As the wonderful spring and summer months pass, some of us genuinely begin to fear the arrival of the winter season because of the horror it brings along, the dreaded D-word - dandruff! Not just winters, but for some people, dandruff is a serious problem all year round. Are you one of them? Then, don’t let your struggle with dandruff make you feel down about your appearance.
Ayurveda has a cure for everything and dandruff is no exception.
Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurveda, a holistic healing system that originated from the Indian subcontinent around 3000 years ago has many successful home remedies and practices for managing dandruff. In this article, we would like to present to you our best advice and tips on getting rid of dandruff.
What Is Dandruff?
Before we begin to dole out our advice for getting rid of it, let us look at what dandruff actually is, to help you understand what we’re dealing with.
‘Dandruff’ - also known as ‘Dermatitis’ or ‘Seborrhea’ - is actually an extremely common skin condition experienced by most people at some point in their lives, regardless of ethnicity, age, or gender. It tends to affect not just the scalp, but also the eyebrows, the ears, the beard (for men), and the hairy part of the chest (for both men and women). You might not know this, but dandruff also affects babies in infancy. Dandruff on the scalp of babies is known as ‘cradle cap’.
Dandruff usually appears as fine, dry and flaky skin on the scalp, it can sometimes have areas with red or pink skin, signaling inflammation. It may also simply show up as white flakes without any scratching or irritation, while for others with more advanced cases, the symptoms may include burning and itching along with the white, flaky skin.
Certain kinds of weather can make dandruff worse for you. For some people, it’s the humidity while for others it’s the dry winter season that triggers the appearance of dandruff.
What Are The Causes Of Dandruff?
At some point, you must have thrown your hands up in exasperation at some point and wondered - ‘WHAT did I ever do to deserve all this dandruff? Why me?!’ - we’re going to stop you right there, the thing is, the exact cause of dandruff remains unknown.
Probable causes and associations of dandruff include an increase in oil production and secretion, dry skin, sensitivity to hair products, and the growth of a yeast-like fungus called ‘Malassezia’, that feeds on oils on the scalps of most adults.
Dandruff may also be triggered or worsened by poor hygiene and infrequent hair washing. It has been determined that dandruff tends to affect way more men than it does women, this could have something to do with men’s skin producing more oil than that of women.
Dandruff is also common in people with chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or a compromised immune system (as in the case of advanced HIV/AIDS), however, it is not contagious.
How To Get Rid Of Dandruff Naturally - The Ayurvedic Practice of Hair Oiling
Well, now we all know our grandmothers were not playing around when they scolded us for not oiling our hair! Ayurveda seeks to remind us that everything is finally linked to the larger universe, and hence nature is where all solutions lie. Oiling the hair with natural oils, when done properly, has excellent benefits for those who suffer from dandruff.
Whether you have an oily or a dry, flaky scalp, there are plenty of hair oil options to help you get rid of dandruff naturally and give you smooth, bouncy hair that can rival the best. We have studied a variety of oils that are available in nature that can treat every imaginable hair problem. Here are our best picks for managing dandruff.
1. Neem Oil For Anti-Fungal Treatment of Dandruff
Ancient Ayurvedic texts describe Neem tree as ‘Sarva Roga Nivarini’ which means Universal Healer or curer of all Ailments. Neem oil derived from this tree is very potent with antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
The primary cause of dandruff is fungi known as Candida and Malassezia. The anti-fungal properties of Neem oil make it effective against these fungi. You can also use Neem oil to get relief from inflammation, itchiness, and irritation that results from dandruff. For those who are prone to dandruff, Neem oil should be used regularly. It also helps in maintaining the pH balance of the scalp which further prevents dandruff formation.
To use Neem oil to get rid of dandruff naturally, dilute equal parts (50/50) of Neem Oil with Sweet Almond/Sesame Oil and gently massage the oil directly into the roots of the hair and scalp. After allowing it to work for 30 minutes, cleanse your hair with a natural cleanser.
2. Bringadi Oil To Fight Dandruff and Hair Loss
Brigandi oil is a combination of Bhringraj oil (extracted from the leaves of Bhringraj tree) and a few hair-friendly herbs like Amla, Indigo, Sesame. and Balloon Vines. This Ayurvedic oil is an intensive hair treatment that helps in preventing hair loss, scalp irritation, dandruff, and premature greying. With its soothing earthy scent, the oil helps in cooling and soothing the scalp. It also provides relief from the itchiness and greasiness caused by dandruff.
To use Brigandi oil to remove dandruff, gently massage Brigandi oil into hair, ensuring that the entire scalp is covered. You can do this once or twice a week. The oil can be warmed to further enhance its benefits.
3. Coconut Oil To Remove Dandruff Caused By Dryness
Coconut oil is effective in hydrating the skin and thus, preventing dandruff which is caused due to dryness. Research has found that coconut oil, in particular, can aid in providing protection from eczema and relief from the symptoms it brings along - inflammation and itching of the skin. Some studies also indicate that coconut oil and its compounds have antimicrobial properties, and that application of coconut oil to the scalp and hair for eight weeks helped in easing the symptoms of dandruff by as much as 68%!
So treat it like a self-care hour before showering, and massage a few tablespoons of coconut oil into your scalp and hair, let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and then hop into the shower!
We have talked about how essential oiling is to maintain good scalp health and to get rid of dandruff. Now, let us walk through some other natural remedies and tips that will help you in managing dandruff.
How To Get Rid Of Dandruff - 6 Home Remedies And Tips
It is important to understand that some people are more prone to dandruff, and dandruff tends to be a chronic or recurrent disorder with periods of flare-ups. While may not be permanently curable, it is extremely easy to control and manage with good hygiene. Here are the things we recommend for getting rid of dandruff -
1. Use Lemon To Manage Dandruff
Yes, lemon, one of the most widely available fruit can be used to get rid of dandruff naturally. Lemon juice is incredible for dandruff as it is acidic, and therefore, breaks down the fungus responsible for causing dandruff, and it also helps in reducing the oil production of your scalp.
Massage your scalp with two spoon-fulls of fresh lemon juice, and let it sit for a minute, then mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a cup of water and rinse your hair with it - do this at least twice a week before washing your hair, and you should begin to see good results after the first few washes!
2. Aloe Vera To Get Rid Of Dandruff Naturally
You may not even be a stranger to Aloe Vera at all, but let us introduce it to you anyway, because that is how much we love this plant - aloe vera is a kind of succulent which is known to be helpful for treating conditions like burns, psoriasis and cold sores when applied topically.
Aloe vera contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it also helps in soothing the scalp against the inflammation which comes with dandruff, and hence it is a solid candidate when it comes to selecting a product for helping in dandruff reduction.
You can apply freshly squeezed Aloe Vera gel directly on your scalp or you can use natural shampoos that contain Aloe Vera.
3. Tea Tree Oil For Dandruff And Dermatitis
Tea tree oil is an incredibly useful product for a lot of ailments, and dandruff is one of them. Tea tree oil has got anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the severity and symptoms of dandruff.
It is also very effective in fighting the strains of fungus which cause both dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It is crucial to dilute tea tree oil properly with either water or carrier oil before using, otherwise, it can cause irritation, especially for those of us who happen to have sensitive skin!
One way to use Tea Tree Oil for hair is to prepare a hair spray by diluting 5 percent Tea Tree Oil with water or Chamomile Tea. This will condition the hair and also prevent dandruff.
4. Baking Soda To Get Rid Of Itching And Dandruff
Baking Soda is another ingredient that is found in our kitchens. It can be used as an extremely gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and reduce scaling and itchiness of the scalp. To use baking soda to remove dandruff, try applying baking soda directly to wet hair and massaging it into your scalp. Let it sit for a minute or two, then continue shampooing your hair as usual.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar To Remove Dandruff
Apple cider vinegar is said to help remove the dead skin cells and balance the pH of the scalp. There have been test-tube studies that show that it may prevent the growth of certain types of fungus. To use it, combine two to three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the same amount of water, then put it on your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing your hair with clear water or washing your hair with shampoo. You can also add a few drops of Apple Cider Vinegar to your bathtub to restore the pH balance of your body and hair.
6. Shampoo Your Hair Frequently To Remove Dandruff
Having a regular hair care regime with oiling and washing of hair frequently can help immensely to get rid of dandruff. As we have explained previously in this article, cleansing the hair and the scalp with a natural shampoo regularly can be life-changing for those of us who struggle with excessively oily scalp and buildup due to all that oil being produced.
7. Maintain A Healthy Diet For A Healthy Scalp
A healthy diet can help solve a significant number of problems, including - yes, you guessed it - dandruff! A balanced diet, especially one rich in fatty acids and probiotics, can be incredibly helpful in reducing dandruff, in addition to maintaining good hygiene and using any necessary products. Also, include plenty of green vegetables in your diet to provide your hair with essential nutrients.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important to skin health and can help reduce inflammation. A deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids can cause dry skin, dry hair, and even dandruff. Some amazing sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel. If you follow a more plant-based diet, you can also take a fish oil supplement or increase your intake of other omega-3-rich foods like flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Additionally, Probiotics (which are a type of beneficial bacteria that are good for your health) can help enhance immune function, and they have been shown to reduce dandruff severity, along with symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. While probiotics are widely available in supplement form for convenient consumption, there are plenty of delicious and healthy foods available that are rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, kombucha, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and many more - so take your pick!
How Does Dandruff Affect Your Health?
For people who struggle with dandruff for extended time-periods, additional problems can come along with the usual white flaky skin shedding all over your sweaters, here are some of the effects dandruff can have on your body -
- Acne: Dandruff could be responsible for that sudden outbreak of pimples. When you deal with dandruff and your hair strands with dandruff come in contact with your face, it can induce pimples. We advise you to avoid haircuts or hairdos that require your hair to be in constant touch with your forehead or cheeks while you work on getting rid of dandruff from the scalp.
In addition to hairstyle changes, washing your face with a facial wash containing Salicylic Acid - at least once a day - can help clear up the acne caused due to dandruff and its fallout on the skin on the face.
- Hair Loss: Loss of the hair on the scalp can be observed sometimes in people with severe cases of dandruff, and it is connected to the fervent scratching which is brought on by the itchiness caused by dandruff and extreme dryness. The hair strands and their follicles become damaged with the prolonged traction (the scratching) and this can result in the hair strands breaking and falling off.
So, what can be done? Well, first of all, avoid scratching! Secondly, follow a hair care regime of oiling your hair and use an anti-dandruff shampoo to reduce dandruff gradually. To provide relief from the itching and dryness, you can also massage some aloe vera gel or some coconut oil (or mix them up together, even better!) onto your scalp and hair. Both the aloe vera gel and coconut oil contain antifungal and antibacterial properties and are effective against dandruff themselves, so along with hydrating the scalp, this scenario would be the best of both worlds for the scalp!
- Itchy and Greasy Scalp: Sometimes, the onset of dandruff can be a result of the buildup caused by too much oil production by the scalp, this can lead to a dandruff problem along with the itchy and extremely greasy scalp and hair.
In a case like such, using tea tree oil along with your shampoo can work wonders for the scalp! This is because tea tree oil is well-known for its ability to reduce greasiness and itchiness quite significantly in people who suffer from these symptoms as a result of their dandruff. As we have mentioned before, it is crucial to dilute tea tree oil with equal amounts of water or another carrier oil, before using - applying tea tree oil by itself can lead to worsening of problems being faced, especially for people who have sensitive skin.
- Psoriasis: Psoriasis is caused by the body’s immune system and presents similarly to dandruff - it causes flake off like dandruff does. However, Psoriasis patches can spread past your hairline to your forehead, down your neck, and to the skin on and around your ears. Psoriasis can be identified by its scaly and pink or reddish appearance, often covered by grey, scaly skin.
- Eye Problems: Severe cases of dandruff can cause issues for the forehead and the eyes - for instance, Seborrheic Blepharitis is an infection of the eyes which can be caused by the dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows. It presents as greasy flakes or scaly patches around the base of the eyelashes, along with mild to moderate redness of the skin around the eyes. Along with treating dandruff on the scalp, you can try applying warm compresses to the eyes in order to loosen up the crusty skin. You can also mix some fragrance-free baby shampoo along with some water, and gently scrub the eye area with a gentle cloth or cotton swab dipped into the shampoo solution, then rinsing away with clear water.
If the infection around your eyes is being caused by dandruff on your scalp and eyebrows, it should respond positively to the gentle cleansing, and also to the improvement in the state of your scalp dandruff. If your infection persists, we would urge you to seek professional help as soon as possible, since the eye and its surrounding area is extremely delicate and may end up becoming severely damaged if left untreated.
Well, we have finally reached the end of this article on getting rid of dandruff at home! We hope you are able to take away some advice which sounds like it would be magical for your hair! While all of the advice we have mentioned above in the article is successful for most people if used correctly and consistently, if your case of dandruff is severe and is not getting better even after using these methods to get rid of it, we would strongly urge you to consult a dermatologist. We would like to see you being able to flaunt your hair wherever and whenever you have wanted to, no more dreading the colder months!
- Study depicting Antifungal Activity of Aloe Vera Leaves - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17336466/
- Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16418522/
- Role of Antifungal Agents in the Treatment of Seborrheic Dermatitis - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15663338/
- Antifungal Activity of Sodium Bicarbonate Against Fungal Agents Causing Superficial Infections - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22991095/
- Study on Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257651/
- Study observing the Positive Benefit of Lactobacillus Paracasei NCC2461 ST11 in Healthy Volunteers With Moderate to Severe Dandruff - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28789559/
- Study observing the effect of Topical Virgin Coconut Oil on SCORAD Index, Transepidermal Water Loss, and Skin Capacitance in Mild to Moderate Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24320105/