If you are one of the estimated the up to 50% of people who suffer from the dry flaking and itchy scalp called dandruff at some point in their lives, then you are not alone. There are numerous over the counter anti dandruff hair care products sold in supermarkets and drug stores. This is not the end of the story, there are numerous natural remedies for dandruff. Many, you will find, use common ingredients found in your home today.
While the causes of dandruff may vary, there is general agreement on the actual condition. Normally, you will naturally replace your skin over the course of approximately 30 days, this includes the skin on your scalp, a process slow enough to be virtually invisible.
Dandruff is a condition of accelerated skin life cycle. The skin cell cycle can be reduced to as few as 2-7 days. Suddenly this overproduction of skin cells leads to the embarrassing flakes that are visible in your scalp and on your clothes.
Unfortunately, there are no known cures for dandruff. But there are many natural remedies for dandruff to minimize and control it.
Stress, diet and dandruff
Be sure to eat healthy. Most natural remedies for dandruff are topical, requiring you to apply a variety of solutions directly to your hair and scalp. However, the starting point for long term control of your dandruff is your diet. Remember, you are what you eat, so eat healthy. Foods rich in zinc and vitamin B6 are particularly important. Be sure to include green leafy vegetables as well as fish or coconut oils. Protein rich foods such lean meat, fish or beans are also important for healthy hair and scalp.
Stress, a contributing factor in many health problems, is also believed to contribute to dandruff. Learn to control your stress. Work through what is troubling you. A regular routine that includes exercise, meditation or yoga can help reduce stress and contribute to your overall health.
Vinegar and warm water rinse
Try rinsing your hair with warm and vinegar. This is probably the most common of the natural remedies for dandruff you can find. A weekly vinegar rinse is an easy and common anti-dandruff method and is not as harsh on your hair as some shampoos you can buy. Either Apple Cider Vinegar or just plain white vinegar will work.
A vinegar rinse will not only remove the dry flaking skin on your scalp but will also work as fungicide. An overabundance of the microscopic yeast-like fungus (malassezia), which naturally occurs on the skin surface of all people, can cause irritation and accelerated skin growth at the source of dandruff.
Mix the vinegar with warm water at a one to one ratio. Usually a half cup of each, providing you with one cup of rinse, is sufficient. But if you need more, just keep the same proportions. Work the solution into your hair and scalp for a few minutes and rinse with water only. Allow the vinegar solution to stay in your hair for at least 8 hours before washing your hair with soap and water.
Try a daily baking soda shampoo
Replace your daily shampoo with a baking soda solution. Among the many uses of baking soda, it acts as an exfoliator to remove dried dead skin, clean the scalp and reduce the levels of oil in your hair and on your scalp. If you must use your regular shampoo, you can mix a table spoon of baking soda in your hand and apply as normal. Work this solution into your hair and scalp for a few minutes and rinse with warm water. You can then apply your conditioner as normal.
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water. You can put this into an old shampoo bottle and shake it well for easy mixing and use. You can add some rosemary oil to give the solution a nice aroma.
The salt water cure
Use the salt water cure. You can use Epsom salt or common house salt. Use the salt rinse a pre wash application. The salt acts as an exfoliator to remove dried out dead skin cells and removing excess oils that cause dandruff.
Try mixing 3 tablespoons of salt with warm water. Apply this solution to your dry or slightly damp hair for a few minutes. Then rinse and immediately shampoo your hair. You can use your baking soda mix here if you would like.
Tea tree oil helps heal your scalp
Tea tree oil can also act as an anti-fungal agent to reduce the amount of malassezia on your scalp. Tea tree oil has been used to help heal burns, cuts and bites. It is particularly useful if your scalp is sore and itchy.
NOTE: Tea tree oil should only be used as an external application and never swallowed under any circumstances.
Mix one tablespoon of tea tree oil with one cup of warm water. It is best to use a spray bottle to apply to your hair after shampooing. Pat dry your hair, but do not wash or rinse off the tea tree oil solution, let it stay until you next wash your hair.
Another use for aspirin
Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. Aspirin, that magic medicine has yet another use. It is probably the easiest of the known natural remedies for dandruff to use. Salicylic Acid, the active ingredient in many over the counter dandruff shampoos, is also found in large amounts in pure aspirin. The Salicylic Acid works as an anti-fungal agent to reduce high levels of the yeast malassezia on your scalp. Aspirin also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to help sooth your dry and itchy skin.
Crush two aspirin (you can put them between the folds of a towel) to a fine powder and mix with your regular shampoo. Be sure to work it in for a few minutes before rinsing out to give it time to do its work.
Fight back against dandruff with natural remedies
Dandruff, both uncomfortable and embarrassing, still remains a mystery as to its actual causes, and in fact, may be triggered by a variety of reasons. But the best news is that it can be controlled. In addition to commercial products there are numerous natural remedies for dandruff that are both inexpensive and easy to use.
What is your experience with dandruff? Have you had success with a particular method? Or, have you tried something that did not work? Is there a question you need answered? Others can benefit from your experience.
Feel free to add your experiences, so we can all benefit from what you have learned.