Nobody likes those little white flakes falling out of their hair or onto their favorite shirt. Dandruff causes a lot of frustration and a lot of embarrassment, but just remember: you are not alone. Millions of people have suffered from dandruff which can come and go like seasonal allergies. The great news is that you can eliminate dandruff, and if you take the right steps, you will prevent it from coming back.
First, you should know what causes dandruff. It may seem that dandruff is caused from a dry scalp, but it’s not. It’s actually caused from too much oil (serum). If you don’t shampoo enough, or if those oils and skin cells build up, you may notice red or greasy skin and white or yellow flakes. It is also caused from malassezia, a natural fungus in your skin cells that can irritate some scalps.
What causes the oil to build up? It could be a variety of things like poor nutrition, stress, lack of sleep, excessive or incorrect use of hair products, infrequent or improper shampooing, etc.
More serious causes of dandruff result from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, but if you have one of these conditions, you should see a dermatologist, because these conditions affect more than just your scalp.
Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp: What’s the difference?
You may notice that your skin – your arms, your face, and your scalp – are unusually dry and your head is itchy. Typically, a dry scalp occurs in the wintertime during harsh weather conditions. Even though it may seem like dandruff, dry skin does not cause dandruff.
Dry skin occurs from a lack of moisture, and the best natural remedies for this issue include apple cider vinegar. Mix 2 tbsp with approximately 16 oz. of water. Make sure you shampoo, conditioner, and rinse out your hair before applying this mix. Try this no more than once or twice a week until it cures the dry flakes.
How to get rid of dandruff?
The best home remedies for dandruff, similar to a dry scalp, will focus on trying to counterbalance the pH (or hydrogen) levels in your hair. The pH levels keep fungi and bacteria from developing. Just as it’s important to keep your probiotics balanced, you should make sure you’re keeping the pH levels balanced in your hair.
To keep the balance in your hair, you can apply natural ingredients topically. Some of the best products include extra virgin olive oil, tea tree oil, aloe, baking soda, or even lemon juice. However, you should not use these products all at once and you should not use them every time you shower or you’ll overcompensate for the lack of oils and make matters worse.
A treatment we recommend is adding about ten drops of tea tree oil into your shampoo. You can find tea tree oil at any major drugstore and it also cures acne, lice, fungal infections, etc. so it’s a great product to keep around the house, especially if you have kids.
Another option is mixing ½ cup of yogurt, ½ teaspoon of lemon juice, and 4 tsp of aloe vera gel. Blend the ingredients, apply the mixture to your hair, and let it sit before washing it out with a mild shampoo.
Whatever rinse you choose to use, don’t use it more than twice per week.
How to get rid of dandruff fast?
Let’s say you have a wedding, a weekend getaway, or an important event fast approaching and you need to temporarily mask the appearance of dandruff. There are overnight dandruff remedies that can be used.
You can mix the tiniest bit of lemon juice into a few tablespoons of olive oil, massage it into your hair, wrap your hair in a shower cap, and then sleep on it. In the morning, rinse it out in the shower.
You can also use one of our favorite ingredients: coconut oil. Melt a couple of spoonfuls of coconut oil into a bowl, then rub it evenly into your hair. Let it sit for an hour or longer and then rinse out.
There are dandruff shampoos, but one is not like another.
For an anti-dandruff treatment, you can use dandruff shampoo, but keep in mind: some can irritate your skin. Pay attention to how severe your dandruff is and how the shampoo affects your scalp.
The most recognized shampoos come from Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue, but there is also T/Gel Daily Control by Neutrogena, Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo, Redken Dandruff Shampoo, and Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Strong Lengths Nourishing Shampoo.
A lot of trichologists say that the best dandruff shampoo, is a sulfate free shampoo that is organic and chemical-free. Options include Derma Change Shampoo and Conditioner, Maple Holistics Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo, and Tru Moroccan Best Natural Argan Oil Shampoo.
There are other shampoos like Extina, Xolegel, or Nizoral, which often require a prescription or are considered over-the-counter drugs, and you should only consider these if you have a very severe and recurring dandruff. These shampoos, which are also used to treat other forms of fungus infections, can have serious side effects, so it’s important to speak with your dermatologist before using them.
We know you want to get rid of dandruff permanently, but chances are if you’ve gotten it before, you will probably get it again. Don’t be embarrassed and try not to let it ruin your day. The best thing you can do is live a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. Also, make sure you’re combing your hair, not using too much product, and washing your hair with the right frequency. If you’re not sure what the right frequency of shampooing for you is – because it will always be different for different hair types – talk to your stylist. Make sure you’re shampooing the correct way, too. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that dandruff happens all the time and it does go away, so be patient.