Dandruff is a skin disease that knows no boundaries and affecting millions all around the world, cutting across age and race. Dandruff, also called seborrheic dermatitis is an itchy, flaky and persistent skin disorder of the scalp, without redness. The scalp sheds dead skin cells in large numbers and dandruff appears as dry, white or greyish flakes usually on the top of the head. It is normal to continuously shed some dead skin flakes, as the skin is constantly renewing itself. With dandruff, this whole process of skin renewal speeds up, so a greater number of dead cells get shed. In addition, the cells are shed in clumps, which are big enough to be seen with the naked eye as embarrassing flakes. The scalp may also feel slightly or very itchy in some cases.
Dandruff is a natural process. Elimination takes time, but you can manage and control it. Treatment of dandruff is directed at fighting the skin inflammation. This is done either directly, by using cortisone-based creams and lotions (which reduce inflammation), or by reducing the yeast that builds up on scaly areas and adds to the problem.
- Keep the hair and scalp clean, to decrease the accumulation of dead cells. Wash frequently so that flakes do not build up.
- Brush your hair daily to improve the circulation and remove any flakiness (even for you with short hair).
- Massage the scalp daily using the fingertips. This stimulates the circulation, dislodges dirt and dandruff and helps in the hair growth.
- Avoid spicy and greasy food because it helps dandruff to increase and spread. Add more fresh and green vegetables and fruits to the diet. Have a balanced diet containing lots of vitamin A, B6, B12. Avoid intake of fried foods, sugar, chocolates and nuts. Strong tea and coffee and processed food should be avoided as well.
Natural home made remedies
Most of the dandruff shampoos claiming to reduce dandruff contain Zinc Pyrithione, Nizoral and salicylic acid to contain the growth of fungi and reduce dandruff. However, the more chemical you apply to your skin, chances of reactions are always a concern.
- Rub onion onto scalp. Onions are high in sulphur, which is essential for a healthy scalp.
- Avoid dyeing hair, unless an absolute must. We all have bacteria on our scalp, some of which are beneficial. This ‘good’ bacteria prevent dandruff yeast, and hair dyes reduce their numbers.
- Garlic whether eaten or applied externally is excellent for fighting dandruff.
- Apple cider vinegar (diluted with equal amount of water) when massaged onto scalp helps curb dandruff. It is a natural antiseptic.
- Lemon juice or sour curd when applied onto scalp is also useful.
- Fenugreek seeds – ground into a fine paste, applied onto scalp, and left for half an hour.
- Juice of bitter gourd when massaged with oil onto scalp relieves dandruff.
- Boil some neem leaves in 4 teacups of water. After cooling and filtering, use for washing hair.
- Numerous herbs are beneficial to the skin and scalp and can be made into a rinse, or added to your shampoo. For example: Comfrey, Thyme, Plantain, and Licorice.
- Essential oils are also effective dandruff cures. Some essential oils that are particularly beneficial are: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Lavender, Lemon, Cypress, and Tea Tree.
- one tablespoon of cider vinegar
- 5 drops of Thyme
- 3 drops of Sage
- 3 drops of Cypress
- 5 drops of vegetable oil (e.g. evening promise, jojoba, carrot)
Mix the above listed items and add them to one ounce of spring water. Use about one teaspoon of the mixture each time, massage into the scalp (not the hair) every night before going to bed.
Remember! Treatment for dandruff is not a one-time affair. Dandruff comes back, if regular care on a daily basis is not taken. Consult a doctor if your scalp is red and itchy or if the skin is flaky around the eyebrows, round the nose or behind the ears, because you might be having a more severe form of seborrhoeic dermatitis.