Did you know that dandruff affects approximately half of all adults at some point in their lives?
Even though it’s an incredibly common condition, those little white flakes can still manage to make you feel pretty self-conscious.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. Dandruff is also annoying.
That constant itch can have you scratching at your head from the moment you wake up until it’s lights out.
But with a little know-how, you can get rid of dandruff. In fact, you can even try some do-it-yourself remedies, using a few ingredients found in your pantry or local health foods store.
So, if you’re dealing with itchiness and flaking, keep reading for some quick fixes to get your scalp back to good health.
What Causes Dandruff?
You’re combing your hair in the morning and you see it … white flakes. And then you feel it – that awful itch. Unfortunately, deciphering the exact cause of your dandruff can be a bit complicated. But if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the factors that could be contributing to your dandruff, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Not Shampooing Enough
Sometimes, the reason for dandruff is simply that you’re not shampooing often enough. This can result in a buildup of oil on the scalp, and lead to the shedding of large, oily flakes.
This is a type of fungus that exists naturally on the scalp. In most cases, Malassezia causes no problems. However, studies have shown that an overgrowth of this fungus is strongly associated with dandruff. These same studies have demonstrated that getting rid of Malassezia effectively relieves the symptoms of dandruff.2
This condition tends to affect areas of your skin that produce a lot of oil, like the scalp. Symptoms include itchiness, redness, and white or yellow flakes. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, chances are, you’ll experience symptoms on other parts of your body as well – like the face, upper chest, and back.3
Sometimes, dandruff is just the result of dry skin flaking off. If that’s the case, you’ll probably notice dry skin on other parts of your body – like the elbows, hands, or face.
Easy Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff
Now that you know what may be contributing to your dandruff, you can begin to take steps to eradicate it. Here are a few at-home treatments to experiment with:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar Wash
From helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels to suppressing the appetite to fending off bacteria, apple cider vinegar has gained fame as a do-it-all health tonic.4
And apple cider vinegar may be able to help ward off dandruff, too. Experts postulate that the acetic acid contained in apple cider vinegar may help the skin slough off dead skin cells and keep fungus at bay.5
Here’s how to do an apple cider vinegar wash for dandruff:
1. Combine ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup water.
2. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle, if you have it. If you don’t have a spray bottle, pour it into a measuring cup.
3. After shampooing, spray the mixture onto hair, concentrating on the scalp. If you’re using a measuring cup, slowly pour the mixture over your scalp while tilting your head backward, being careful to avoid getting the solution in your eyes.
4. Let your scalp absorb the solution for about 15 minutes.
5. Rinse out, and follow up with conditioner.
6. Repeat daily until your dandruff is gone.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves and branches of tea trees, which grow in Australia. This oil has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries by the Aboriginal people of Australia.
And modern medicine backs up this ancient folk remedy. Studies have shown that tea tree oil has a myriad of properties that fight off bacteria, microbes, and fungus.6
Now, remember that fungus… Malassezia? Well, it turns out that tea tree oil does a pretty good job of getting rid of it.7
So, if you’re dealing with dandruff, this oil wonder from down under might be just the thing you need.
Keep in mind, tea tree oil is an “essential oil,” which means it’s highly concentrated. For this reason, the oil needs to be diluted with a carrier oil, like jojoba, sweet almond, or grapeseed oil. In other words, don’t apply it directly to your scalp full strength.
For a tea tree oil treatment:
1. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.
2. Apply to your hair, massaging gently into the scalp.
3. Cover with a shower cap and let the mixture penetrate for about 30 minutes.
4. Rinse out, following up with shampoo and conditioner.
5. Repeat daily until your dandruff is gone.
3. Aloe Vera
You’ve probably got a bottle of aloe vera hiding out in your medicine cabinet, just waiting to be applied to red, sunburned skin.
But aloe vera isn’t just good for sunburns. It’s good for your scalp, as well. Aloe vera is a great moisturizer.8 So, if the source of your dandruff is dry skin, then aloe vera can help hydrate your scalp.
Scientific studies have also shown that aloe vera, like tea tree oil, has properties that keep fungus at bay.9 And by keeping fungus at bay, you can keep dandruff away.
Want to put that aloe vera to work?
1. Start with pure aloe vera gel. You want to make sure there aren’t any additional chemicals or colors added.
2. Simply massage a dollop of aloe vera gel into your scalp before bed. (Let it dry before laying down on a pillow.)
3. In the morning, rinse out, and follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
4. Repeat every night until your dandruff is gone.
4. Run a Humidifier
Have you noticed your dandruff gets worse in the winter? That’s because you’re more likely to experience a flare-up of itching and flaking when the weather is dry and cold.10
Try running a humidifier during the winter months to help keep your scalp happy and hydrated.
Your body can be profoundly affected by the way you’re feeling emotionally. And your scalp and hair are no exception.
Studies have shown that stress can actually trigger episodes of dandruff.11 To help prevent dandruff and – more importantly – maintain peace of mind, find ways to manage stress. Consistent exercise, meditation, and talking to a trusted friend are all good ways to start.
Goodbye, Little White Flakes!
Don’t let dandruff get you down. With all-natural remedies, you can bid farewell to flakes and itching. Here’s to a calmer scalp and gorgeous, flake-free hair!
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