Dandruff is one of the most common skin conditions, characterized by the little, white, flakes that appear on someone’s hair and often fall on their shoulders. It mostly affects those between the ages of 10 and 20, however, it can also affect as many as 40% of people over thirty.
One common misconception about dandruff is that it comes as a result of bad hygiene even though no link between the two has been drawn yet. Infrequent washing or brushing can, however, make it more apparent.
Some of the most frequent causes of dandruff include skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, tinea capitis, and scalp psoriasis, allergic reactions to hair care products, your diet, age, or even how stressed you are. (For more, see Here Are Some Of The Most Common Dandruff Causes.)
Nonetheless, harmless as it may be, dandruff is still a very bothersome condition to have to live with, often leading to embarrassment and frustration to those affected, so it’s understandable to want to have it treated. The most effective method is to use special shampoos aimed to reduce dandruff, but several home remedies are also available.
So, scroll down to learn how to treat dandruff:
Shampoos designed specifically to combat dandruff usually contain one of the ingredients below, according to Mayo Clinic, so look for them when you go out to buy your anti-dandruff shampoo:
A shampoo which contains ketoconazole will have great anti-fungal properties and can be used for people of all ages. You can get this shampoo both over the counter as well as by prescription.
Selenium sulfide works by reducing how much natural oil your scalp produces and slowing your skin cells from dying. It can diminish Malassezia as well, but they do have a side effect: it can discolor light hair, like blonde or grey, so you’ll have to ensure to follow the directions in the packaging during use and then rinse it well.
Shampoos that contain zinc pyrithoine have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help in reducing the growth of yeast as well as the fungus responsible for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
Coal tar contains natural anti-fungal properties and helps in not only treating dandruff, but also skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. It reduces the rate at which the skin cells on your scalp die off and turn to dandruff.
Keep in mind, however, that shampoos or soaps containing tar can cause the scalp to be more sensitive to sunlight, and if used in high doses, may be carcinogenic. Always follow the directions in the packaging.
Salicylic acids only help the skin to get rid of the already dead skin cells but don’t actually slow down their reproduction. They’re a common ingredient in “scalp scrubs” which may in some cases dry out the scalp too much, leading to more flaking. So be careful, and always use a conditioner afterward.
Tea tree oil contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that combat the fungus which can cause both seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Tea tree oil can cause irritation when used directly on the skin, however, which is why it should be diluted.
How to use these shampoos?
There’s no one way in which you can use these shampoos, as they all contain different ingredients which work in different ways. Always follow the directions in the packaging in regards to how long they should be left on your hair as they usually take a bit longer to work.
It’s usually a good method to use the shampoo containing one of these ingredients every day or every other day until you’ve gotten dandruff under control, and then reduce the frequency to every few days before switching to a regular shampoo, or one with another ingredient.
Anti-dandruff shampoos should not cause itching, stinging, redness or burning of any kind so if you experience any of these symptoms stop using them immediately. If you develop allergic reactions like hives, rashes, or difficulty breathing contact a medical professional.
If you notice one type of shampoo isn’t working, switch to one with another ingredient, and if after a few weeks have passed and you do not notice any changes, visit a doctor or dermatologist as you may need something stronger than over-the-counter shampoos.
If you want to tackle your dandruff in a more natural way, then trying home remedies is a good method to consider. But making some slight lifestyle changes and looking at the food you’re consuming can also have a lot of benefits.
Manage your stress
Stress itself is not a direct cause for dandruff, but it can weaken the body’s immune system which then makes it harder for our body to fight off the fungal infections and skin conditions that cause dandruff. It can also intensify dryness and itching.
So, while it’s easier said than done, try to keep your stress under control, not only to prevent dandruff but to live an overall healthier life. Consider techniques like yoga, deep breathing, aromatherapy or meditation.
Take in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids control oil production and hydration so if your body is lacking in it, it could lead to dry skin, and consequently to dandruff.
And as with most things, the health of your scalp also comes down to the food you consume. So, in addition to omega-3 fatty acids, if you’re not taking in enough zinc, B vitamins, proteins, iron, and other healthy fats, then the risk of dandruff increases.
Probiotics are “good” or “helpful” bacteria which are good for you, and especially your digestive system. They can protect you against allergies, and improve the immune system which in turn helps to protect against the fungal infections that cause dandruff.
You can get probiotics through yogurt productions, or fermented foods, like kombucha, kimchi, or tempeh, but also through dietary supplements. Probiotics are also good for weight loss.
Some dandruff treatment you can find right in your kitchen, like baking soda for example. The many benefits of baking soda also extend to hair and skin care, as its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties can help improve several skin conditions, dandruff included. In paste form, it can serve as a gentle exfoliant which removes dead skin cells and helps with itchiness and irritation.
See also: A Few Skin Benefits Of Using Baking Soda
Lemons are rich in nutrients like citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, pectin, and flavonoids. Lemons also have anti-fungal properties and are useful at maintaining the pH level on your scalp balanced, both of which help you maintain a healthy scalp and prevent dandruff.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.