Dandruff is a very common problem for people all over the world, irrespective of age or gender. Most people have faced this problem at some point in life. It is difficult to get rid of, and other people taking notice of this condition can be embarrassing. 

Dandruff is a skin condition that causes flaking of the dry skin on your scalp. It may also result in an itchy scalp. It may be visible as skin flakes on your hair, eyebrows, beard, mustache, and shoulders. 

Since your skin tends to get dryer during winters, dandruff may also be aggravated during that time. It may also get worse when you are sick or stressed. 

What Causes Dandruff?

The possible causes for dandruff include:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis (a skin disease that causes an itchy rash with flaky scaly patches)

  • Allergic reactions 

  • Psoriasis (a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal)

  • Eczema (a condition where patches of skin become red, swollen, itchy, cracked, and rough)

  • Malassezia, a yeast that lives on the scalp in humans

Dandruff can be treated or controlled with many over-the-counter products such as medicated shampoos. However, it can also be managed by following some quick, simple, and effective home remedies.

Home Remedies For Dandruff

1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): The acidity of apple cider vinegar (fermented juice made of crushed apples) is believed to balance the pH of the skin (a measure of how acidic or basic the skin is), thus preventing fungal growth. 

It is also stated to stimulate the shedding of the dead skin on the scalp, thus reducing dandruff. 

Some people may be allergic to apple cider vinegar, so, always test it on a small area of your scalp, before applying it to the entire scalp. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and spray it on your scalp. Shampoo after around 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Coconut Oil: Apply coconut oil on the scalp for around one hour before washing your hair. The fats in coconut oil improve the barrier function of the skin. 

Thus, the oil helps with skin hydration and prevents dryness of the scalp, which can be beneficial in controlling dandruff.

 3. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is proven to have antimicrobial (ability to kill microbes or stop their growth) and anti-inflammatory (ability to reduce swelling and redness) properties, which may help in controlling the symptoms of dandruff. 

Adding around 3 to 10 drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo can help reduce dandruff. However, your skin may be sensitive to tea tree oil. Hence, it is advisable to dilute the oil in a carrier such as coconut oil, before use. 

4. Lemon: Lemon can help balance the pH of the scalp and make it harder for the dandruff-causing fungus to thrive. Apply the juice of one lemon on the scalp for around 10 minutes before washing your hair with a shampoo. 

The juice of a lemon can also be squeezed into a mug of water and used as a last rinse after washing your hair. 

5. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has a moisturizing effect on the skin and provides relief from irritation. It is also antibacterial and antifungal (antimicrobial) in nature, which may help in reducing dandruff. 

Apply aloe vera extract directly on your scalp and leave for about 30 minutes before washing your hair with a mild shampoo.

6. Baking Soda: Baking soda acts as a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells from the scalp and thus, reduces scaling and itchiness. It soothes the scalp and also has antifungal properties. 

Baking soda can be applied to wet hair and massaged onto the scalp. Baking soda can also be added to your shampoo while washing your hair. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo after around 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Neem: Neem has antifungal and antimicrobial properties which help in preventing and treating dandruff. Neem oil can be applied to your scalp and left for a few hours before washing. 

Neem leaves may also be ground into a paste, applied on your scalp, and left for about 15 to 20 minutes before washing with a mild shampoo. Alternatively, you can use water boiled with neem leaves to rinse your hair. 

8. Aspirin: Salicylic acid, one of the primary compounds found in aspirin, is also found in many anti-dandruff shampoos. 

It exfoliates the scalp gently, gets rid of scaly skin, and loosens dry skin flakes so that they can be removed through washing. It also reduces inflammation (redness and irritation) of the scalp. 

Add two crushed tablets of aspirin to your shampoo. Wash your hair with this mixture and rinse after about 2 to 3 minutes. 

Use these remedies to get rid of dandruff naturally, and consult a dermatologist if the problem persists. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.