Dandruff, medically termed as seborrhea, is a condition characterized by tiny whitish flakes erupting from the scalp mainly due to dry skin, poor hair hygiene or an infection. It’s a common problem among Indians and while most people ignore it initially, it can become severe affecting your daily activities. The urge to scratch the scalp in this condition is never ending and despite all your efforts to avoid scratching it may affect your focus on other aspects of your daily routine. Therefore, you need to treat it as soon as you notice it.
Now there are several over-the-counter medicated shampoos in the market that claim to treat and eliminate dandruff but not all shampoos are suitable to everyone. Besides, the chemicals in shampoo may impact your hair negatively and lead to hair fall. So, if you want to treat dandruff using medication it is best that you visit a hair and skin expert and use the shampoo prescribed to you.
Apart from medical route, dandruff can be treated using natural home remedies if it is not severe. Here are some tried and tested home remedies for dandruff that you can use.
- Egg whites and lime juice: Egg whites are rich in a protein called biotin and can provide the scalp with lacking proteins which may lead to dandruff.
How to use: Make a mixture of egg whites and lime juice and apply it to your scalp. Keep it for 30 minutes and then rinse off with water. You can use a mild shampoo to get rid of traces of egg whites. This treatment is highly effective and recommended in Ayurveda for dandruff.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature, making it a perfect remedy for treating dandruff. It helps get rid of the dead skin cells off your scalp that form the white flakes erupting in dandruff.
How to use: You can simply make a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in equal quantities. Apply the mixture to wet hair after you wash them. Gently massage the scalp. Keep it for about 15 minutes before you rinse off.
- Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds or methi seeds have been mentioned in Ayurveda for its anti-dandruff properties several times. The seeds are rich in nicotinic acid and protein content, both of which prevent dandruff and other hair problems.
How to use: Soak methi seeds overnight and then grind them to make a smooth consistency paste. You can apply this paste directly to the scalp. Leave it for half an hour and then rinse off with water. You can use mild shampoo to clear the scalp.
- Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have the ability to moisturize the scalp and reduce dryness which leads to flaky scalp. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent which reduces reddening due to itch scalp. It effectively helps in maintaining healthy hair follicles.
How to use: You can apply flaxseed oil directly to your scalp before washing them. Alternatively, you can make flaxseed gel at home by mixing one-fourth cup of flaxseed to two cups of water. Heat the mixture and add one tablespoon of lemon juice to it. Keep stirring until it forms a gel like consistency. You can apply this mixture to your scalp once it cools down.
- Neem: If your dandruff is caused by a fungal infection, you can use neem to get rid of it. Neem has antimicrobial and antifungal properties that can also help prevent dandruff.
How to use: You can apply neem oil directly to your scalp before washing your hair. Alternatively, you can apply neem juice by crushing some neem leaves and adding some water or lime juice to it. before you rinse it off, Leave it for 10-15 minutes.
- Green tea: Green tea is an antioxidant and antifungal agent that can help in treating a flaky scalp. Studies have shown that green tea is anti-inflammatory in nature and rich in several key factors that are required to maintain healthy hair follicles, supporting hair growth. It also helps balance excess oil secretion by hair follicles and prevents recurrence of dandruff.
How to use: Use green tea bags dipped in hot water. Keep until the colour of the water changes to dark mixture of green tea in water. Apply this mixture to your scalp once it has cooled down. Keep it for 30 minutes and then gently rinse off.
- Aloe vera: There are several studies which have highlighted the role of aloe vera in the treatment of dandruff. Aloe vera reduces itchiness and flakiness of scalp by moisturizing the scalp to a great extent. It is naturally soothing and anti-inflammatory in nature which can be helpful in get rid of those persistent flakes.
How to use: You can directly use aloe vera gel by mixing it with 2-3 drops of castor oil, tea tree oil or rosemary oil. Massage the scalp with this mixture and then wash off with a mild shampoo.
Despite using these natural remedies, if your dandruff persists, it is best to take expert advice and get it treated medically.
Dietician Arti Jain
MSc (Dietetics), PG Dip(Nutrition), Diabetic Educator (USA), International Certified Obesity Management (Australia), International Sports Nutrition ( California), Dip in Skin Aesthetics & Trichology