There’s nothing more embarrassing than putting on a dark-colored shirt and discovering white flakes collecting on your shoulders and along your back. Those flakes are the result of dandruff, a condition that affects the scalp. It causes the skin to flake and falls off, and frequently, itching accompanies the flaking.
Though the specific cause of dandruff is not known, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing this condition. Many people associate it with poor hygiene, but that definitely isn’t one of the causes; however, the flakes may be more visible in hair that isn’t washed regularly. Certain medical conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that creates scaly, red patches of flaky skin, can lead to dandruff. So can using hair care products that contain harsh ingredients and irritate the scalp. Those who have excessively dry skin or who are sensitive to yeast are also prone to developing dandruff. Stress can cause dandruff, too, as can a poor diet.
Whatever the cause, there’s no doubt that if you are plagued by dandruff, you want to treat the condition a quickly as possible. Here’s a look at 12 effective remedies that can help soothe the scalp, reduce the flaking, and ease the itching caused by dandruff.
1. Argan oil
Made from the kernels of the argan tree, which is native to Morocco, argan oil has proven to be a successful way to treat dandruff. Because it is highly moisturizing and has great soothing properties, argan oil has become a very popular ingredient in hair care products. A formula that is 100 percent pure will provide the best results for easing dandruff. Apply a few drops of the oil to the top of your head and work it into your scalp before you go to sleep. Put on a shower cap to protect your sheets and in the morning, wash your hair as usual. The argan oil will hydrate your scalp while you sleep, which will reduce the appearance of flakes. Plus, it will also leave your hair super soft.
2. Coconut oil
Derived from coconuts, coconut oil is another natural oil that can be used to treat dandruff. Coconut oil is extremely hydrating, so it will moisturize and nourish the dryness in the scalp, thereby reducing the appearance of those pesky white flakes. Plus, it also softens the hair. Organic coconut oil will yield the best results. To use this oil to treat dandruff, place a teaspoonful to your hands, and allow it to warm up until it becomes a liquid. Then, massage the liquid right into your scalp for about five minutes. You can either wash your hair right after application or allow the oil to sit overnight. For the best results, use this treatment twice a week.
3. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is drying, so it may not seem like the best solution for treating the dry, itchy scalp that is associated with dandruff. However, lemon juice contains antiseptic qualities, which is what makes it an effective treatment for combating dandruff. Before you take a shower, squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon directly onto your scalp and work it in. Let the juice sit for a few minutes and then rinse it out with cool water. If you allow the juice to sit on your hair, it will lighten it, especially if you go out in the sun after application. If combating dandruff and lightening your hair are two things you want to achieve, then you can certainly keep the lemon juice on your hair and allow it to dry in.
4. Neem oil
A vegetable-based oil, neem oil comes from the neem tree, which is an evergreen tree that is indigenous to India. The reason neem oil is an effective remedy for dandruff is that it is full of fatty acids, and fatty acids not only hydrate the scalp, but they soothe it, too. Use neem oil the same way that you would coconut or argan oils to treat dandruff. Apply it directly to your scalp and work it in. Let it sit on your scalp overnight (make sure to wear a shower cap to avoid damaging your sheets,) and wash your hair as you normally would in the morning. For the best results, use pure, organic neem oil, which you can find at a health food store or organic oil distributors.
Not many people have heard of fenugreek, but if you have dandruff, it is something that you are going to want to become familiar with. Fenugreek is an herb that is available for sale in seed form. The seeds of this herb contain several vitamins, as well as Nicoson, which have been found to offer soothing and hydrating properties, making it an ideal remedy for dandruff. For this treatment, grind a handful of fenugreek seeds. Mix the ground seeds together with a cup of Greek yogurt. Apply the mixture to your scalp and allow it to sit in place for about 20 minutes. Rinse the scalp mask out and then wash your hair like you normally would. Applying this treatment to your scalp twice a week will help to significantly reduce the appearance of those white flakes.
6. White vinegar
Dandruff is essentially the accumulation of dead skin cells that have shed from your scalp. White vinegar can be used to reduce the amount of flaking that is associated with dandruff. High in acetic acid, white vinegar will actually kill any fungus or bacteria on your scalp that may be contributing to dandruff. Apply a small bottle of white vinegar to your scalp in the shower and massage it in. Rinse and wash your hair to remove the vinegar odor, and to help remove those dead skin cells.
It may sound crazy, but Listerine can do more than just clean your mouth and freshen your breath; it can also help ease dandruff. The secret lies in the antiseptic ingredient found in this mouthwash, which can kill fungus or bacteria that may be causing dandruff. Mix together two parts water and one part Listerine in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto your scalp and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse your hair out and shampoo as normal. Do this three times a week and you should notice a dramatic difference in your dandruff.
8. Sulfate-free shampoos
Sulfates have been found to aggravate the skin, especially the skin of those who are affected by certain conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis. Unfortunately, sulfates are used in a lot of shampoos, so you may be contributing to the problem every time you wash your hair. Read the back of your shampoo bottle. If it contains sulfates, try switching to a sulfate-free shampoo. This may be just the trick for eliminating dandruff.
In many cases, dandruff is the result of dead skin cells that have collected on the scalp. A scrub can help get rid of those skin cells and thus reduce the appearance of dandruff. Mix together pure aloe vera gel and about a tablespoon of kosher salt to create a scalp scrub. Apply the scrub to your scalp and massage it in for a minimum of 5 minutes. Rinse your hair and wash it as normal. The scrub will exfoliate the scalp, which could reduce the flakes and irritation that is associated with dandruff. Use this approach twice a week for the best results.
10. Alcohol-free shampoo
Like sulfates, alcohol can irritate the scalp, which can cause the skin to dry out and flake off. Unfortunately, a lot of hair care products use at least one time of alcohol, though many contain several types. Look at the ingredients listed on all of your hair products, including shampoos, gels, mousse, and pomades. If you see ethanol, propanol, or SD alcohol listed, get rid of them! They’re probably causing your dandruff.