White flakes, not the snowflakes which we love to see on us and even on our hair too. The appearance of these flakes at a most important occasion in your hair and on the dress could be an annoying and embarrassing affair. Dandruff is harmless to your health. But in some cases, dandruff can lead to pimples and acne on face or shoulders or wherever the flakes come in contact of the body. Cold and dry winter months can make it worse. It can even cause hair loss. With all these problems it can be stressful, but hey do not stress out, this can even aggravate the flaky situation.
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff – the dry, white flakes of skin that are shed continuously from the scalp. The Skin on your scalp regenerates itself like any other skin cells on your body. Skin takes approximately 27 days to renew. They renew by discarding dead cells and growing new cells underneath the old. The dead skin cells are pushed to the surface and then expelled out of the scalp giving place to new cells. This process of renewal is so slow that goes even unnoticed.
With dandruff, the skin turnover rate is so rapid that a large number of dead cells are shed. Dandruff is very common scalp disease. It can occur at any age, but it begins with puberty when the body produces more androgen hormones. Hormones increase the activity of the sebaceous glands which in turn increases the production of sebum and skin cell growth. Sebum is an oily substance that protects the scalp from a microorganism that wants to colonize there. Malassezia, yeast like fungus naturally exists on everybody’s scalp. This becomes problematic when it feeds on sebum. The fungus produces oleic acid by using lipases enzyme that metabolizes the oils, which is left on the scalp. This acid leaves the scalp irritated and increases the shedding of skin cells. These skin cells clump into visible white flakes.
What Causes Dandruff?
Listed below are some of dandruff causes.
A skin condition in which skin becomes inflamed. The inflammation damages sebum and creates a convenient environment for Malassezia to flourish. It causes larger and greasier flakes compared to other dandruff causes.
It makes the scalp red, scaly, flaky and itchy. Some people can experience seborrheic dermatitis on other areas of the body where they are rich in sebaceous gland, like sides of the nose, torso, ears, etc.
It is the most common underlying cause of dandruff. Hot or cold weather with low humidity levels in the air worsens the problem. Even soaps, strong detergents, hard water and diet can cause dryness of scalp. People with extremely dry skin tend to have flakes that are much smaller and not oily compared to other causes of dandruff.
A Diet containing heavily processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated and trans-fatty oils increases sedum production and causes inflammation. These are the main factors for dandruff. So try to follow up this 1200 calorie diet plan for healthy hair growth. Excessive intake of diet high in such foods, spikes insulin which in turn elevates a hormone called insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and causes excessive oil production by sebaceous glands.
High intake of sugary and processed foods reduces antioxidants in the body and leaves the skin exposed to inflammation. Sugary foods promote the overgrowth of candida yeast which is also responsible for dandruff. They also deplete B vitamins in the body which act against dandruff.
Irregular Brushing of Hair:
The scalp renews it cells by forming new skin cells while sloughing off the old cells. When you brush your hair, it helps you to get rid of the greying of hair and dead skin cells from your scalp.
If you do not brush your hair regularly the old cells are not removed and buildups on the scalp.
Not Washing Your Hair Often Enough:
This worsens your dandruff condition. If you are not cleaning your hair regularly and effectively, the natural oils and dead skin cells build up on your scalp. Thus, fungus and yeast thrive on your scalp by feeding on them.
It is better to use an herbal shampoo to clean all the grease and dirt to get rid of dandruff. If your hair is rough, use a conditioner.
Hair Care and Styling Products:
Some people might be allergic to certain ingredients in hair care shampoos and serums or, hair coloring products. This irritates the scalp and causes inflammation making it red, itchy and flaky. Excessive usage of hair styling products and hair styling equipment can also inflamed scalp and exacerbate an underlying condition.
Other Skin Conditions:
While dandruff can caused by improper diet and unhygienic habits for some, certain skin conditions might be what causes dandruff for others. Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease which is characterized by rapid accumulation of dead skin cells that appears as large white flakes forming thick scales. Eczema, a chronic inflammation of the skin which is marked by red, itchy and crusting patches.
It does not cause dandruff, but it can influence the condition. People who are under constant stress often have a weak immune system. This makes it hard to fight efficiently against the fungus malassezia and makes it difficult to get rid of dandruff if you already have it.
9 Wonderful Home Remedies For Dandruff
The most common way to combat dandruff is using anti-dandruff shampoos. These are easily available off the shelf. Are you also tempted to buy over the counter products by watching the commercials bombarded on your television screen. These chemical laden products are effective in resolving the symptoms posed by dandruff. But they can damage you hair and can recur back. They can also prove expensive to your pocket. If you are someone who is searching the web for how to get rid of dandruff naturally. You are in the correct place. The easy and inexpensive method to deal with dandruff is to look for ingredients that are available in your kitchen pantry. Here are some efficient home remedies for dandruff. These remedies provide much needed a respite from dandruff.
At an age when there are no antibiotics and other medicines, garlic was the solution for various health ailments due to its medicinal properties. The sulphur in the garlic promotes hair growth by increasing the production of collagen. The antifungal properties of garlic make it one of the preventive remedies for dandruff. You have to bear the pungent smell to get rid of dandruff naturally.
To make a valuable garlic remedy, take 1 or 2 cloves of raw garlic, pound them smoothly and mix with water. If you can’t tolerate the smell, you can add a little honey to the crushed garlic paste. Apply the mixture on your scalp and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash your hair clean with an herbal shampoo. Try this remedy, 2 or 3 times a week.
Kitchen ingredient which you use to prepare delicious spicy foods can be used to treat dandruff. Vinegar fights against the fungus that causes white flakes by treating the itchy and dry scalp. The acidity of the vinegar changes or normalizes the pH of your scalp that makes it harder for the fungus to breed. This is one of the beneficial dandruff remedies. You can also use a variety of vinegar called apple cider vinegar for the purpose.
To use the therapy, all you need to do is mix equal amounts of water and white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) together. Apply this on the scalp, gently massage and leave it for half an hour before you intend to wash your hair. You can use vinegar as a final rinse after cleaning your hair by diluting it. For this, you need mix two tablespoons of vinegar to a jug of water.
This cooling gel can cure skin injuries and can help resolve several hair troubles. Aloe vera is a valuable home remedies for dandruff. The anti-inflammatory qualities of the gel help to heal, while the vitamins, minerals and natural conditioning properties help the scalp normalize and keeps dandruff at bay. Aloe vera has a substance called pectin that fuels the cells to divide and breed. So regular use of aloe vera helps to create fresh healthy cells, thus result in a healthy scalp.
To try this remedy, cut a fresh aloe leaf from the plant. Drain out the raisin from the leaf by keeping it upright in the bowl. Clean the leaf and peel off the outer layer skin. Take out the gel and slightly mash it. Apply the transparent gel on the scalp; this calms down the irritated areas of the scalp. This helps to get rid of dandruff permanently. Repeat this remedy frequently for best results.
It is rich in vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin. Regular use of olive oil to your scalp acts as a natural moisturizer and cures dryness. When applied to the affected areas, it soaks into thick scales allowing them to loosen up and release in a large chunk rather in smaller flakes. In the case of urgency, you can do this. Leave the oil for 30 minutes and run a comb on that area. But remember to apply little oil over the patch.
To use this remedy on a regular basis, slightly warm some organic olive oil. At night, massage the olive oil all over the scalp with fingers in circular motion. Next morning wash your hair with herbal shampoo. This is one of the excellent dandruff home remedies pertaining to dry skin. Try out this remedy 3 to 4 times a week.
The ingredient familiar for baking and cooking has got numerous uses and it is easily available in supermarkets or shops. The anti-fungal property of baking soda makes it one of the helpful dandruff remedies. Baking soda acts as a scrub to exfoliate your scalp. This targets the fungal overgrowth, sloughs off dead cells and soothes your scalp.
To utilize this remedy, dampen your hair and take a tablespoon of baking soda into your hand and rub it into your scalp. Rinse it properly with normal water and use a mild herbal shampoo. Use this remedy twice a week.
Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil has a wide range of uses for treating ringworm, acne, lice, dandruff, burns, cuts, insect bites, etc. Tea tree oil has antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. These properties of tea tree oil make it effective for the topical treatment of head lice and many infections. It is also one of the popular dandruff home remedies. This strong smelling oil fights against the yeast malassezia on the scalp. This soothes the scalp by reducing the pesky flakes, itchiness and oiliness. A research has shown that 5% of this essential oil shampoo applied daily for four weeks has shown significant improvement in dandruff symptoms.
To implement this remedy, add one or two drops of the oil to your favorite shampoo. Apply to your wet hair and wash as usual. This gives excellent results when used 4 or 5 times a week. Be aware that some people might have allergic reactions to tea tree oil. So test it before using.
Lemon and Coconut Oil
The acidic property of the lemon helps to combat dandruff. The citric acid balances the pH (power of hydrogen) levels of your scalp and breaks down the fungus that causes dandruff. Never use lemon directly to hair as citric acid in it can peel off keratin. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, lauric acid and capric acid, having anti-fungal properties. It has a nice smell too. The combination of lemon and coconut oil is one of the efficient home remedies for dandruff.
To make a homemade spa remedy, you need half a lemon and 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil and let it come to room temperature. Cut, squeeze lemon to let the juice come out and add it to the coconut oil. Now apply the mixture to the scalp and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Follow your regular hair wash routine and your scalp will be clean and fresh. Attempt it 2 to 3 times a week.
The coarseness of common salt works as a scrub and exfoliates the scalp. Exfoliation is necessary to make sure that there is no build-up of flakes on the scalp. This helps to gently lift away the dead cells without causing irritation to your scalp. It reduces redness and itching, and also soothes your scalp. This makes it one of the excellent home remedies for dandruff.
To treat dandruff, take a salt dispenser and sprinkle some salt directly onto your scalp. Then work it through your hair, massaging it in small circular motion. This will loosen up the flakes and clean your locks with shampoo to remove them. Try to attempt this remedy once or twice a week.
It is an age-old remedy to treat almost all skin problems because of its natural antiseptic qualities. Neem is also one of the valuable home remedies for dandruff. The anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory effects of neem attacks the colonized fungal, removes the dead cell buildup and relieves scalp irritation by reducing the redness and itching.
To prepare the liquid remedy, boil one cup of neem leaves in one-liter water. Let it come to normal temperature. Strain the liquid and rinse your hair with it. This helps to get rid of dandruff naturally. You can use this for your body too. Clean your hair with herbal shampoo. Attempt this remedy twice or thrice a week until your dandruff disappears.
Diet Tips For Dandruff
A well balanced diet plan plays an important role in your overall health and protects you from certain diseases. It even helps to solve many skin and hair problems. In order to tackle the issue of dandruff, you need to take care of food you are eating. Take a look at some diet recommendations; you need to concentrate to achieve itch-free and flake-free scalp:
- Consume foods rich in B vitamins. Vitamin B6, B12, folate and biotin are helpful to keep a check on dandruff.
- Eat foods rich in zinc and selenium, as they are useful to reduce dandruff. Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas are excellent sources of zinc and selenium. Have them in moderation.
- Have foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Munch on some walnuts and flax seeds benefits which are rich in omegs-3s. Also include salmon, tuna, tofu, canola oil, mustard oil, cod liver oil, mint, spinach, peanut butter in your diet. These foods help to prevent and control the dandruff condition by lowering inflammation in your body.
- The increase in good bacteria in your digestive system like lactobacillus can reduce inflammation and keep a check on malassezia and candida yeast. Consume curd as it contains living beneficial microbes.
- Foods that are spicy, sugary and processed should be avoided. It is better not to consume aerated sugary drinks. These will worsen your dandruff severity.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily to hydrate your scalp and flush out the toxins from your system. Have a glass of lemon water as a first thing in the morning.
Tips To Control Dandruff
Here are some tips that you can follow easily to counter the dandruff outburst:
- If you have severe dandruff, clean your hair brushes daily to avoid buildup of dirt and dead skin cells and to keep them hygienic.
- Don’t scratch your scalp if you feel itchy; instead move your fingers gently over the area.
- Stress in never good for your health, and not even great for your skin and hair. Stress and anxiety may affect your scalp health and cause dandruff outbreaks. So stay calm, meditate or do yoga poses for stress relief.
- In the case of severe dandruff, wash your pillow cases and towels daily to keep them clean and tidy.
- Some remedies can make hair slightly dry; use fenugreek paste or a good anti-dandruff herbal conditioner to moisturize your hair.
- For the sake of healthy scalp and hair, it is good to avoid hair styling products and hot tools. These can strip away the moisture and cause a flare-up of flakes. Avoid products that contain alcohol because they further dry out the scalp.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap when you go for swimming.
- Do some simple exercises routine to improve your immune system to reduce the flaky condition of the scalp.
After several weeks of staying loyal to the routine of proper diet, natural remedies for dandruff, shampoos and anti-dandruff tips, if you are still experiencing itchiness of the scalp and pesky flakes, see a doctor or dermatologist. You may have an underlying issue that resembles dandruff. The doctor can identify the problem by examining the scalp and prescribes medication.
If you know any other remedies for how to get rid of dandruff naturally, that can help others; please leave them in the comment box below.