Dandruff is a scalp condition that manifests with the presence of flaky skin on the skin. While this condition cannot be transmitted from one person to another, and is rarely severe, it does bring embarrassment to the affected person especially in social settings. In addition to this, chronic dandruff may present challenges as far as an effective treatment regimen is concerned.
The good news is that dandruff can be controlled with ease once one is aware of the go-to remedies.The causative agent of dandruff is a fungus known as Malassezia. This fungus is normally found on the scalp, but poses problems when it begins to get nourishment from sebum.
Sebum is the natural oil produced by the skin on the scalp. Once Malassezia starts to use the sebum as food, it degrades the oil, resulting in different types of fats that cause irritation of the scalp. These fats then combine with dead cells from the scalp, giving rise to the flaky skin that results when one scratches their scalp.
As expected, one of the key symptoms of dandruff is excessive itchiness. Since dandruff almost always occurs on itchy skin, many of the natural remedies available for the home treatment of this condition will overlap with that of itchy skin. Granted, these remedies take a longer while for results to show when compared to pharmaceutical products, but they have the advantage of fewer side effects and overall a healthy hair care routine.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (abbreviated ACV), water for dilution (optional, ideal for those allergic to ACV), 10 drops of tea tree oil, cotton wool, warm water to rinse.
Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most effective natural remedies for you if you want to get rid of dandruff. It acts as a skin cleanser and is quite helpful in getting rid of blockage on the scalp’s pores. This is crucial because dandruff tends to lodge in the scalp’s pores. In addition to this, the ACV’s pH helps it restore the natural pH of the scalp. This helps reduce dandruff by decreasing the proliferation of the fungus, thus reducing the itchiness that accompanies dandruff. If your skin reacts to ACV in its raw form, make sure you dilute it using an equivalent amount of warm water. The addition of tea tree oil is done to get rid of the excessive fungi on the scalp as well as the cleanse the skin.
NOTE: Make sure you go for organic ACV as this one has no additives and ensures efficiency in the management of this scalp condition.
- Place half a cup of ACV in a bowl and soak some cotton wool in it.
- If you are allergic to ACV in its undiluted form, add an equal amount of warm water.
- Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to the ACV solution and stir to mix well.
- Soak the cotton wool in it.
- Rub the soaked cotton wool on your scalp in gentle motions, making sure the entire scalp is covered.
- Rinse your scalp with warm water and follow your normal hair care routine. Repeat this procedure twice weekly over a period of a few months for improved results.
2. Baking Soda:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Three tablespoons of baking soda, warm water to rinse.
Baking soda shares a number of similarities with Apple Cider Vinegar in that both remedies are alkaline in nature and help restore the scalp’s natural pH levels. This also helps reduce the excessive population of the causative fungi of dandruff, in effect improving the condition of the skin. In addition to this, baking soda works as an exfoliant that helps get rid of excessive oil from the sebaceous glands as well as the accumulated dead cells on the scalp. Should you choose to use this remedy, make sure that you do not carry out hair shampooing after the remedy as this is likely to cause scalp irritation.
- Wet your scalp (and hair) using warm water to make the procedure more effective.
- Place two tablespoons of baking soda on the palms of your hands and massage on your scalp.
- Allow the baking soda to remain on the scalp for 5 minutes.
- Rinse with warm water and follow through with proper drying of the skin. Ensure that you do not shampoo your hair after using this remedy.
- Repeat this procedure twice weekly for a couple of months to keep the dandruff under control.
3. Olive Oil:
Time Required: 60 Min
What You Need: Extra virgin olive oil, warm water bath, towel, white vinegar and warm water, both optional.
This simple remedy is effective for you if you have dandruff for the simple reason that it works as a natural skin moisturizer, thus helping eliminate the scalp’s flakiness. In effect, this moisturization helps reduce the itchiness. The beauty about olive oil is that it can be used in different ways, either on its own or when mixed with white vinegar. In the latter, the addition of vinegar which contains acetic acid is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of the fungi that causes dandruff.
Olive oil on its own:
- Place the olive oil in a bowl and heat using a water bath until the oil is just warm enough.
- Place three tablespoons of olive oil on the palms of your hands and massage on your scalp.
- Cover your hair using the towel and leave the oil on for about 45 minutes. If you are not time-strapped, let the olive oil sit on your scalp overnight.
- Once your choice time period elapses, follow your normal hair care routine. This should typically involve shampooing and conditioning using the right products. Repeat this procedure thrice weekly for the best results.
Olive oil + White Vinegar:
- Mix olive oil, white vinegar and water in the following ratio, 1:2:3 (this simply means 1 part of olive oil, 2 parts of white vinegar and 3 parts of warm water).
- Scoop three tablespoons of the mixture and massage it on your scalp.
- Let the mixture stay on the scalp for 45 minutes.
- Follow this through with your usual hair care routine, preferably using medicated shampoo.
4. Neem Extract:
Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: Quarter cup of neem juice, beetroot juice, coconut milk, a tablespoon of coconut oil, medicated or herbal shampoo and conditioner.
Neem plays an indispensable role in the management of skin infections, and seeing as dandruff is a fungal infection, there is no reason why you should not use this handy and effective natural remedy. In addition, the neem juice applied soothes the skin and eliminates the itchy sensation. In the long run, neem gets rid of the skin flakes, and over a period of several weeks improves the health of the scalp. Coconut oil is added to the mixture to compliment neem’s healing properties by moisturizing the scalp. This excellent home pack is both easy to make and works wonders for your scalp.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well.
- Scoop some of the mixture and massage your scalp with it in gentle but firm motions.
- Wash the scalp using medicated shampoo and follow this through with herbal conditioner for best results. Repeat this procedures twice weekly over a period of several weeks until you notice an improvement in your scalp.
5. Fenugreek Seeds:
Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: A tablespoon of fenugreek seeds, a cup of warm water, a cup of apple cider vinegar and medicated hair shampoo.
Fenugreek seeds, also known as methi seeds in some parts of the world, are an excellent option as far as natural remedies for the home treatment of dandruff are concerned. The excellent anti-fungal properties of these seeds makes them ideal for treating dandruff and eliminating the flaky skin. Apple Cider Vinegar on the other hand, restores the scalp’s pH to normalcy while cleansing the scalp’s pores to get rid of blockage that results from accumulation of dead cells and flaky skin.
- Place the water in a bowl and transfer the fenugreek seeds to the bowl to soak overnight.
- Take the soaked seeds the next day and pound using a pestle and mortar to get a consistent paste.
- Add in the Apple Cider Vinegar to this paste and blend some more.
- Scoop this paste and proceed to apply it on your scalp.
- Let the paste remain on your scalp for half an hour and proceed to wash with medicated hair shampoo.
- Rinse with warm water. Repeat this procedure at least once weekly in order to provide relief for the itchiness.
6. Soap Nuts:
Time Required: 45 Min Application
What You Need: Approximately 10 soap nuts, 1 tablespoon of Amla powder, 2 cups of warm water, pestle and mortar, shampoo and conditioner.
The use of soap nuts to manage dandruff is an ancient Indian remedy that has been passed down to generations, thanks to its efficiency. The soap nuts have anti-fungal properties that help control dandruff while ensuring that your scalp remains healthy. Soap nuts are native to India, and are referred to as such because the berries contain a pulp that is used as a raw ingredient for the development of soap. Amla powder is also an excellent addition to the remedy because it helps retain the health of your scalp and transforms hair so that it is healthy and glowing.
- Place the soap nuts in a bowl and add warm water until the nuts are fully covered (can be left overnight).
- Grind the soaked nuts using a pestle and mortar before boiling in water.
- Strain the mixture and add a tablespoon of amla powder before mixing well.
- Add an adequate amount of water to develop a smooth paste which is what you will apply on the scalp.
- Let the paste remain on the scalp for half an hour and follow through with your normal shampoo and conditioning hair routine. Use this remedy at least once weekly.
7. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 4 Fresh lemons, a juicer and warm water. You could substitute this with raw lemon wedges.
Lemon juice is a diverse remedy for a number of conditions. This is because it contains two critical elements: citric acid and a high concentration of Vitamin C. The citric acid creates an acidic environment that proves harsh for the fungi that causes dandruff. Consequently, the lemon juice helps control the severity of the dandruff. In addition to this, the Vitamin C present helps control the dandruff while nourishing the scalp. The advantage of using lemons to manage this scalp condition is that lemons are easily available, and certainly affordable or the most part.
- Rub the lemons on a kitchen board to loosen the fibers so that the fruit juices easily and effectively.
- Juice the lemons and collect the fresh juice in a bowl.
- Apply the lemon juice on the scalp in gentle motions and leave for 15 minutes.
- Rinse off the lemon juice using warm water.
- If you prefer the lemon wedges to the juice, simply slice the lemon and rub the wedges on your scalp, allowing the effects to soak in for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and use this remedy once weekly for a couple of weeks to notice an improvement in the condition of your scalp.
Other remedies that you can use to manage dandruff include aloe vera gel whose strong anti-fungal properties make it an ideal home remedy and minced garlic which, despite its pungent smell, is an excellent natural anti-fungal. Salt is also used for its abrasiveness in getting rid of the skin flakes and preparing the scalp for shampooing. Mouthwash makes for an interesting remedy in the home treatment of dandruff as it effectively gets rid of the fungi that causes the characteristic flaky skin. Getting rid of dandruff requires a holistic approach in taking care of your hair and scalp by shampooing and conditioning regularly.