12 Natural Remedies for Dandruff
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Try these 12 natural remedies to get rid of dandruff.
Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells off the scalp. This skin replaces itself about every four weeks, so excess cells have to go somewhere. Some people experience more than just a few flakes of shedding skin every day. When there are a lot of flakes, dandruff becomes an aesthetic issue that can cause embarrassment. The resulting itchiness could also lead to a scalp infection from the bacteria on the hands and under the fingernails transferring to the head.
A skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis causes dryness of the scalp that promotes dandruff. Eczema, psoriasis, and an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia can also cause excess flaking. While there are many medicated shampoos available at drugstores, a lot of them cause skin sensitivity or stop working after a few weeks. Some of these store-bought shampoos are expensive, and they may contain harsh ingredients that further dry the scalp and exacerbate the problem. There are many ways to get rid of dandruff without resorting to harsh, medicated solutions. Some of these natural methods help loosen the flakes while others slow down the rate of skin shedding. Others target the fungus or bacteria or add moisture back to the scalp.
Aspirin contains the active ingredient salicylic acid, which comes from tree bark. Many medicated shampoos at the drugstore also contain this ingredient. It is easy to use aspirin on an as-needed basis for eliminating dandruff. Simply use two spoons to crush two aspirin tablets into a fine powder and then add it to any shampoo. Allow the mixture to sit on the scalp for about two minutes. Rinse it out and then shampoo again, but this time without the aspirin. The salicylic acid dissolves the dandruff flakes. This allows the second shampooing to work its way into the scalp since the thick layer of dead skin cells will be gone.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another helpful home remedy for reducing the severity of dandruff. It is a potent antibacterial and antifungal agent. Some shampoos already contain about 5 percent tea tree oil. It is also possible to add this ingredient to one’s preferred shampoo. A good ratio is 2 drops of tea tree oil per 1 ounce of shampoo. Replace the shampoo bottle lid and shake vigorously before using. Shampoo normally. This remedy helps eliminate any fungal and bacterial infections on the scalp that cause flaky and itchy skin. Some people are sensitive to tea tree oil. A person should apply a drop of the oil to the skin on the inside of the wrist to test for any adverse reactions.
Basic ingredients from the kitchen can also help get rid of pesky dandruff. Baking soda is an essential remedy for a lot of skin ailments. To use baking soda to get rid of dandruff, begin with clean, wet, hair. Rub a handful of the baking soda directly into the scalp and allow it to sit there for a few minutes before rinsing it out. The baking soda works to reduce the fungi that can grow on a sweaty, oily scalp. Some people notice that using baking soda causes some drying. This is normal, and after a few weeks, the scalp resumes producing the right amount of natural oils. After using baking soda, many people find that their hair is softer and their scalps are less itchy.
Yeast need a neutral-to-basic environment to grow, and another way to get rid of them is to use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. The acidic vinegar changes the pH of the scalp, making it difficult for yeast to grow. A mixture of 1 part apple cider or white vinegar and 1 part water can help safely get rid of dandruff. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and spritz on the scalp. To keep the hair wet, wrap a towel around the head. Allow the mixture to sit for up to one hour. Then wash out the vinegar and shampoo as usual. Doing this twice per week helps reduce the yeast population on the scalp.
Alcohol-based mouthwashes can also eliminate yeast and bacteria. These products could be used to treat a bad case of dandruff. First, wash the hair with a regular shampoo. Rinse out the shampoo and use the alcohol-based mouthwash as a rinse. Follow up with a hair conditioner as desired. The alcohol-based mouthwash can be used on a regular basis in order to prevent yeast from growing on the scalp. People who work out regularly may wish to do this immediately after exercising because the yeast thrive on the sweat released by the scalp.
Coconut oil is another tried-and-true way to get rid of dandruff that results from dermatitis or a dry scalp. It also smells nice, and it contains helpful fats that restore moisture to the scalp and hair. Before a shower, massage 3 to 5 tablespoons of coconut oil into the scalp. It is not necessary to heat the coconut oil, but it can be warmed in the hands in order to make it more pliable if it is still mostly solid. Allow the coconut oil to sit on the scalp for about an hour. Shampoo normally to wash out the coconut oil and follow up with a hair conditioner if desired. Some shampoos already contain this ingredient.
Lemon juice is also effective for fighting off yeast growth on the scalp. Take 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon juice from concentrate and massage it into the scalp and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse the scalp with water. Then repeat the process with a diluted mixture of 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 cup of water. Rinse the hair again. Do this every day until the dandruff is gone. The lemon juice’s acidity lowers the scalp's pH and makes it inhospitable to yeast. Avoid blow-drying the hair or going out in the sun after using lemon juice because it could have a bleaching effect if it is not fully rinsed out of the hair.
Ordinary table salt or sea salt also help remove dandruff flakes from the hair. Rub a tablespoon or two of the salt into the scalp while the hair is dry. The abrasiveness of the salt helps loosen the dry, flaky skin. It might help to have another person massage the salt into the scalp. After doing this, shampoo as usual to rinse off the skin flakes and remove the salt from the hair. This treatment can be done as frequently as needed.
When dermatitis or yeast has caused intense scalp itching, and all the resulting scratching causes flakes of skin to fall off, try aloe vera. Aloe vera gel helps reduce skin itchiness and irritation. Massage the aloe vera gel into the scalp before shampooing. Allow it to sit for about 15 to 30 minutes and then shampoo as usual. Aloe vera gel also helps reduce irritation and itching caused by a sunburn on the scalp.
Garlic is a potent antimicrobial agent. It is ideal for eliminating the bacteria that cause dandruff. Fresh garlic cloves can be crushed or minced and rubbed into the scalp. Many people find the smell of fresh garlic to be intense. To lessen the odor of garlic, mix it with a few teaspoons of raw honey. Massage the mixture into the scalp and allow it to remain there for 30 to 60 minutes. Wash the hair as usual. Do this once per week.
A dry scalp could also benefit from an olive oil soak. Massage 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the scalp. Cover the head with a shower cap and allow the oil to soak in overnight. Shampoo as usual in the morning. Some drugstore shampoos contain olive oil.
Fenugreek can also reduce dandruff. This herb has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Soak 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in 1 cup of water overnight. Drain the water and crush the seeds into a paste. Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the paste and then apply the paste to the scalp. Allow it to soak into the scalp for about 30 minutes. Wash off the paste with a mild shampoo. Repeat the process as often as necessary. Fenugreek has a smell similar to maple syrup, which lessens the odor of the apple cider vinegar.