Dandruff can be embarrassing and uncomfortable to deal with. Dandruff is characterized by itchy, white flakes on your scalp. It may also result in other symptoms, such as tingling skin and greasy patches on your scalp. Dandruff can dampen a happy occasion in a matter of minutes. Dandruff results from dry and itchy scalps in both men and women, and is caused by the fungus Malassezia, but can be corrected with several best home remedies for oily scalp and dandruff. Most of these remedies can be created with ingredients from your kitchen, which are highly effective.
You will learn the following from this post:
Table of Contents
- Meaning of dandruff treatments
- Causes of dandruff
- Risk factors associated with dandruff
- Best dandruff treatment at home
What are Dandruff Treatments?
Dandruff treatments are how you can control or get rid of flaking and itching on your scalp. The first two steps to achieve this are using a dandruff shampoo and brushing your hair. In brushing your hair, ensure that you brush it down from the scalp with steady, even, and firm strokes. This process carries the oil away from your scalp, where skin cells and oil buildup can result in dandruff. In addition, moving the brush along your hair strands helps keep your hair shiny and healthy.
All dandruff shampoos are not the same. The ingredients they contain vary. Some have active ingredients like:
- Coal tar preparations (Scytera, Neutrogena T/Gel, Denorex Therapeutic Protection)
- Pyrithione zinc (Head & Shoulders, Neutrogena T/Gel Daily Control Dandruff Shampoo, Selsun Blue for Itchy Dry Scalp)
- Salicylic acid and sulfur (Sebulex, Sebex)
- Salicylic acid (Neutrogena T/Sal)
- Selenium sulfide (Selsun, Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength, Dandrex)
- Ketoconazole (Xolegel, Nizoral A-D, Extina)
You may have to switch between shampoo types if a particular kind controls dandruff at first but later becomes ineffective. And if you choose to try a shampoo with coal tar ingredients, you’ll have to be careful. Coal tar treats dandruff by killing the skin cells on your scalp, but there are some things you need to know:
- Some have an allergic reaction to this type of shampoo.
- This shampoo can change the color of lighter-colored clothes, skin, fingernails, and hair.
- You’ll need to prevent it from getting in contact with any cuts, infections, or broken skin, including your eyes.
- It can cause your skin to become much more sensitive to sunlight – which means that you should desist from staying in the sun for 24 to 72 hours after using this shampoo.
- Expectant or breastfeeding women should refrain from using this shampoo
How to Use Dandruff Shampoos
When you are shampooing:
- Rub the shampoo into your scalp.
- Leave the shampoo to remain in your hair for five minutes or as directed by a physician.
- Rinse thoroughly. Leftover shampoo on your scalp may irritate your skin.
The frequency of your shampoo use can vary from daily to a couple of times each week:
- For Caucasians and Asian Americans, the best way is to shampoo each day but use dandruff shampoo only two times a week. If that does not work, you might try alternative shampoos with different treatment ingredients.
- For Black people, the best way to use dandruff is once a week. With a dermatologist, you might also want to discuss which dandruff shampoo will work best for your hair.
You can use dandruff shampoo less often as soon as your dandruff is under control; however, shampoo usage is not the best home remedy for dandruff.
Causes of Dandruff
The following are some of the common causes of dandruff in people:
- Irregular hair shampooing
- Improper diet
- Irregular and wrong methods of brushing
- Illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or eczema
- Overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia
- Other skin conditions, such as psoriasis
- Allergic reactions to skin and hair products
- Dry skin
Another significant cause of dandruff is Seborrheic dermatitis, which seems to affect people with:
- a weak immune system
- recovery from heart disease or stroke
- eating disorders
- alcohol dependency
- Parkinson’s disease
- psoriasis or scalp psoriasis
Certain research has found that 30 to 80 percent of people with HIV have seborrheic dermatitis, compared to 3 to 5 percent of the general population. In addition, the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis may be more severe.
An HIV-positive person that experiences scalp problems should consult their doctor, who will recommend the appropriate treatment.
Yeast is also another major cause of dandruff. In addition, dandruff is often a result of Malassezia, a fungus commonly found on the scalp and feeds on the oils the hair follicles secrete.
Malassezia is not often a problem, but some people’s immune systems overreact to it. This can result in the scalp becoming irritated and producing extra skin cells.
As these extra skin cells die and fall off, they combine with the oil from the hair and scalp to become dandruff.
Risk Factors Associated with Dandruff
Almost anyone’s scalp can be attacked by dandruff, but certain factors can make you more susceptible to it:
- Age: Dandruff usually develops in young adulthood and continues through middle age. This fact does not mean that older adults are exempt from getting dandruff. For some people, the issue of dandruff can be lifelong.
- Being Male: Males get more dandruff than females.
- Certain Illnesses: Parkinson’s disease, including other illnesses that seem to affect the nervous system, can also increase the risk of dandruff – the same applies to having a weakened immune system or HIV.
- Certain Weathers: Extreme winter temperatures, including a combination of cold weather and overheated rooms, may trigger the onset of dandruff on a person’s scalp.
- Diet: Dietary factors play a crucial role in the risks associated with dandruff. When the diet is poor, dandruff may arise. The following are nutrients that may help reduce the risk of having dandruff:
- Zinc, if there is a deficiency.
- B vitamins, if there is a deficiency.
- A kind of omega-6 fat known as gamma-linolenic acid, which is found in evening primrose oil
However, no research evidence has proved that these dietary measures can help get rid of dandruff naturally.
7 Best Dandruff Treatments at Home
Several special shampoos and over-the-counter (OTC) topical medications treat shampoo. However, you can also eliminate dandruff at home by using the natural remedies below:
1. Tea Tree Oil
This oil is an essential oil produced from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. People have used tea tree oil for treating various skin conditions, such as dermatitis, athlete’s foot, and acne.
Tea tree oil has a compound known as terpinene-4-ol, which has potent antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oils with high concentrations of terpenes-4-oil may help relieve dandruff by suppressing the growth of bacteria and fungi on the scalp.
A 2017 review studied the antimicrobial effects of several essential oils. It has been discovered that tea tree oil may effectively control a bacteria called S. epidermidis. However, applying tea tree oil directly to the scalp can result in rashes or inflammation, so those interested in using tea tree oil for treating dandruff can begin by adding a few drops to their regular shampoo.
You can get shampoos containing tea tree oil online or in some drug stores.
2. Lemongrass Oil
People have used lemongrass and lemongrass oil to treat digestive issues, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. In addition, lemongrass oil contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help reduce the symptoms of dandruff.
Like tea tree oil, lemongrass oil may result in irritation or allergic reaction if applied directly to the skin. However, you can dilute lemongrass oil with water or put a few drops of the oil into your regular shampoo or conditioner.
You can get lemongrass oil online or at health food stores.
3. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is a succulent plant known globally for its healing properties. The gel in aloe vera leaves contains several bioactive compounds, such as antioxidants and amino acids that may reduce dandruff. A certain author of a 2019 review studies 23 clinical trials involving aloe vera. These studies indicate that ale vera gel may improve the retention of moisture in the skin and speed up wound healing. Aloe vera may also reduce inflammation – this is especially good for people with the symptoms of dandruff, such as itchiness.
Research carried out in 2015 suggests that aloe vera’s antibacterial and antifungal properties may prevent dandruff. An author of a controlled study involving 25 people concluded that a new topical gel with aloe vera effectively treated a form of dandruff known as seborrheic dermatitis.
You can directly use aloe vera gel from the plant or get the gel online.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 fatty acids may effectively increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels, support heart and brain health, and lower blood pressure. However, an omega-3 fatty acids deficiency can result in adverse symptoms, such as dry skin, brittle nails, and dandruff.
Omega-3 provides several health benefits, such as:
- Reducing signs of aging
- Improving hydration
- Regulating inflammation
- Managing oil production
Foods with large quantities of omega-3s include walnuts, mackerel, and salmon. You can also take omega-3 in supplement form.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that most adults should take between 1.1 and 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids every 24 hours.
You can get omega-3 fatty acids in health food stores, pharmacies, or online.
Aspirin is an over-the-counter pain reliever that can significantly reduce the symptoms of dandruff. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, an ingredient commonly found in shampoos for dandruff. Salicylic acid can help prevent oil buildup, reduce inflammation of the scalp, and exfoliate excess dandruff flakes.
If you intend to use salicylic acid on your dandruff, crush one or two uncoated and unadulterated aspirin tablets into a fine powder and mix the powder with a dollop of regular shampoo. In the shower, rub the mixture in your hair and allow it to remain there for a few minutes before rinsing it out.
You can purchase aspirin in either pharmacy or online.
6. Baking Soda
Another scientific name for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and it may help reduce dandruff on the scalp. Baking soda is an exfoliating remedy that can remove excess skin oils and skin cells on the scalp. Baking soda also contains antifungal properties that can help battle the fungus that causes dandruff.
Baking soda contains a pretty high pH level. That means that baking soda can damage the scalp if used too frequently. Overusing baking soda can strip the hair of its natural oils, resulting in irritation or dryness, so it should be used in moderation.
You can buy baking soda from most health food stores, grocery stores, and online.
7. Coconut Oil
This can help improve hydration, prevent fungal growth on the scalp, and reduce irritation. A test-tube study revealed that cultured coconut extract lowered the marker of inflammation in human skin samples. Another research observed similar anti-inflammatory properties after applying virgin coconut oil to artificial skin samples.
According to the result obtained from a particular clinical trial, applying virgin coconut oil to the skin results in a 68.23% decrease in atopic dermatitis symptoms in a group of 117 children from ages 1 to 13 years old. These studies show promising results, but more professional researchers should investigate this remedy more carefully to evaluate the role of coconut oil in eliminating dandruff.
You can apply the oil directly to the scalp before washing it off. Alternatively, you can buy a shampoo that has coconut oil in it. You can buy coconut oil in health food stores, grocery stores, and online.
Although it may be challenging to deal with dandruff, several natural remedies may relieve and reduce symptoms. Whenever you notice flakes coming from your hair, you should try some of the home remedies to get rid of the dandruff already given above.
However, if these remedies do not work after a couple of days, consult your dermatologist to determine whether you need other treatment options available for long-lasting relief.