Dandruff can be one of the most difficult scalp conditions to get under control. Lots of shampoos promise flake free results within a few washes, but for some people, nothing seems to work. Specialized shampoos often contain strong chemicals which can further irritate your skin, and usually only target one cause of dandruff.
As it can be caused by several different factors, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis so you can treat it effectively. Take a look at this article to find out everything you need to know about dandruff and more than 40 effective ways to treat it.
What Is Dandruff?
First things first. Dandruff is a harmless - although irritating - condition that is not a sign of poor hygienic efforts (MedicalNewsToday).
Dandruff happens when there is excessive skin exfoliation on your scalp or other areas of your body. White flakes shed and slough off, often showing up on your collar or shoulders, especially when you’re wearing dark clothes (Medicinenet).
It is a completely normal process for your skin to exfoliate, but if you have dandruff it’s a sign that something’s not quite right. The visible white dusty flakes are fragments of the superficial stratum corneum, and there are several reasons why this might be happening.
The bad news is, dandruff isn’t something that can be completely cured. However, it can be controlled, and most cases will clear up with the use of specialized shampoos, natural remedies or a change in hair care routine.
Who Gets It?
Almost anyone can get dandruff, and it is a condition that affects most people at some point in their lives. Even babies can get it in their first few months of life. It is often referred to as “cradle cap”, and usually clears up on its own within the first year.
However, there are several factors that seem to make some people more susceptible to dandruff than others.
Age: Most cases of dandruff flare up during teenage years, and it has been linked to hormonal changes that occur during puberty. Also, many people notice their dandruff clears up after middle age.
Gender: As dandruff affects more men than women, experts believe there may be a link between excess skin cells, shedding, and male hormones.
Skin type: People who have oily hair or issues with greasy scalp tend to be more prone to dandruff, as this is what the yeast-like fungus called Malassezia feeds on, creating excess skin cells.
Health: People suffering from a compromised immune system or neurological disorders also tend to have increased dandruff flare-ups.
Diet: If your diet includes too many foods which are salty, sugary or spicy, or an excess of alcohol, this can also exacerbate dandruff (MedicalNewsToday).
What Causes Flaking?
There are two main reasons you might be suffering from dandruff. The first is due to an overproduction of skin cells, which is usually due to an inflammatory disease of the scalp (Medicinenet).
One of the most common causes is a condition known as seborrheic dermatitis, as well as psoriasis, fungal infections, and contact dermatitis.
The second is due to an ineffective removal of dead skin cells, which may be due to a hair care regime which doesn’t involve shampooing or brushing enough.
There are several other causes of dandruff, which I will go into detail in the next section.
How Is Dandruff Diagnosed?
Most cases of dandruff can be diagnosed and treated by primary care providers and nurse practitioners. If you have other symptoms such as a rash or red, itchy skin, you can also consult a dermatologist, as they are experts in skin diseases.
Usually, a simple scalp examination is sufficient to diagnose what’s causing your dandruff, but occasionally it’s necessary to perform a scalp biopsy to determine the root of the problem.
In this case, a small amount of skin is removed from your scalp under local anesthetic, which is then examined under a microscope to provide more details about the cause (MedicineNet).
It’s always a good idea to get a diagnosis before you take action to get rid of dandruff, as treatments have varying degrees of success depending on what’s causing your skin cells to flake and slough off.
Common Causes Of Dandruff
Although it seems hard to believe, the exact cause of dandruff is still unknown, which is why it can be so hard to treat.
Many people suffer from this problem, especially in Western Europe and North America. It is much more common in men than women, and many people find that it does improve as they get older.
Dandruff itself does not cause any symptoms, but rather is a manifestation of an inflammatory skin condition, a weakened immune system, sensitivity to yeast or fungus, poor diet or mental stress (MedicalNewsToday).
Dandruff Caused By An Illness
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
This is one of the most common causes of dandruff, and the scalp can look red and greasy and be covered in white or yellow scales.
Babies often get this a few months after they’re born, and is characterized by yellow, greasy scales which appear on the scalp. It usually clears up on its own before their first birthday.
It’s also common to see some flaking on other areas of the body where there are sebaceous glands, such as the eyebrows, behind the ears, around the nostrils, the mid back area, chest, and armpits (Patient).
If you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, it’s common to also have a red, itchy rash on other parts of your body. This condition may slow down hair growth, but doesn’t usually contribute to permanent hair loss.
It’s often difficult to determine the cause of seborrheic dermatitis, but it has been linked to the fungus Malassezia Furfur, which is naturally present on your scalp. It is not contagious and, contrary to popular belief, not an indication of a lack of cleanliness (Patient).
Dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis usually clears up within a few weeks when treated with anti-dandruff shampoos containing zinc pyrithione or coal tar, or by applying antifungal creams containing ketoconazole.
- Other Inflammatory Skin Diseases
As well as seborrheic dermatitis, there are other common skin conditions known to cause excessive shedding on the scalp area.
Examples are psoriasis, which causes the extra production of skin cells, tinea capitis, which is a fungal infection on the scalp, and eczema, when skin becomes inflamed or irritated (MedicineNet).
- Illness Or Weakened Immune System
People who have HIV or who are going through chemotherapy may be more prone to developing seborrheic dermatitis, and therefore dandruff.
It is believed to be linked to having a weakened immune system, and is also common in patients recovering from a stroke or heart attack(MedicalNewsToday).
Some neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease can also cause severe seborrhea and dandruff, but further research is needed to determine why.
Other Causes of Dandruff
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
If you’re allergic to certain agents used in hair or skin care products, you might have a reaction which can cause your scalp to be red, itchy and scaly.
Some of the most common ingredients in shampoos that can cause contact dermatitis on your scalp are; Sulfates, Alcohols, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (Kathon CG), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrances, Silicone and Petroleum Oils, Ethylene Glycol, etc…
It’s usually best to use natural remedies to treat dandruff caused by contact dermatitis, as anti-dandruff shampoos often contain agents which can further aggravate the allergy.
- Improper Hair Brushing
Not brushing your hair frequently enough may contribute to the appearance of dandruff. When you use a brush or a comb, it helps loosen dead skin cells on your scalp (StyleCraze).
If you’re not doing this enough, you won’t be aiding shedding of your skin, and flakes can accumulate on your scalp.
- Shampooing Too Little Or Too Often
Although this issue is a little controversial, it is thought that infrequent shampooing allows a buildup of oils and dead skin cells which can lead to dandruff. However, many experts disagree on this matter (MedicalNewsToday).
On the other hand, shampooing too often can also irritate and dry out your scalp, which can lead to itchiness and flaking. Your skin produces a natural substance called sebum, which it needs to keep your hair and scalp properly hydrated (MedicineNet).
Washing your hair on a daily basis can strip away these natural oils, and harsh detergents found in traditional shampoos can corrode hair follicles and further irritate your skin.
If you do require daily hair washes due to excessive sweating or exposure to dirt in the workplace, for instance, it’s best to use a gentle formula which is sulfate free to avoid drying out your skin.
- Sensitivity To Yeast Or Fungus
“Malassezia” is a yeast-like fungus which is naturally present on your scalp, and in most cases, goes unnoticed (MayoClinic).
For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, sometimes Malassezia begins to feed on the oils secreted by hair follicles, and your skin can become irritated and produces extra skin cells.
When these extra cells die and slough off, they mix with the oils on your scalp, and become what is known as dandruff.
Anti-dandruff shampoos usually contain an active ingredient with antifungal properties aimed to reduce Malassezia, and the excessive production of skin cells.
People who are sensitive to yeast often find that this condition is aggravated in winter but better in the summer. This could be due to the fact that UVA light from the sun counteracts yeast and reduces symptoms (MedicalNewsToday).
- Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, your scalp can feel itchy and flaky and you might automatically assume you have dandruff. However, dry scalp and dandruff are two separate issues (MedicalNewsToday).
If your skin is dry and peeling off, anti-dandruff shampoos may not be the right solution for you, as your skin will benefit more from extra moisture and gentle exfoliation rather than medicated products.
This condition often feels worse during winter, when the contrast between cold outside air and heated rooms and make your skin even drier.
If you have dry scalp, you will probably notice patches of very dry skin on other parts of your body too.
- Improper Diet
To keep your hair and scalp healthy, it’s important to include lots of nutrient-rich foods in your diet. Your skin needs a host of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to stay hydrated and promote new hair growth.
If your skin is undernourished, your scalp can feel dry and itchy and can be more prone to dandruff. Foods that contain zinc, B Vitamins, healthy fats and folic acid can all help improve your scalp’s health (MedicalNewsToday).
To increase the amount of zinc in your diet, you could try dishes containing chickpeas, lamb or yogurt. To include more Vitamin B, you could try eating more fish, whole cereals and eggs.
Folic acid is also essential in maintaining healthy skin, as it helps keep red blood cells healthy to deliver oxygen to your scalp. Foods rich in folic acid include lentils, avocado, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Mental Stress
Experts believe there is a link between stress and many kinds of skin problems such as dandruff (LiveStrong).
Although stress isn’t thought to be a direct cause of dandruff, people suffering from stress often have an impaired immune systems, which can make you more susceptible to dandruff.
As having dandruff can be an embarrassing problem which causes even more stress, it can be a difficult circle to break.
Myths About Dealing With Dandruff
Dandruff is one the most common scalp problems people have to deal with and it is a condition which is still not fully understood. One thing experts do agree on, though, is that it isn’t a sign of poor hygienic efforts, and that there are many different causes that require different treatments.
If you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, your skin and scalp might look dry. However, applying moisturizers will not help ease dandruff, and could redden your skin even more.
Traditional shampoos aren’t usually the direct cause of dandruff, so switching brands is unlikely to help unless you’re having an allergic reaction to your usual shampoo.
Antiperspirants aren’t the cause of dandruff that appears under your arms. If you notice this, it is more likely due to seborrheic dermatitis. Continued use of antiperspirants could aggravate the condition more, with your skin becoming red and irritated.
Because dandruff can be caused by many different issues, the way to treat it will vary greatly from person to person. Here are 40 different ways to get rid of dandruff, including home remedies, medicated shampoos and tweaks to your diet.
What you eat has a direct effect on your body’s well-being, and this extends to the health of your hair and skin. Including nutrient-rich foods in your diet can promote a healthier scalp and help fight against dandruff.
Green Leafy Vegetables
To keep your hair, skin and nails healthy, you should be eating plenty of leafy green vegetables. These provide essential nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber, which help maintain a good skin condition.
There is a huge variety to choose from, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli and romaine lettuce.
If you find it difficult to incorporate these foods into your daily meals, you could also use a juicer and mix them with other natural fruits and vegetables to make a nutritious drink.
Other nutrients you need to maintain a healthy scalp are B Vitamins and Zinc.
Lean protein provides both of these and studies show it can help your body process fatty acids and carbohydrates, repair skin tissues, encourage healthy hair follicles and regulate sebum production.
There are plenty of foods which are rich in zinc and Vitamin B, such as red meat, poultry, fish, chickpeas, beans and lentils.
A deficiency in Omega-3 can have a negative impact on your skin’s health and lead to issues such as dandruff, eczema, cracked heels and dry, unmanageable hair. Taking supplements such as krill or fish oil, walnut oil and flaxseed oil can help correct a fatty acid imbalance and reduce the reoccurrence of dandruff and dry scalp.
As we know, there are many reasons why the skin cells on your scalp might be dying and sloughing off. But whether it’s due to Malassezia feeding on excess oils or dry skin, the true root of the problem such as a nutritional deficiency is often overlooked.
Taking one or two capsules a day of Omega-3 supplements could provide a drastic improvement, especially in cases where nothing else seems to work.
The most common way of treating dandruff is to use an over the counter medicated shampoo. However, not all cases of dandruff can be treated the same way, and there are a variety of shampoos which contain different active ingredients designed to target the root of the problem.
3. Anti-Dandruff Shampoos
Many people choose the first anti-dandruff shampoo they come across, but as there are many causes of dandruff, it’s important to choose one aimed at your specific problem. Before deciding, you’ll need to know what’s triggered your dandruff, either with the diagnosis of a dermatologist or by carrying out your own research.
Most shampoos contain one active ingredient which can help get dandruff under control. To understand more about how they work, take a look at some of the most common ingredients used in anti-dandruff shampoos:
Selenium Sulfide: helps reduce the amount of oil secreted by your sebaceous glands, and also slows down the rate at which your skin cells die. This is a good option for you if you also suffer from greasy hair.
Zinc Pyrithione: has antibacterial and antifungal properties which help slow down the production of natural yeast on your scalp. This has proven to be effective for people suffering from dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis.
Ketoconazole: a strong, effective antifungal treatment which many people achieve positive results with, and is suitable for all ages.
Salicylic Acid: helps get rid of excess oil and skin cells on your scalp. This ingredient is often found in scalp scrubs, but continued use may dry out your skin and worsen flaking.
Coal Tar: this is a natural antifungal agent which helps reduce yeast production on your scalp. Shampoos containing coal tar are often quite pungent, and may not be a suitable option for color or chemically treated hair.
Tea Tree Oil: mild anti-dandruff shampoos usually contain tea tree oil, as it has natural antibiotic, antifungal and antiseptic properties which can treat various causes of dandruff and help your skin to heal.
Green Tea: contains polyphenols and antioxidants which provide antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and can help restore your skin’s metabolic equilibrium. Studies show shampoos containing green tea are a good alternative to anti-dandruff shampoos which contain strong chemicals.
If you find that natural remedies and medicated shampoos aren’t doing the trick, you could also try applying a medicated cream to your scalp. There are many available over the counter, and there are two common types:
4. Antifungal Creams
Antifungal creams help reduce yeast-like organisms which may be present on your scalp. They usually contain either 1% clotrimazole or 2% miconazole, and you can apply it once or twice a day.
5. Corticosteroid Creams
Corticosteroid creams help reduce any inflammation on your scalp so your skin can heal and can also reduce dry skin. There are weaker versions at 0.5% which you may want to use if you have sensitive skin, or stronger creams at 1% concentration.It’s best to apply this cream to your scalp after you’ve used an anti-dandruff shampoo and your hair is still damp.
Dandruff can be a particularly difficult problem to treat, even when you use an anti-dandruff shampoo. If you’re not having any success, try switching up your shampoo regime and see if you notice any improvements.
6. Rule of 3
So you’ve finally found a shampoo that actually works and gets rid of those annoying white flakes. And then all of a sudden, it stops working. This is quite a common problem and can happen when your body builds up a tolerance to the active ingredient in your favorite shampoo.
To combat this, it’s a good idea to select 3 anti-dandruff shampoos with different active ingredients and rotate them on a monthly basis. Once you have a flare-up under control, you should only need to use a medicated shampoo once a week and go back to your regular shampoo the rest of the time.
7. L.R.R. Rule
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Sounds simple? Not many of us bother to lather up a second time, but if you’re suffering from dandruff and using a medicated shampoo, this could be the difference between finding something that works and giving up and searching for yet another solution.
The first time you shampoo, you’ll be getting rid of excess oils, skin cells and daily grime. By repeating this process, you’ll be allowing your shampoo to do its job and penetrate your skin. It’s best to leave your shampoo on for at least 5 minutes before rinsing it out so you can get the best results.
8. Follow The Instructions
Once you’ve spent money on an anti-dandruff shampoo, it’s important to read the instructions and follow what they say. Some shampoos are suitable for daily use, whilst others aren’t. Similarly, some will need more time to penetrate your scalp, and not keeping it on long enough might lead you to believe it hasn’t worked properly.
Once you see positive results, you should be able to go back to your regular shampoo, and use a medicated product once or twice a week as a control method.
9. Shampoo More Often
This is only applicable if you have dandruff caused by a production of excess oils. Shampooing more often could help scrub away maturing skin cells, removing the layer of dead skin which sloughs off and causes itchiness. Removing this layer could also help reduce the growth of Malassezia fungus, but you should be careful not to overdry your scalp as this can also lead to flaking.
Prevention & Natural Treatments
As well as all the treatments I’ve mentioned above, there are a few other things you can do to try and keep dandruff at bay, such as altering your haircare routine and spending more time in the sun:
Some studies show that spending more time in the sun can help prevent dandruff. The exact reason isn’t known, but it may be due to a reduction of excess oils, UVA light counteracting yeast, or generally feeling less stressed. Whatever the reason, there’s no better excuse for a sunny holiday.
Try spending at least 15 minutes in the sun every day, but always use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
11. Use Less Styling Products
Small changes to your hair care routine could help reduce dandruff flare-ups. Using styling products such as gels, mousse, wax or hairspray can lead to a buildup of sebum, which then increases the chances of developing dandruff.
Although you probably won’t need to stop using them completely, try cutting down when you’re suffering from a bad case of dandruff.
Also, make sure you get rid of any product build-up when you wash your hair. You might want to consider lathering twice to make sure your shampoo can do its job and penetrate your skin cells once your scalp is clean.
12. Shave Your Head
This is a controversial option which many experts differ on. However, some of the benefits of shaving your head include exposing your skin to more air and sun, which should help renew your scalp, as well as sweating less which should reduce acid secretion and scalp irritation.
13. Don’t Scratch
However itchy your scalp gets, you should try not to scratch. Your fingernails can cause wounds and often worsen any irritation. If you do have any broken skin, it’s best not to use medicated shampoos until it’s healed. Instead, try a mild or sulfate free shampoo to avoid more itching.
14. Reduce Stress
Many studies show there is a link between stress and various dermatological problems such as acne, brittle nails, dandruff and hair loss.
When you’re feeling stressed, your body produces a stress hormone called “cortisol” which can cause an increase in oil production. As the fungus which causes dandruff feeds on excess oils on the scalp, it’s easy to see how stress could trigger a dandruff flare-up.
Experts also believe that during times of stress your skin’s ability to repair itself after injury reduces, so problems with scalp irritation and skin abrasions could take longer to heal (MedicalNewsToday).
As dandruff is an embarrassing problem which can cause you even more worries, it’s important to practice stress management to reduce anxiety and help you feel more relaxed. Many people find that meditation, yoga and cardiovascular exercise often help in reducing stress.
Natural Home Remedies
Sometimes, the solution to an irritating skin problem can be found in natural products which you already have in your kitchen. Home remedies can sometimes take longer to show results than other methods, but they are usually kinder to your skin and effective in the long run.
Aspirin contains a large percentage of salicylic acid, which is the same active ingredient found in many anti-dandruff shampoos.
It has antifungal and antimicrobial properties, which fight against the yeast-like fungus which is one of the leading causes of dandruff. This treatment can also help reduce skin inflammation in more severe cases of dandruff.
You will need:
2 aspirin tablets
Your regular shampoo
Crush the tablets into a fine powder. You can do this by placing them between a thin cloth or napkin, and use a hammer or cast iron pot to break them up. You can also place them under a heavy bottomed glass and grind the tablets into a powder.
Add the powder to the amount of shampoo you usually use to wash your hair. Massage it into your scalp for a few minutes, and then thoroughly rinse out. You can wash your hair a second time to make sure there is no powder left.
YouTube Video: Using Aspirin To Treat Dandruff
Using apple cider vinegar is a great way to treat dandruff naturally. The acidity changes the pH balance of your scalp, making it harder for Malassezia fungus to grow and feed on excess oils.
You will need:
¼ Cup apple cider vinegar
¼ Cup water
Spray bottle (optional)
There are two ways you can apply this mixture.
The first is to mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and place into a spray bottle. Spritz your scalp, making sure the mixture is distributed evenly. Then wrap your head in a towel, and wait 15 minutes to an hour. Then wash your hair as usual.
The second is to wash your hair first, and then carefully pour the mixture over your head and massage into your scalp. Try to avoid getting it in your eyes, as it can sting. Any unhealed scratches or irritated skin might burn a little.
If this happens, it’s best to wash the mixture out. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse with water. Once your hair is dry, the vinegar smell will disappear.
YouTube Video: Using Apple Cider Vinegar To Treat Dandruff
The high content of acetic acid in white vinegar can help prevent the growth of fungi and kill bacteria, and can also help relieve itching. It can reduce flakes on the scalp, as well treat dry skin and other causes of dandruff.
You will need:
½ Cup of vinegar
2 Cups of water
Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. Carefully pour the mixture over your head, and massage your scalp for a few minutes. Then thoroughly rinse it out with cool water.
17. Baking Powder
Baking powder is often used in natural home remedies, as it is a multitasking agent which is very easy to find. Rubbing it into your scalp acts as a mild exfoliator, and helps remove dead skin cells and absorbs excess oils.
It can also reduce the yeast-like fungus that feeds on oils and creates an overproduction of skin cells, and helps remove loose flakes which can get stuck in your hair.
You will need:
1 tbsp of baking powder
1 Cup of warm water
You can use an old (clean) shampoo bottle to mix the baking powder and water, and shake well. Use this mixture to wash your hair instead of shampoo, and massage your scalp for a few minutes to improve blood circulation.
Initially, your hair and skin might feel slightly dry. But after a few weeks, your scalp will start to restore its natural oils, giving you smooth hair and flake free results.
Alternatively, you can wet your hair, and rub a handful of baking powder straight onto your scalp. Then rinse it out using water, and avoid using shampoo straight after this method.
Baking Powder and Lemon Juice
Mix 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of baking powder. Apply the paste all over your scalp, and leave it on for 10 minutes, or until your skin starts to itch. The rinse thoroughly with warm water.(wikihow)
Baking Powder and Vinegar
Mix 25ml of white vinegar with 25ml malt vinegar, then add 50ml of water. Apply this mixture to damp hair, working it into your scalp to help get rid of dead skin cells. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes.
It is normal to feel a slight stinging sensation. Then rinse your hair with cool water.
Next, mix a tablespoon of baking powder with 50ml of water, and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for 3 to 5 minutes, and then rinse your hair again with cool water.(wikihow)
Listerine was created in 1879 and originally used as a surgical antiseptic for dentists, so you can see why it can be a good method for fighting fungi on your scalp.
You will need:
1 tbsp of alcohol-based mouthwash
9 tbsp of water
Wash your hair with your regular shampoo, and then rinse it with the mouthwash mixture. Some sites recommend you leave the mixture in and style your hair as usual, whilst others suggest you can use your normal conditioner afterward, and then rinse your hair with water.
You can do this once a month to keep dandruff at bay.
The acidity in lemons can help balance your scalp’s pH and break down the fungus which often causes dandruff. It has the added benefit of leaving your hair with a citrusy fresh scent and means you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals which can further irritate your skin.
You will need:
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Cup of water
Massage 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into to your scalp. The longer you leave it on, the more time it has to fight against yeast and fungus. Then add a teaspoon of lemon juice to a cup of water, and use this mixture to rinse your hair out.
You can wash your hair as usual, and repeat this daily until your dandruff starts to disappear.
YouTube Video: Using Lemon To Treat Dandruff
Garlic has natural antimicrobial properties which help fight the bacteria and fungus which can lead to dandruff. To avoid a pungent garlic smell following you around all day, you can mix the garlic with a touch of honey.
You will need:
A few cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of honey
Crush the garlic cloves and mix with a tablespoon of honey. You want to achieve a smooth paste so it’s easier to spread evenly. Rub it into your scalp, and leave the mixture on for about 15 minutes.
Then wash your hair as usual, making sure you thoroughly rinse it out.
21. Neem Leaves
Neem leaves are a medicinal herb which have been used in traditional remedies for centuries. They have natural antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can help inhibit the growth of dandruff-causing fungus.
You will need:
A few dried neem leaves, or 2 or 3 neem capsules
4 tbsp of olive oil
If you’re using dried neem leaves, crush them into a powder and mix with the olive oil. If you’re using capsules, remove the outer cover, and mix the coarse powder with the olive oil.
Apply the paste all over your scalp. You might feel a slight itching sensation, which is normal. You can leave the mixture on for an hour or overnight, and then wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. You can repeat this process as much as you need.
You can also make a rinse instead of a paste. Add two handfuls of neem leaves to hot water and let the mixture stand overnight. Strain the water and use the liquid to rinse your hair, massaging it into your scalp. Then shampoo your hair as usual. (Everydayroots)
YouTube Video: Using Neem Leaves To Treat Dandruff
Massaging it into your scalp can be quite a pleasant sensation during a bout of itchiness.
You will need:
2 or 3 tbsp of table salt
Gently massage the salt into your scalp when it’s dry or slightly damp. The aim is to loosen dry, flaky skin so your shampoo can do a better job of removing it. After 2 or 3 minutes, wash your hair as usual.
Aloe vera has many varied uses from healing burns to cooling irritated skin. It has natural antibacterial and fungicidal properties, which can help stem the growth of Malassezia.
You will need:
Natural aloe vera gel (available in bottles)
Massage some aloe vera gel into your scalp about 15 minutes before washing your hair. Then shampoo and condition as usual. You can repeat this as many times as you need.
YouTube Video: Using Aloe Vera To Treat Dandruff
It is rich in protein and amino acids, which can help promote a healthier scalp and reduce flaking. It has the added plus of containing lecithin, a natural emollient which can strengthen hair and make it feel smooth and soft.
You will need:
2 tbsp Fenugreek seeds
1 or 2 Cups of water
Pestle and mortar
Soak the seeds in water overnight, then drain the liquid and grind the seeds into a fine paste. Apply the mixture all over your scalp, and leave it on for 30 to 45 minutes. Then you can either wash your hair as usual, or rinse it out with water.
YouTube Video: Using Fenugreek To Treat Dandruff
25. Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s Earth is a type of clay which contains minerals such as magnesium, quartz and iron, and is usually available in powdered form.
It is often used in skincare products as it is a natural absorbentthat helps remove excess oil, grease and dirt.
It can also help unclog pores and improve blood circulation, and balances the pH levels of your scalp. It provides a cooling effect, and can help fight dandruff by improving the overall health of your skin.
You will need:
1 Cup fuller’s earth
3 tbsp of lemon juice
Mix the fuller’s earth with enough water to achieve a smooth paste, then add the lemon juice. Apply the mixture all over your scalp and massage for a few minutes so your skin can absorb the nutrients. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse your hair with water.
Natural yogurt is a great source of friendly bacteria. Including plenty of it in your diet can help keep your hair nourished, as well as reducing the amount of yeast your body produces.
When applied topically, yogurt can also be effective in fighting the naturally occurring yeast most people have on their scalp, which in some cases can trigger dandruff.
You will need:
1 Cup of plain yogurt
Shampoo your hair as usual and rinse thoroughly. Apply the yogurt all over your scalp and wait 15 to 20 minutes. Then wash your hair again, using as little shampoo as possible.
Lemon Juice and Curd
You can also squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a bowl of curd and massage the mixture into your scalp. You can use the lemon peel to gently exfoliate your skin. The added citric acid helps to break down dandruff flakes and has natural antimicrobial properties.
Leave it on for about 10 minutes, then wash your hair as usual, making sure you rinse all the mixture out.
YouTube Video: Using Yogurt To Treat Dandruff
Eggs are a great source of biotin, which can help condition your hair and treat causes of dandruff. They can also infuse hair with protein to make it healthier and stronger.
You will need:
1 or 2 egg yolks
A plastic bag or shower cap
Mix the egg yolks in a bowl and apply the mixture to your scalp whilst your hair is dry. Cover your head with a plastic bag or shower cap, leave it on for about an hour, then wash your hair thoroughly. You might have to shampoo twice to get rid of the eggy odor.
YouTube Video: Using Egg To Treat Dandruff
28. Apple Juice
Apples contain procyanidin B-2, which is a natural compound that has been found to help promote healthier hair growth. As dandruff can cause hair follicles to become blocked, it can sometimes lead to hair loss.
Improving the overall health of your scalp can help stimulate new hair growth and reduce the appearance of flakes.
You will need:
2 tbsp of apple juice
Mix the apple juice with an equal amount of water. Apply the mixture all over your scalp and massage for a few minutes. Then wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. You can repeat this process as many times as you like.
29. Green Tea
A strong brew of green tea contains polyphenols and antioxidantswhich can help restore your scalp’s health. It also has natural antifungal properties which can help fight Malassezia, the yeast-like fungus which causes dandruff by feeding on excess oils.
You will need:
2 green tea bags
For this purpose, the stronger you brew the tea, the better. Place the tea bags in boiling water and steep for at least 20 minutes. Once the liquid is cool enough, apply it all over your scalp and massage for a few minutes to improve blood circulation. Then rinse your hair with water.
30. Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel is a compound derived from the leaves and bark of the North American witch-hazel shrub and is usually available in liquid form.
It has many medicinal properties, and has natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and astringent uses. It can help reduce the fungus which causes dandruff, relieve itching, and heal minor skin irritations.
You will need:
½ Cup of witch hazel
½ Cup of water
Combine equal measures of witch hazel and water, and pour into a spray bottle. Spray it liberally over your hair and scalp, and gently massage using the tips of your fingers. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
31. Orange Peel
The acidic properties in orange peel can help reduce excess oils and tone your scalp. It also has a high concentration of vitamins, minerals and nutrients which condition your skin and improve its overall health.
You will need:
A few pieces of dry orange peel
6 tbsp of lemon juice
Place the orange peel and lemon juice in a food processor and mix until you have a smooth paste. Apply it all over your scalp and massage gently so your skin can absorb the nutrients. Leave the paste on for 30 minutes and then wash your hair as usual.
You can repeat this two or three times a week for best results.
Banana is an excellent source of Vitamin B which is known to improve blood circulation, and contains a variety of minerals and natural oils which are extremely beneficial for your hair and skin.
Massaging it into your scalp also works as a natural exfoliator and will loosen dead skin cells to promote healthier hair growth.
You will need:
2 Cups of apple cider vinegar
Mix the banana and apple cider vinegar in a blender to make a smooth paste. Apply it all over your hair and massage into your scalp for about 5 minutes. This is so your skin can benefit from the nutrients, as well as to loosen flakes.
Leave the mixture on for another 20 minutes and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo. You can repeat this everyday before washing your hair to get rid of a dandruff flare up and then reduce it to once a week as a preventative measure.
The dried leaves of henna can be used to treat scalp conditions such as dandruff.
It binds to the keratin in hair fibers and forms a protective layer which can help relieve a variety of scalp irritations.
The natural antibacterial, antifungal and astringent properties of henna can help reduce the naturally-occurring yeast which causes dandruff and keep your hair and scalp clean and healthy.
Henna is also used to hide gray strands and color hair naturally, as it is formed of active compounds such as tannic and gallic acids which have a dyeing effect.
You will need:
1 tsp of henna
1 tsp of amla powder
1 tsp of tea powder
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of coconut oil
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make a paste. Apply the mixture all over your scalp, making sure your skin in saturated. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash your hair with a gentle shampoo.
You can repeat this once every two weeks to condition your hair and keep dandruff at bay.
34. Basil & Amla Powder
Basil leaves are often used in home remedies. They have natural healing, antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help keep your scalp healthy and balanced, and can also provide some relief to itchy, irritated skin.
Amla powder is derived from the Indian gooseberry and helps nourish your hair and scalp, as well as strengthening your strands and adding shine. This is a good combination to tackle dandruff and promote new hair growth.
You will need:
A few basil leaves
2 tsp of amla powder
Mix the ingredients in a blender, adding just enough water to create a smooth paste. Apply it all over your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes. Then rinse your hair with cool water.
Honey has many therapeutic effects and is packed with Vitamins A, C, D, and E, minerals, beta-carotene and many other nutrients.
It also has natural antimicrobial properties and can help relieve itching.
Studies show that applying honey on your scalp can help reduce scaling and heal skin lesions, even for people suffering from dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis.
This treatment also includes coconut oil, olive oil and yogurt, which helps to soften flakes and reduce the yeast-like fungus which causes dandruff.
You will need:
2 tsp of honey
2 tsp of coconut oil
2 tsp of olive oil
3 tsp of natural yogurt
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to create a paste. You might need to add a little more honey or yogurt to get a medium consistency which is not too runny. Massage the mixture into your scalp for about 10 minutes to improve blood circulation, and then smooth the paste from your roots right down to the tips of your hair.
Leave it on for 30 to 45 minutes. If you apply the mixture in a steamy environment such as whilst in the bathtub, you can lessen the time to 20 minutes. Then wash your hair with a mild shampoo, making sure there is no residue left behind.
YouTube Video: Using Honey To Treat Dandruff
36. Ginger & Sesame Oil
Ginger has a long list of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatoryand antiseptic properties and helps increase blood flow to the scalp. This, in turn, stimulates your hair follicles and encourages new hair growth.
You will need:
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 oz of sesame oil
Squeeze the grated ginger to release the juice. You can do this by placing it in some cheesecloth or just squeezing the ginger in your hand. Mix the juice and sesame oil and apply the mixture all over your scalp.
Massage it in for a few minutes, wait a little while, then wash your hair as usual. To get the best results, repeat this process three times a week until your dandruff starts to clear up.
37. Barberry and Rosemary
This herbal mixture can be used to create a rinse to help fight dandruff. Canadian Barberry has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, which helps to reduce Malassezia fungus.
Rosemary is also effective in destroying bacteria and fungi.
You will need:
1 tsp of chopped barberry root
1 tsp of chopped rosemary
1 Cup of boiling water
Place the herbs in a cup of boiling water, steep for 20 minutes and then strain. Once the mixture is cool, pour it over your hair. You can massage your scalp for a few minutes to make sure your skin is covered. Then wash your hair as usual.
You can repeat this process daily, but stop if your skin starts feel irritated.
Oils & Essential Oils
Certain oils can be used to treat dandruff, as they help loosen skin flakes and make them easier to wash out when you shampoo your hair.
38. Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood oil has many therapeutic properties and can be used as a natural antiseptic, mild-astringent and fungicide. Its anti-seborrheic features also make it the perfect ingredient to help fight the yeast which causes dandruff.
Applying cedarwood oil to your scalp can also help reduce excess oils and relieve itchiness.
You will need:
7 drops of cedarwood oil
10 drops of cypress oil
10 drops of juniper oil
50ml of carrier oil, such as olive, almond or coconut
Combine the oils in a bowl and rub the mixture into your scalp. Leave it on for an hour, and then wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. Make sure to thoroughly rinse your hair so no residue is left behind.
39. Baby Oil
The yeast which causes dandruff feeds on excess oils on the scalp and creates extra skin cells which die and slough off. As baby oil does not contain fats that yeast feeds on, it can be an effective way of conditioning the scalp and eliminating dandruff.
This method is usually more suitable for dandruff caused by dry skin.
You will need:
Rub some baby oil between your palms and massage it into your scalp. Wrap your hair in a towel and leave the oil on overnight. In the morning, wash your hair as usual. You might have to shampoo twice to get rid of all the oil.
YouTube: Treating Dandruff With Baby Oil
40. Lavender Oil
Lavender is often used in natural anti-dandruff shampoos, as it has antifungal properties and helps soothe and calm irritated skin.
You can mix lavender essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice
You will need:
10 to 12 drops of lavender essential oil
2 tbsp of olive, almond or coconut oil
Combine the oils in a bowl and apply the mixture all over your scalp. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash your hair as usual.
41. Rosemary Oil
Applying rosemary oil to your scalp can help improve blood circulation and promote new hair growth. It can also restore dry, flaky skin, reducing the appearance of dandruff.
You will need:
10 drops of rosemary essential oil
2 tbsp of either almond, coconut or olive oil
A hot towel
Combine the oils in a bowl and apply the mixture all over your scalp. Massage with the tips of your fingers for a few minutes and then wrap your head in a hot towel. When the towel has cooled down, wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
42. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has natural antifungal properties and can help eliminate the yeast-like fungus which causes dandruff.
You will need:
3 or 4 drops of oregano oil
1 tbsp of regular shampoo
Add a few drops of oregano oil to a tablespoon of shampoo. If you use more shampoo, slightly increase the amount of oil. Wash your hair as usual and repeat this process until you notice a reduction in flakes.
43. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is obtained from the seeds of the jojoba plant and is used in many shampoos and conditioners due to its healing and conditioning properties.
Applying this oil on your scalp can be beneficial if you have dry, flaky skin.
You will need:
2 or 3 tbsp of jojoba oil
Warm the oil by rubbing your palms together and apply it all over your scalp whilst your hair is wet. Massage it in for a few minutes to loosen dead skin cells and let your skin absorb the nutrients. Then wash your hair usual, but you shouldn’t need to use conditioner as the oil nourishes your hair as well as your scalp.
44. Castor Oil
Castor oil is made by pressing the seeds of the castor plant, and is often used in home remedies as it is a vegetable oil with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
You will need:
3 or 4 tbsp of castor oil
Rub your palms together to warm up the oil and apply it all over your scalp. Massage for a few minutes using the tips of your fingers and then leave it on overnight. In the morning, wash your hair as usual.
If you feel any skin irritation, you can dilute the castor oil with coconut or olive oil.
YouTube Video: Using Essential Oils To Treat Dandruff
45. Egg Oil (Eyova)
Eyova is an oil derived from the yolk of chicken eggs. It contains bioactive components, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. It can reduce itchiness and scalp irritation by fighting free radicals and helps strengthen hair follicles.
It is considered to be a potent hair nutrient which can help reduce dandruff and hydrate your scalp, and leaves hair feeling soft and shiny.
You will need:
A few drops of eyova
Massage a few drops of egg oil into your scalp and leave it on overnight. Eyova is a good alternative to using egg yolks, as it is less messy and doesn’t smell like raw egg. In the morning, wash your hair as usual.
Continue this treatment 2 or 3 times a week for at least 12 weeks to get rid of dandruff, and then use it once is a while to nourish hair cell membranes.
46. Olive Oil
The rich moisturizing properties of extra virgin olive oil make it an ideal home remedy for treating dandruff. Massaging it gently into your scalp helps loosen scales and removes larger flakes without breaking them up.
It’s easily absorbed by your skin and infuses with Vitamins A and E to help your scalp heal.
You will need:
Extra virgin olive oil
Hot towel or shower cap
Slightly warm some olive in a pan and massage it into your scalp to soften any flakes. Then wrap your head in a warm towel (or use a shower cap), and leave it on for at least 45 minutes. You could also leave it on overnight. Then wash and condition your hair as usual.
You can repeat this a few times a week to keep your scalp healthy and hydrated.
YouTube Video: Using Olive Oil To Treat Dandruff
47. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one the best multitasking natural hair and skincare products. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties and effectively penetrates the skin to deliver medium-chain fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
It also relieves itching and helps heal irritated skin and other scalp infections.You will need:Coconut oilDirections:Wash your as usual, but it’s best not to use any conditioner. Once it’s dry, massage some coconut oil into your scalp and leave it on for a few minutes. Then wash your hair again to remove the oil.
Coconut Oil & Lemon Juice
Mix 1 part fresh lemon juice with 5 parts coconut oil. Apply it all over your scalp, wait 30 minutes and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo. The acidity from the lemon juice helps balance your scalp’s pH levels to keep dandruff at bay.
YouTube Video: Using Coconut Oil To Treat Dandruff
48. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is often used as an anti-dandruff treatment, as it has a wide variety of medicinal properties such as antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
Applying it to your scalp can help soothe itchy, irritated skin and helps fight Malassezia, the yeast which feeds on excess oils and is one of the leading causes of dandruff.
You will need:
Tea tree oil
The easiest way to incorporate tea tree oil into your hair care regime is to mix a few drops with a handful of shampoo before washing your hair. You don’t need to use much, about 1 drop per ounce of shampoo. Wash your hair as usual, taking a few extra minutes to massage your scalp, and then rinse thoroughly.
Tea Tree Oil Spray
You can also mix a tablespoon of tea tree oil in a cup of warm water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. After shampooing, spray the liquid all over your scalp, and towel dry after a few minutes. You don’t need to wash it out, as the oil effectively penetrates the skin.
YouTube Video: Using Tea Tree Oil To Treat Dandruff