine and health back to your tresses. Let’s take a look at the most effective ways of ensuring dandruff treatment at home - some great home remedies for dandruff for you.
- Coconut oil: This is very useful in providing moisture to your scalp and removing dryness which is one of the main causes of dandruff. Coconut oil is also believed to have antimicrobial properties that could be helpful in removing fungus from the scalp.
- Neem oil: In Ayurveda neem is regarded as the panacea for all ailments. The antifungal properties of neem oil are very potent against fungi such as Malassezia and Candida. The oil also helps maintain the pH balance of the scalp which helps in the prevention of further dandruff formation.
Add equal parts of neem oil and almond oil and massage it into your hair and scalp. Wash it off after half an hour with normal shampoo. This ayurvedic therapy is regarded as one of the fool proof home remedies for dandruff.
- Lemon: The acidic property of lemon helps in breaking down the dandruff causing fungus. It is also useful in decreasing the oil production in the scalp. Squeeze out the fresh juice of a lemon. Take 2 tablespoons of the juice and massage it into your scalp. Rinse it off with cold water afterwards.
- Aloe vera: The comprehensive health-giving qualities of aloe vera make it one important ingredient in many hair products. It has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties which help defend the scalp from infections and loss of hair fall from dandruff.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps exfoliate the scalp and remove dead skin cells which might be the cause of dandruff. It helps balance the pH of the scalp and in the process, helps decrease the growth of fungus and protect the scalp.
- Fenugreek seeds: Apart from being an excellent remedy for dandruff issues, fenugreek seeds are also very good for the growth of hair and health of your scalp. They have protein and vitamin C which are a source of nourishment to the scalp and are an anti-dandruff solution.
- Baking soda: Baking soda works as a scrub and exfoliates the scalp by removing dead skin cells. Exfoliation ensures that there is no further build-up of flakes on the scalp which makes the presence of dandruff more noticeable. Try out this dandruff solution at home.
- Curd: Curd is full of the goodness of vitamins B5 and D and can be used as a remedy for a range of hair problems. It has antibacterial properties that offer protection against scalp infections and reduces dandruff and itchiness. The fatty acids, zinc, magnesium and potassium ensure that your scalp is as well-nourished. This is how you can ensure your dandruff cure at home.
- Orange peel: Orange peel is one of the unconventional remedies for dandruff but just as effective. You can make these dandruff remedies at home naturally. However, this remedy needs to be prepared in a particular manner before it is applied to cure dandruff. Add some lemon to the orange peel and then grind it in a mixer into a paste. Apply the paste to your hair and let it dry for half an hour before washing it away with anti-dandruff shampoo. This is one of the unique home remedies for dandruff.
Apart from this it also has magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and dietary fibres which are also beneficial for your body.
- Egg yolk: The presence of biotin in egg yolk makes it a very potent weapon against dandruff. They also act as effective hair conditioners.
Ensure your scalp is dry. Remove the white and apply the yolk to your hair and scalp. Cover with a shower cap for an hour before washing it off with shampoo. Follow this remedy thrice a week for best results.
- Green tea: This has antifungal properties and is also a great antioxidant. Applying cool green tea to your scalp is guaranteed to improve the condition of your scalp.
Add 2 green tea bags to hot water. Take it out and allow the tea to cool. Apply to your scalp and allow it to dry for half an hour before rinsing it off with water.
- Basil leaves: The antifungal and antibacterial properties of basil leaves make them one of the healthiest and most natural treatments for dandruff and hair fall.
Add 2 teaspoons of amla powder and water each to some basil leaves. Make a smooth paste and apply to your scalp. Wash it off after 30 minutes with water.
DIY Hair Masks to Treat Dandruff
Hair dandruff could be a result of several factors including scalp oil imbalances, stress and could also be caused by changes in weather. There are a number of effective home remedies for dandruff that are as soothing as they are convenient and you could try them out in the comfort of your home. Let’s find out about a few DIY hair masks which are potent home remedies for dandruff:
- Banana and apple cider vinegar hair mask: This is an excellent remedy for dandruff. The vitamins B in banana help in blood circulation while the antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar help in treating dandruff.
Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to a full banana. Mix well to make a perfect paste. Apply the paste to your scalp, ensuring that it covers every section of your hair. Rinse your hair with shampoo and normal water after half an hour.
- Lemon and curd hair mask: Mix 2 tablespoons of curd with a tablespoon of lime juice and apply it to your scalp. Wash off after half an hour with mild shampoo. The protein in curd endows it with natural conditioning properties. A further addition to this mix could be rice water which can reduce the dandruff causing yeast Malassezia, as it contains selenium.
- Baking soda, olive oil and eggs: To get rid of a load of product build up on your scalp, baking soda could prove to be a very effective agent. Mix this with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and an egg yolk and minimise the possibility of drying your hair excessively. Get a reasonably thick consistency of this mix and apply this to your hair. Wash it off after half an hour with lukewarm water. This is the best remedy for dandruff.
- Neem and coconut oil: The effect of Neem on dandruff is almost miraculous, if used regularly. It is an antiseptic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory agent and is a very good remedy for a dry scalp. The presence of the anti-inflammatory linoleic acid in coconut oil helps in providing a soothing effect to the scalp. Grind a handful of neem leaves with coconut oil to form a thick paste. Apply this on your scalp and wash it off after 20 minutes with water. Experts recommend this as the best home remedy for dandruff.
- Mayonnaise, sour curd and aloe vera hair mask: The sour curd and aloe vera are potent anti-dandruff home remedies and the mayonnaise hydrates the hair. The vinegar content in mayonnaise also adds to the health of your scalp.
Mix 2 tablespoons each of mayonnaise and aloe vera with ½ a cup of sour curd to make a mixture with uniform consistency and apply it to your hair starting from the tips. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo after an hour. Do this once a week.
- Garlic and honey hair mask: Garlic has been considered as a natural dandruff treatment since ages. Applying honey is one of the excellent home remedies for dandruff and is good to condition hair.
Crush 6 pods of garlic and keep it for 10 minutes. Add 7 tablespoons of honey to it and make a smooth mix. Apply this to your hair and scalp and keep it for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild shampoo. Do this once a week.
- Onion and fenugreek hair mask: Onion juice is a wonderful remedy for your vexing dandruff problems. Fenugreek has great moisturising properties and its plant compounds, like saponins and flavonoids have great antifungal benefits apart from being great for hair growth.
Soak 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds overnight and then make a fine paste. Add 2 tablespoons of onion juice and a cup of water to make a mix. Apply this to your hair and wash off in half an hour. Onion is one of the most potent remedies for dandruff and growth of hair. Try out this remedy twice a week for best results.
- Tea tree oil and oatmeal mask: The rich fibre content in oatmeal is great for dry and itchy skin while tea tree oil is a great antifungal and antibacterial agent. Take 2 tablespoons of oatmeal and make a paste with water. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to this paste and apply it to your hair and scalp. Wash off with mild shampoo after 30 minutes.
Dandruff Hair Care Tips
Apart from the suggested home remedies for dandruff and hair fall, you can also make use of some simple yet effective tips to ensure that your hair is healthy and maintained properly.
- The right diet: Foods with high sugar content and dairy foods can lead to over-stimulated sebaceous glands which could in turn result in more oil on your skin. A diet with less carbs and sugars might help you keep the dandruff in check. If you have digestion issues you might consider increasing your probiotic intake. Include fish, fresh meat, whole grains fruits, vegetables and fish to reduce stomach inflammation.
- Select the right shampoo: Once it is established that you have dandruff, try and get a good anti-fungal shampoo for yourself. Look for ingredients like ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc and selenium disulphide which are very effective in removing dandruff. However, if the use of the shampoo does not result in any improvement of your hair, you will be required to visit the dermatologist.
- Brush your hair: Do remember to brush your hair as it stimulates your hair follicles and results in more blood circulation. This also helps prevent dead cell build up and removes those flakes.
- Regular hair washing: The result of irregular hair washing is that oils and dead skin cells accumulate to aggravate your dandruff issues. Regular washing of hair i.e., at least 3 times a week is necessary to control dandruff.
- Use essential oils: Apart from being aromatic, essential oils also help reduce dandruff symptoms. The gentle calming effect reduces inflammation and discomfort. This is one of the very soothing home remedies for dandruff.
- Salt for dandruff: Salt is also considered quite a potent remedy for your dandruff issues. It is effective in absorbing excess oils, sebum or extra moisture and preventing fungal infection. The advantage is that you can add it to your regular shampoo and enhance its efficacy. This is the best way to remove dandruff. Use it as one of your chosen dandruff removal home remedies.
- Exfoliation of the scalp: Exfoliation involves the gentle removal of the top layer of your skin. Exfoliators have salicylic acid which removes the dead skin from the scalp which causes flaking. This is the best way to get rid of dandruff.
- Wash your scalp only: Most anti-dandruff shampoos tend to dry out both your hair and scalp. Use special shampoos that are meant only to be applied to your scalp. The way to do this would be massage the shampoo into your scalp for it to absorb the beneficial ingredients. Do this for at least 5 minutes.
- Do not scratch your scalp: Scratching could aggravate inflammation and irritation. It can damage your scalp and also open up old injuries to cause infections. If your scalp itches constantly, try a gentle massage instead.
- Hot oil treatment: Hot oil-based treatments can also help neutralise excessive oil production of the scalp. This will initially draw out the oil present in the scalp and then remove them. Use coconut oil and be careful not to heat it excessively as it could harm your scalp. Coconut oil is one of the most popular home remedies for dandruff and other hair issues.
- Relax for some time: Stress has been found to be a big reason for the worsening of dandruff issues. Stress lowers the immunity and offers a fertile ground for the proliferation of dandruff. It is advisable to take time off during the day for more easy activities that soothe the mind. Go for a walk or indulge in a relaxing read. This is one of the more important yet underrated home remedies for dandruff.
- Spend some time out in the sun: Try and spend at least 30 minutes in the sun every day. Apart from being soothing for the mind it could also help absorb beneficial vitamins and nutrients to nourish your hair. This is one of those home remedies for dandruff that should be part of your daily regime.
- Cover your head: To avoid aggravating pre-existing scalp issues do not venture out without covering your hair. Dirt and impurities from the outside environment could lead to itchiness and result in a flaky scalp.
Dandruff is one of the most common issues and the solutions to this flaky problem are not difficult to find and include some great home remedies for dandruff. However early diagnosis and precautions are necessary to ensure that the problem does not get out of hand. For solutions to all your dandruff and hair problems do remember to visit us at Traya, and our experts will ensure an early resolution to all your irritating issues.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.