When the skin on your scalp dies, it flakes off in tiny, microscopic bits. In cases of dandruff, however, the skin dies and sloughs off at a faster rate—and in larger, more visible chunks. Dandruff can be caused by a number of problems: both dry and oily skin, not washing your hair enough, sensitivity to hair products, and malassezia (a yeast-like fungus that feeds on hair oils). Scratching a dry, itchy scalp can loosen dead skin flakes, but overactive oil glands can also cause flakes.
If you suffer from embarrassing, chronic dandruff, skip the store-bought, chemical laden shampoos and treat your dandruff at home with these natural remedies.
Dandruff prevention starts with good hygiene. Washing your hair on a regular basis will help reduce the amount of oil in your hair, which can help prevent dandruff. Taking it easy on styling products will also help. Hair products such as gels and mousses can make dandruff worse by creating more of an oily buildup for the fungus to feast off of.
Coconut oil's antifungal properties can help fight malassezia, a cause of dandruff. Coconut oil can also restore moisture to damaged hair. Photo By Susy Morris/Courtesy Flickr.
Although overactive oil glands may be a root cause of dandruff, many natural oils can also help fix dandruff. Jojoba oil, commonly used in natural beauty products, behaves similar to human skin oil, meaning it can help restore a natural oil balance to your skin. In the case of dandruff, it can help control those overactive oil glands, moisturize your hair and skin, and restore a proper pH balance to your scalp. Apply just enough jojoba oil to cover your scalp, massage it in, then rinse.
Because dandruff can also be caused by fungus, using antifungal oils such as coconut and tea tree oil can help prevent and treat dandruff. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo for every 8 ounces; thoroughly mix it in. For coconut oil, warm up a spoonful of oil (it’s solid at room temperature) and work into your hair and scalp. Coconut oil has the added benefit of restoring moisture to damaged hair. To maximize this benefit, leave the coconut oil in your hair anywhere from an hour to overnight.
Apple cider vinegar
The acidity in vinegar may help kill any bacteria that may be contributing to dandruff. This staple remedy can also reduce buildup that occurs from overuse of hair products. Vinegar can have a drying effect, so be sure to use a conditioning or moisturizing remedy with it. For a dandruff-reducing vinegar recipe, try The Herb Companion’s No-Dandruff Rinse.
A healthy diet is important for all aspects of your health. In the case of dandruff, eat a diet rich in zinc and B vitamins.
What home remedies have you found to be effective at treating dandruff?