Having dandruff can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing experience. After all, nobody wants to have those distinctive white flakes all over their hair and clothes. However, dandruff is actually much more common than you might imagine.
The exact cause of dandruff hasn’t been determined; however, researchers believe that a fungus called malassezia plays a role in its development. This fungus is very common and lives on healthy scalps, too. But if it grows excessively, it can cause dandruff. The most common symptoms of dandruff include an itchy scalp and white flakes on your hair. Other symptoms can include greasy patches on your scalp, tingling sensations, and seborrheic dermatitis on other parts of your body.
It has been estimated that more than 50% of all people will experience dandruff at some point in their lives. For some people, dandruff gets worse during the winter, or after a stressful situation. In some cases, dandruff can also worsen after getting sick. Sensitivity to certain hair products could also aggravate the condition.
Dandruff can be a stubborn condition, and many people spend a long time trying to figure out the best way to get rid of dandruff. Rather than spending all your hard-earned money on commercial dandruff products, you will be glad to know that there are many home remedies that can be very effective against dandruff.
These are the best home remedies to get rid of dandruff quickly
If you are dealing with dandruff, you might feel tempted to try one of the many over-the-counter dandruff treatments that are available at the drugstore. However, natural remedies could have many advantages over them. For starters, they are usually much more affordable than commercial products.
Another added benefit comes from the fact that natural remedies are much more gentle on your scalp. If you have sensitive skin, home remedies will be better at avoiding more irritation. Here are some of the best ways to get rid of dandruff naturally.
Remedy #1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil (or Melaleuca oil) has powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, so it is no wonder that it can be used as a home remedy for a wide array of conditions – including dandruff.
Tea tree oil has been shown to be effective against the Malassezia fungus, which means that it could be beneficial in the treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Other studies have tested the effectiveness of shampoos and other preparations containing tea tree oil, and have found that they are more than 41% at improving symptoms.
This powerful oil can also relieve other symptoms, such as greasy patches and itchiness. Keep in mind that pure, undiluted tea tree oil can be an irritant; if you are interested in using tea tree oil to treat dandruff, add a few drops of oil to your usual shampoo.
Remedy #2. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is another of nature’s powerhouses. Aloe vera has antibacterial and antifungal properties that could help treat dandruff. Different studies have shown that this plant can both prevent and treat dandruff.
The aloe vera plant also contains antioxidants and amino acids that will not only treat dandruff, but also improve the texture and appearance of your hair. Aloe vera can promote wound healing and hydrate your skin. It can also help reduce inflammation and itching associated with dandruff, along with controlling other types of fungal infections that can lead to hair loss.
You can use natural or store-bought organic aloe vera gel to treat your dandruff. Try mixing aloe vera in with your shampoo, or create your own homemade hair mask using aloe vera and other beneficial natural ingredients.
Remedy #3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit many different parts of your body and your health. In addition to improving your heart, liver, immune system, and lung health. They are also very effective in reducing inflammation all throughout your body.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also hugely beneficial for your skin. They can help improve hydration, manage excessive oil production, and reduce signs of aging. Their anti-inflammatory properties make them an effective remedy that promotes wound healing and relieves dandruff symptoms.
Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can lead to symptoms that include brittle nails, dry skin, dry hair… and yes, dandruff. Increase your omega-3 intake by taking supplements, or get your omega-3 naturally from fish, chia seeds, nuts, and flaxseed.
Remedy #4. Baking soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can be commonly found in most of our household pantries. It can be used as an exfoliant with the purpose of removing dead skin cells, excess oil, and flakes from your scalp.
But baking soda does so much more than just exfoliating. It has powerful antifungal properties and it has shown to be effective against many different fungal strains after being used for 1 week.
This ingredient has also been used in the treatment of psoriasis, and it can help relieve symptoms such as itching and scaling. It can also be used to treat atopic dermatitis.
You can apply baking soda to wet hair and massage it over your scalp before using your regular shampoo. Use it several times each week until you see results.
Remedy #5. Coconut oil
Is there anything coconut oil can’t do?! It can help hydrate your skin, relieve inflammation and irritation, and prevent fungal and bacterial growth on your scalp.
Coconut oil has been used to treat atopic dermatitis and eczema, which are conditions that can lead to dandruff in some patients. It can also help reduce symptoms like itchiness. You can use coconut oil as a hydrating hair mask, but you need to remember to choose extra-virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil. Other types of coconut oil might contain additives that could lead to irritation or allergic reactions.
Remedy #6. Change your diet
Although diet isn’t directly linked to the appearance of dandruff, it can definitely worsen its symptoms. Research shows that your dietary habits can be correlated to many inflammatory skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis. This disease is an important risk factor for dandruff.
Fast foods and processed foods are full of preservatives and chemicals that can increase the levels of inflammation in your entire body – including your scalp. Natural foods, on the other hand, contain vitamins and antioxidants that can help reduce said inflammation.
In fact, a 2019 study showed that individuals who include more fruits in their diet are less likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis. In order to improve your overall skin and scalp health, start eating more fruits, lean meats, nuts, seeds, fish, leafy greens, and vegetables.
Remedy #7. Apple cider vinegar
The acidity of apple cider vinegar can have several beneficial effects on your scalp. It modifies the pH of your scalp, making it much more difficult for yeast to grow excessively. It can also stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells, making it easier for healthy skin cells to come to the surface.
Different studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can prevent the growth of different fungal strains. However, you shouldn’t apply undiluted apple cider vinegar to your skin, since it can cause chemical burns.
If you want to use apple cider vinegar to treat dandruff, dilute 1 part vinegar and 1 part water and use the mixture to rinse your hair. You can also mix apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and lightly spritz your scalp.
Remedy #8. Olive oil
Olive oil can be used to deeply hydrate your hair and scalp. Making sure that your scalp is hydrated is one of the first things you need to do to reduce symptoms of dandruff, such as irritation and skin flaking.
You can apply extra-virgin olive oil to your scalp and massage it in to loosen the dead cells on your skin. Then, use a fine comb to brush out all the resulting flakes. This remedy won’t cure dandruff on its own, but it can be a wonderful addition to your treatment plan, since it will leave your scalp soft and moisturized.
Remedy #9. Reduce the stress in your life
This one is easier said than done, but we all know how important it is. Learning how to manage stress levels is good for more than just dandruff; it can help improve your quality of life in all areas.
Being exposed to high levels of stress for a long period of time can increase inflammation levels, and it can worsen many skin conditions. It can also worsen symptoms associated with dandruff, such as dry skin.
High-stress levels can also weaken your immune system, which increases your risk of developing a wide array of chronic inflammatory conditions. A weakened immune system is less capable of controlling the growth of fungus and bacteria, which can lead to dandruff.
Everyone has different stress management techniques. Maybe you feel more relaxed after a good workout, or you like to do yoga. Other people like to curl up with a book and a good cup of tea (hey, tea is also full of antioxidants!), while others prefer meditation. In any case, finding ways to manage your stress can be great for your hair, but also for the rest of your body and mental health.
Remedy #10. Probiotics
Probiotics are different strains of bacteria that are beneficial to your health. You can find probiotics in fermented food, such as yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi, or you can add a probiotic supplement to your routine. Probiotics are also great for your gut health and immune system.
A study found that probiotics can reduce dandruff symptoms such as irritation, scalp redness, excessive oiliness, and itching by up to 57%. This occurs because as your immune system becomes stronger, it becomes better equipped to manage the malassezia yeast on your scalp.
Probiotics can also relieve eczema and dermatitis. If you plan to increase your probiotic intake, remember that they don’t act instantly. You need to take them for at least a couple of months before their full effects become obvious.
Remedy #11. Aspirin
This simple, everyday medication can actually help relieve your dandruff. Fortunately, you don’t have to take it orally to see its benefits.
Aspirin is actually simply salicylic acid, which is widely used in skincare and hair products. In fact, salicylic acid is a very common ingredient in dandruff shampoos. You simply have to grind or smash some aspirin tablets and apply the resulting powder over your wet hair.
Aspirin can help exfoliate your scalp skin, but it will also reduce inflammation and help loosen flakes of dead skin. Aspirin has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of conditions such as dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
Remedy #12. Zinc
This mineral can be commonly found in many anti-dandruff shampoos and treatments. A zinc deficiency is actually an important risk factor for the development of dandruff and other skin conditions.
Zinc works by strengthening your immune system and promoting cell growth and regeneration. It can also prevent fungal growth. If you want to increase your zinc intake naturally, try adding lean animal proteins, nuts, and whole grains to your everyday diet.
Final thoughts On Getting Rid Of Dandruff
Dandruff is an annoying but very common problem. It can also be a very stubborn condition, and it requires consistent treatment to be able to get rid of it. It would be wonderful if there was a miraculous treatment that could vanish dandruff immediately, but unfortunately, you will have to be patient to see results.
The great news is that there are many home remedies that can help you combat dandruff. Home remedies tend to be much milder and are less likely to cause irritation or allergies. They can also save you some money!
If your dandruff doesn’t respond to home remedies, consider going to a doctor for more aggressive treatment. After all, each individual reacts differently and in some cases, you could need a bit of professional help to get rid of dandruff.
Andrea, M.D is from Valencia, Venezuela. She is passionate about sexual health and education, and public health and global health. Additionally, she enjoys researching and learning about beauty, skincare, and cosmetic innovations. She has also volunteered in several NGOs in Venezuela. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, making desserts for her family, going to the beach, and spending time with her dog, Dorito.