Almost everyone suffers from dandruff at one point or another in their lives.
If you’re a frequent victim of this scalp disorder, you’re not alone. If you have been a frequent victim of dandruff problems, you will know how annoying, frustrating, and embarrassing it can be.
Before we jump straight into how you can get rid of those annoying flakes, you should first learn what dandruff is and understand why your scalp is shedding excessive dead skin cells.
What Is Dandruff?
First of all, the medical term for dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. When left untreated, this scalp scaling disorder may cause hair fall, acne, premature graying of hair. Did you know that your body has been shedding its skin cells all the time as a way to rejuvenate itself?
In fact, for every 28 days, your body has replaced all its skin, including the skin of your scalp. Although the shedding of skin cells is a normal process, accelerated or excessive shedding of skin can be problematic. This is especially true when you have dandruff flakes all over your hair, which can be very embarrassing when you want to look your best…
One of the main reasons why these dandruff flakes become so noticeable and frequent is because of the presence of a yeast-like fungus called malassezia. You might be tempted to think badly of this fungus and perhaps want to eliminate them completely from your scalp. Believe it or not, they exist even on the healthiest human heads so removing them completely may not be wise or even possible.
Nevertheless, malassezia is quite harmless when it is under control–when your scalp is in the right chemical balance. When it grows out of control, it usually means your scalp has loses its chemical balance and thus shedding skin cells at an abnormal rate. The result is, as you’ve guessed it–oily, inflamed and itchy scalp followed by dandruff flakes.
Where Does It Come From?
As mentioned before, malassezia exists even on the healthiest human scalp. So where do they get their food from? Well, this may sound gross but they feed on the fatty oil secreted by your hair follicles…
When the chemical balance of your scalp is out of whack, you’re basically feeding them with too much food (oil). When they have an excessive amount of oil to feed on, they will reproduce like mad and you can see where this is all leading to…
Having too many dead skin cells shedding can also be problematic when they get mixed with the oil secreted by the hair follicles. The effect of this problem can be seen clearly with the greasy clumps that get stuck in your hair.
In a healthy scalp, dead skin cells will float away quickly because the scalp is hardly oily. Although there are many other causes for dandruff, oily scalp is considered to be one of the most common causes for a lot of dandruff problems.
If anti-dandruff shampoo doesn’t work for you, you’re not alone. Whether you’re looking for a natural (better) way to treat your scalp or you want to try something new to relieve scalp itchiness, you will find the home remedies below most useful.
Best of all, these ingredients are inexpensive and they are definitely much gentler (safer) on the scalp than the harsh chemicals used in certain commercial shampoos. If a remedy doesn’t work for you, try another one. Everyone is different; experiment around until you discover a few remedies that work best for you.
23 Home Remedies You Should Try
Yogurt: Believe it or not, yogurt is great for reducing scaling and it is perfectly ok to apply it on your scalp. First of all, fill a cup full of yogurt and mix in 2 tablespoons of black pepper powder. Blend well. Apply this mixture on your scalp and let it rest for about an hour. Rinse with a mild shampoo.
Olive oil: Olive oil has many therapeutic uses and one of them is to moisturize the scalp. Before you start applying olive oil all over your scalp, you need to warm it up slightly first. Make sure the oil is not too hot though!
After that, put some of the warm olive oil in your hand and apply it to the affected area of your scalp in circular motions. The best time to do this is right before you go to bed. Be sure to wash it out with a mild shampoo next morning. Also, you could try any of these oils for hair growth, as they complement each other well.
Lemon juice: Squeeze 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and mix it with 5 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply this mixture on the affected scalp to clear away the flakes.
Let the mixture remain on your scalp for at least one hour before showering. Some people say that the acidity of lemon juice can cause hair graying but this is not really true because it can only lighten your hair.
Unless you’re allergic to lemon, lemon juice is harmless in most cases. When used alone, lemon juice can be very drying. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can substitute it with olive oil. The oil is needed as it will help your scalp to stay moisturized.
Lime: Just like lemon juice, the acidity of lime juice can not only bring your scalp back into chemical balance but also help make your hair shine and less sticky. It is highly recommended that you use fresh organic lime for the best result. To begin, simply massage 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into your scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
If you find that using pure lime juice is too harsh on your skin and hair, you can mix it with olive oil. The olive oil will rejuvenate your scalp and keep it moisturized as the acidity of the lime juice is working hard at corroding the surface of your scalp and cleaning out all the dirt and particles to give you a healthy and flake-free scalp.
Vinegar: Vinegars such as apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar can be quite effective at treating itchy scalp because it is rich in potassium and enzymes.
The vinegar will help get rid of the dead skin cells which are responsible for clogging up the hair follicles. It will also change the pH of your scalp by restoring the proper acid and alkaline balance and make it difficult for yeast to grow.
Application of this wonderful home remedy couldn’t be any simpler—add a few drops of apple cider vinegar and massage it directly into your scalp for five minutes.
Take care to avoid contact with your eyes and ears. Leave the vinegar on for about fifteen minutes to an hour before showering. Don’t do this every day though; twice a week should be sufficient.
Baking soda: First of all, baking soda is NOT the same as baking powder. The former is pure sodium bicarbonate and the latter also contains sodium bicarbonate but it has two extra ingredients—an acidifying agent and a drying agent.
Since this article isn’t about baking cakes, we are much more concerned about how this folk remedy can be used to clear excess flakes from your scalp. First of all, don’t even think about powdering your scalp with baking soda. The proper way to do it is to first rinse your hair with warm water.
After that, grab a handful of baking soda in one hand and add a few drops of water into it. Mix well to form a paste. You can use the fingers of your other hand to do this or just knead the mixture single-handed.
Apply the paste onto your scalp and give it a few minutes of good massage using your fingertips, not fingernails! Rinse with warm water. Whenever you use baking soda to wash your hair, take care that you do not use shampoo afterwards because doing so can cause your scalp to dry out.
Some people are of the opinion that baking soda can dry your hair out. This is not true as many people actually find that they have thicker, shinier, and less frizzy hair after using it. Most importantly, they have less flakes and their scalp no longer itches.
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a natural home remedy which is great for the skin in general.
It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. It is often used to repair the damage skin on the scalp and prevent it from drying up.
Use fresh aloe vera leaves if possible for the best result. Cut the aloe leaves length wise and grind them to make a paste.
Apply the paste on your scalp and leave it for 30 minutes before washing it out under cold water. If you don’t have access to fresh aloe leaves, you can just aloe vera gel.
Eggs: Eggs are generally good for conditioning dry hair and it can really help remove dandruff from your hair. You can easily make your own egg shampoo too. All you need is two eggs and two tablespoons of water. Beat them up thoroughly.
Before you apply this mixture on your scalp, you want to wet your hair moderately first. Massage the mixture into your scalp for 5 minutes and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Rinse under warm water to get dandruff free hair.
Neem leaves: Great for getting rid of dandruff because of its antiseptic properties. To begin, grind a few neem leaves to make a fine paste. Apply and massage the paste on your scalp and leave it for about 15-30 minutes before washing it out. Alternatively, you can just soak the leaves in hot water and let it stand overnight and use it as a rinse the next morning.
The only downside to this home remedy is that the strong smell of neem leaves will remain in your hair for days. A good work around to this problem is to add orange peel, lemon peel or other herbs that will help make the smell less intense.
Massage oils: Massage oils such as almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil are great for treating dandruff because they are natural moisturizers which can help prevent the scalp from getting dried up and prevent premature shedding of skin cells. They can also help eliminate toxins from the scalp and reduce bacterial growth.
Before you massage them on your scalp, make sure they are slightly warm up first. You can do this easily over the stove.
Make sure that you do not use too much oil because doing so can actually make your hair greasy any even lead to buildup. Take care to massage the scalp with your fingertips and not your fingernails. Leave it overnight. Shower in hot water the next morning.
Sesame oil: Also known as the queen of oils, sesame oil has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties. It can not only nourish and control dry scalp but also cool and soothe the scalp. To begin, simply pour enough sesame oil into your hand and massage it into your scalp.
Let it on for 10 minutes then rinse it out with warm water. For the best result, do this before bedtime. If you don’t have sesame oil, you can substitute it with virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties and it works best when you combine it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or almond oil.
Mix it at the ratio of 10:1; 10 drops of tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil or almond oil.
Massage it on the scalp and leave it for 30 minutes before washing it out. Alternatively, you can just mix it into a mild shampoo; mix 10 drops of tea tree oil for every 8 oz. of shampoo. Use a natural, organic shampoo for the best result.
Onion: Who would have thought the mighty onion is also capable of treating dandruff. To combat scalp scaling, use red onion for the best result. Get a few red raw onions and grind them to make a paste. Apply the paste over your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before showering.
Just like neem leaves, the only downside to this home remedy is the having the smell of onion in your hair. A quick work around would be to apply some lemon juice in your hair and wash it again.
Apples: Apples have enzymes that can help eliminate the dead skin cells in your scalp which are responsible for the scalp flakes. To begin, mix two tablespoons of apple juice with two tablespoons of warm water. Pour the mixture oven your scalp and give it a good massage. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes before washing.
Beetroot: There are two ways you can use this vegetable to relieve scalp irritation. The first method is to mix a few drops of vinegar in some beetroot juice and apply on the scalp. Leave it on for a few minutes before washing. The second method requires you to get another ingredient called henna, a flowering plant which has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Combine the dried and powdered henna leaves with the beetroot leaves and mash them to make a paste. Apply the paste on the scalp and leave it on for a several minutes before rinsing. The henna will act as a natural conditioner while reducing the oiliness of the scalp.
Snake gourd juice: Snake gourd juice can be quite effective at moisturizing the scalp and reducing scaling.
It will also give you soft, lustrous and dandruff free hair. When grinding the snake gourd, make sure you do not add water because it will make the juice too runny to apply.
Using the juice is really simple—apply it over your scalp and give it a good massage. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing.
The juice of the snake gourd fruit will act as a natural moisturizer and keep your scalp well hydrated.
Tea: Tea? Yes, but not by drinking it. We are going to brew the tea and use it as a rinse. For the best result, you should use organic green tea. Other tea leaves such as sage or burdock will also work fine. Once you brewed the tea, let it cool down a bit before pouring it over your scalp.
Use a strainer to remove the leaves if necessary. Massage your scalp for a few minutes to remove loose flakes and let it on about an hour. Shower under warm water.
Ginger: Ginger is a wonderful herb that can be easily found in most kitchens. First of all, peel a root of ginger and juice it. You can either squeeze it manually or use a blender. Next, you will need some lemon juice and sesame oil. If you don’t have sesame oil, substitute it with olive oil.
Combine all three ingredients in equal quantities and mix well. Massage the mixture into your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing.
Rosemary: To use rosemary for treating dandruff, you need to mix it with olive oil first. You can either use rosemary leaves or rosemary oil. After that, apply the mixture on the affected area of your scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes before showering.
Thyme: To use thyme as an herbal remedy for dandruff, you need to make a concoction and then use it as a rinse.
To begin, simply boil 4 teaspoons of dried thymes in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Let it cool down to room temperature. Shampoo your hair as usual.
After that, pour half of the concoction onto your damp hair and massage the remaining half into your scalp.
Unlike other home remedies, you don’t need to rinse this time; leave it on until the next time you shower because you want your scalp to absorb its antiseptic properties.
Parsley: Yes, the herb parsley can be used to control dandruff. To begin, mix 2 cups of boiling water and one cup of chopped fresh parsley and let it stand for 30 minutes. Massage this liquid into your scalp and let it on for 15 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
Salt: Although salt is abrasive on the skin, it is great for scrubbing out dead skin cells on the scalp before you shampoo. Just sprinkle some salt over your dry scalp and give it a good massage. After that, simply shampoo as you normally would and wait for a few minutes before rinsing.
Honey: Honey has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which can help reduce dandruff. Just apply some honey on your scalp and give it a thorough massage. Let it on for 30 minutes and shower under warm water. Care should be taken, however, due to the huge variation of honey available – you might be allergic to some of them. For the best result, use organic honey if possible.
Know of any other home remedies to treat dandruff or promote hair growth?
Please let us know in the comments below!