Dandruff is caused when a fungus called Malassezia grows on your scalp. This results in shedding of the scalp skin. There are two types of dandruff – one occurs due to the dryness of the scalp, while the other occurs due to the excessive production of oil on the scalp.
Some of the known causes of dandruff are:
- Improper and irregular brushing of hair
- Infrequent shampooing
- Improper diet
- Stress and certain illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis
Dandruff can be controlled by following a healthy hair care routine. You can also try some simple natural home remedies. It is true that natural remedies take time to show results but they can effectively treat the problem completely.
Here are some home remedies for dandruff —
Neem — The antifungal and antibacterial properties of neem, help treat dandruff as well as many other hair problems like scalp acne, itchy scalp, and hair fall efficiently.
- Boil a handful of neem leaves in four cups of water.
- Cool and strain the solution.
- Use this decoction as a hair rinse two or three times a week.
Coconut Oil — Coconut oil helps eliminate dandruff due to its antifungal properties. It also moisturizes dry scalp and provides relief from itching.
- Take some coconut oil and mix half the amount of lemon juice in it.
- Rub it on your scalp and massage for a few minutes.
- Wash your hair after at least 20 minutes.
- Follow this remedy two to three times a week.
Apple cider Vinegar — Scalp treatment with apple cider vinegar is effective in getting rid of dandruff. It restores the pH balance of the scalp, thereby inhibiting the growth of yeast. It also works as a natural hair clarifier and helps clean clogged pores and hair follicles.
• Take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
• Mix an equal amount of water and 15-20 drops of tea tree oil in it.
• Apply it onto your scalp and massage. Rinse your hair after a few minutes.
• Follow this natural treatment two or three times a week.
Baking Soda — Being a mild exfoliant, baking soda helps remove dead skin cells. It can also help balance pH levels on the scalp and reduce the growth of fungi that cause dandruff.
- Wet your hair and rub a handful of baking soda onto your scalp.
- After a couple of minutes, rinse your hair well with warm water.
- Repeat once or twice a week for a few weeks.
Olive oil — Scalp dryness can be cured with regular use of extra-virgin olive oil, an effective natural moisturizer.
- Heat some extra virgin olive oil until it is slightly warm.
- Massage it onto your scalp and then wrap your hair in a warm towel.
- Leave it on for at least 45 minutes or overnight and then shampoo and condition your hair.
- Repeat this remedy a few times a week.
Lemon Juice — Lemon juice contains acids that fight the fungi that can cause dandruff. It also helps relieve itching of the scalp.
- Mix the juice of half a lemon in one-quarter cup of plain yogurt. Apply it on your hair and scalp. Leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off and shampooing your hair.
- Alternatively, you can simply massage your scalp with a few teaspoons of lemon juice mixed with a little water. Leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing it out and shampooing your hair.
Fenugreek seeds — The herb fenugreek has antifungal and soothing properties that can help control dandruff to a great extent.
- Soak two to three tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. In the morning, grind them into a fine paste. You can also add a few teaspoons of plain yogurt to it.
- Apply the paste all over your scalp and leave it in for a few hours.
- Rinse it out and shampoo your hair.
- Do this once or twice a week.
Yogurt — The yeast within our bodies triggers inflammation. This results in the build-up of yeast on the skin. Boosting the friendly bacteria inside our digestive systems can reduce the yeast within our bodies. Yogurt is one of the best sources of friendly bacteria, and it prevents scaling of the scalp. Since it is a good source of probiotics, it could be one of the ideal remedies for dandruff
- Shampoo your hair and rinse.
- Apply the yogurt to your scalp and leave it on for about 15 minutes.
- Rinse your hair, and wash again using a small amount of shampoo.
Multani Mitti — Multani Mitti absorbs the oil, grease, and dirt – all of which cause dandruff. It also improves blood circulation to the scalp, thereby keeping it clean and dandruff-free
- Mix the Multani mitti with enough water till you get a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice.
- Apply the mixture to your scalp.
- Leave it on for about 20 minutes, after which you can wash it off with water.
Garlic — Garlic has excellent antifungal properties that can eliminate the microbes that cause dandruff
- Crush the garlic cloves and mix it with honey till you get a smooth paste.
- Massage this paste into your scalp and leave it on for about 15 minutes.
- Shampoo your hair as usual.
Salt — The abrasive nature of table salt plays a significant role in scrubbing off the dandruff flakes before you shampoo your hair.
- Rub the salt onto your scalp (ensure your scalp is dry when you do this).
- Work the salt through your hair, giving your scalp a good massage.
- Do this for about 10 minutes, or until you have worked out the dry and flaky skin.
- Shampoo your hair as usual.
Aloe vera — Aloe vera has natural antibacterial and fungicidal properties. It also has proteolytic enzyme characteristics, which means it can break down proteins, including dead skin cells. This quality of aloe vera makes it act as an exfoliant and removes the dead skin so that it doesn’t appear later as dandruff
- Collect the aloe vera gel that is directly obtained from the plant and apply it on your scalp.
- Leave it on for about 15 minutes, and then rinse using a mild shampoo.
- Peel the ginger and grate it. Squeeze it in a cloth to get the juice.
- Mix the ginger juice and sesame oil.
- Massage your scalp gently with the mixture.
- Leave it on for some time, and then wash it with a mild shampoo.
Henna — The dried leaves of henna are extensively used in treating many hair conditions, including dandruff. The active constituents of henna like tannic and gallic acids, lawsone, and mucilage play a major role in its dyeing effect. Henna has the ability to bind to the keratin in the hair, which creates a protective layer and relieves scalp irritation. It also reduces oiliness of the scalp and acts as a conditioner. This property of henna helps reduce dandruff.
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of henna, amla powder,tea powder,lemon juice, hair oil (preferably coconut oil)
- Apply the paste thoroughly to the scalp and leave it on for a few minutes.
- Wash with a mild shampoo.
Castor Oil — Ricinoleic acid and ricin present in castor oil have antimicrobial properties that treat scalp infections such as dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Castor oil is also a humectant and keeps both the scalp and the hair moisturized. You can get rid of dandruff and get silky, shiny hair with this remedy.
- Lightly warm up the oil and apply it on your scalp and hair.
- Massage your scalp for a couple of minutes so that the oil gets absorbed easily.
- Leave it on overnight and rinse your hair as usual in the morning.
Green Tea — Green tea catechins have antifungal properties. Its polyphenols are antioxidants that can help restore the health of your scalp
- Steep the green tea for about 20 minutes and let the decoction cool down.
- Apply this on your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with water.
Tips to prevent Dandruff —
- Use the Right Shampoo — Having a clean scalp and hair is important to prevent dandruff. There are many anti-dandruff shampoos that work wonders. It is best to choose something mild unless your case is severe. You need to prevent the accumulation of dead cells, and the best way to do this is to keep your hair and scalp immaculately clean.
- Hair Brushing — Brushing out an oily, dandruff-affected scalp before a hair wash can also help reduce dandruff.
- Adequate Rest — Lack of proper sleep and stress can increase the chances of dandruff.
- Travelling — Ensure you always cover your hair while traveling. This will help reduce the risk of dandruff as your hair will not be exposed to the harsh, polluted environment.
- Swimming — While swimming, make sure you oil your hair and wear a shower cap. This will help reduce the risk of chlorine in the water spoiling your hair.
- Sunrays — Do not expose your hair to the harsh sun rays, especially because the harmful UVA and UVB rays can dry the hair out.
- Chemicals — Make sure you use herbal products to remove dandruff as most products available in the market contain harmful parabens, sulfates, and silicone. Look out for ingredients such as ZPT and Pro-V Complex – these help reduce dandruff to a great extent.
- Other Points to Remember —
• Never share your combs and hair brushes. Clean them regularly and keep them in a neat and tidy place.
• Unhygienic living conditions, hormonal imbalances, and a few other factors, such as sharing combs and lack of hair maintenance, can also cause dandruff.
• If you see the first symptoms of dandruff, use a dandruff relief shampoo and conditioner immediately. Switch over to different shampoos to see what suits you best.
• Also, if you generally use a hair dryer to dry your hair, ensure you do it on a low setting. Applying too much heat directly to your scalp can damage the hair root
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.