In spite of the assumption that people have dandruff due to poor grooming habits, the medical community links dandruff with climate and genetic factors. Dandruff is a huge problem that makes the lives of millions of people miserable. Dandruff flakes on shoulders, clothing, furniture, even eyebrows and eyelashes can be embarrassing and make those afflicted feel unattractive and ashamed.
To treat dandruff most people visit the drug store and purchase over-the counter dandruff treatments such as medicated shampoos (Head & Shoulders, T/Gel and Selsun Blue are popular brands), cortisone creams and/or anti-fungal creams such clotrimazole or miconazole. For more stubborn cases of dandruff that do not respond to over the counter treatments, a physician can prescribe stronger, cortisone-based or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams.
Natural Ways to Fight Dandruff and Seborrhea
Though any of the methods listed above may work for you, they are all rather expensive and involve the use of harsh ingredients that may have unpleasant side effects. There are other methods to fight flaky scalps using gentle, natural ingredients and essential oils.
- Neem Oil. Combine about 2 teaspoons of Neem oil, a tablespoon of grapeseed oil with your normal amount of shampoo. Apply to hair and scalp. Let sit 20 minutes then rinse. Repeat use until problems are eradictaed. Most see improvement in 1-2 uses. Be sure to use natural non-toxic, sulfate free shampoo like Aubrey Naturals Green Tea Shampoo and Conditioner or other from health food store.
- Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil. Coconut oil eliminates dandruff and conditions the scalp. Virgin coconut oil contains an abundance of antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Caprylic acid, Capric acid and Lauric acid give coconut oil the natural ability to penetrate the hair shaft, cell membranes of the skin, and to kill bacteria and fungus on both the skin and scalp. This makes coconut oil hair treatment exceptional at keeping the scalp clear of seborrhea, red patches and as well as eliminating dandruff.
To use coconut oil to treat dandruff: Rub hands together to melt small amount of oil (1 tsp). Apply the coconut oil to the scalp and gently massage it into the scalp and hair. Smooth through hair by pressing palms together on each side of a section of hair, smoothing from root to end. This treatment works best when applied to the hair at night and allowed to penetrate the scalp and hair overnight. Put a plastic cap on your hair with a scarf to keep it on.
- Onion Paste. Applying an onion paste before washing hair will help heal the scalp and kill dandruff causing fungus. Take one whole organic onion and cut into six chunks. Place in blender with bit of grapeseed, avocado or sweet almond oil until smooth paste. Rub paste on scalp (really glob it on affected spots), cover head with plastic cap and let mixture stay on scalp several hours or even overnight. Wash hair as usual. For an extra boost throw a clove or two of garlic into your blender. A few drops of peppermint essential oil will cover the onion smell.
- Lemon and Garlic Paste. Mix lemon juice with garlic and create this paste. Apply this paste to the scalp for around 20 minutes and tan wash it with any mild shampoo.
- Aloe Vera Gel and Lavender Oil. Aloe vera gel combined with lavender or Tea Tree oil is a powerful tool for fighting dandruff. The aloe heals the scalp and reduce flakes. Lavender oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, deodorizing and relaxing. Lavender is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce scalp itching, swelling, and redness.
- Lavender and Olive Oils. Francesca Fusco, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist recommends an olive oil and lavender oil dandruff treatment. To make Dr. Fusco’s gentle dandruff remedy: Wet hair with warm water and towel dry. Next, grab a mug and mix 15 drops of lavender essential oil in 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil. Microwave for about 10 seconds or until it feels warm. Massage the oil into your scalp, pop on a shower cap, let set for an hour, then shampoo out. “It may take several treatments to see benefits,” Dr. Fusco notes.
- Tee Tree Essential Oil. Tea tree oil is a natural home remedy for dandruff. Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties, which make it best to get rid of dandruff. You can apply tea tree oil directly to the scalp, or add few drops to your regular shampoo. To make a simple shampoo to combat dandruff, squeeze a single application of mild natural shampoo into one hand and add 4-5 drops of Tea Tree essential oil. Mix well and massage into your scalp with your fingertips. Allow the shampoo to remain on your hair for 5-6 minutes, then rinse well.
- Rosemary Essential Oil. Rosemary oil also possesses properties that combat dandruff and improve your scalp. Recommended ratio is a mixture of 1 ml of essential oil to 10 ml of carrier oil such as olive, jojoba or avocado oil. Apply to scalp and massage mixture in about 2 minutes. Wrap your hair in a hot, wet towel so the heat and moisture assists with penetration of the oil. Let it sit until cool, then repeat at least once more. Shampoo with your castile or other mild natural shampoo.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Dilute raw apple cider vinegar with distilled water 50:50 and spritz onto scalp. Gently massage in and let hair air dry. Apple cider vinegar contains natural anti-fungal properties. Should see noticeable change after just three applications.
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide. In glass combine 1 part raw organic apple cider vinegar, 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide, and 10 parts water. Apply generously with cotton ball to affected spots on scalp. Leave solution on scalp for 3-5 minutes, then wash/shampoo your hair as usual.
Other Anti-Dandruff and Anti-Seborrhea Tips
Use a gentle, non-drying (pH balanced) shampoo that has no Laurel or Laurel Sulfates. Take the time to read labels on the shampoo bottle. Your best bets to find castile soap or other natural shampoos are online or at a local health food store.
Drink more water. Most people with severe dandruff are dehydrated. Drinking soda, coffee, or tea does not count, as the caffeine and sugar in those beverages extract fluid from the body and serve as diuretics, not hydrants.
To restore moisture to your skin and hair, supplement your diet with black currant oil or evening primrose oil. These provide an unusual fatty acid called GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid), which promotes the healthy growth of skin and hair. Try doses of 500 mg twice a day; after six to eight weeks, when you start to see improvement, cut the dose in half.
Experts also suggest avoiding foods that naturally contain yeast, such as bread, wine and beer. Foods that contribute to yeast overgrowth usually contain lots of sugar – cookies, other baked goods, soda, sweetened juices and sports drinks, etc.
Processed foods containing white sugar, white flour and foods that are high in saturated fats should also be avoided. These foods should be replaced with fresh fruits and veggies, and fresh raw vegetables like salads and crudites. Foods naturally high in zinc, such as fish, sunflower seeds and egg yolks are also recommended. Use freshly ground flax seeds or fish oils in the form of sardines or wild Alaskan salmon. These excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids should help with flaking.
Visit your dermatologist to be sure that your dandruff is not from an underlying scalp disease or skin infection. If you cannot stand to eat fish, there are fish oil and flax seed oil supplements available in capsule form. Try Udo’s Choice Oil as well.
Other essential oils highly recommended to treat dandruff, scalp inflammation, seborrhea and itchiness include:
- Clary Sage
- Ylang Ylang
About the Author (Author Profile)Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.
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