How many times have you seen those shampoo ads on TV claiming to treat your dandruff in three washes and how many times have you spent those precious bucks buying them hoping to get rid of those itchy white flakes, dandruff! No doubt, there are shampoos that prevent dandruff but then you must know the right ingredients in the shampoo crucial for removing that ugly dandruff from your hair. And that’s not all you must know. You should also know that shampoos are only a support to clean off that dandruff and that you should prevent them through other means too. If you really want beautiful hair, of course, without dandruff, you’ll have to control dandruff and not only wash them off. Now the question is how to prevent dandruff? The logical answer to that question should be, you must know the causes of dandruff so that you keep those skin flakes off your hair by avoiding those causes. And the moment you note those first symptoms of dandruff, you should immediately take steps to cure them. For this again, you must know to identify the symptoms of dandruff. What benefit will you get by acting swiftly? You save all your troubles- scalp itchiness, irritation, embarrassment and even some money that goes into buying expensive hair products or medicine that you might need if your dandruff goes out of control! That’s enough reason to know the causes, symptoms and home remedies as well as best shampoos for dandruff prevention, I hope!
Educate yourself about what causes dandruff
Your scalp, like other body parts, continuously form skin cells and in turn dead skin cells too. So, it’s normal if your scalp sheds dead skin flakes but only till then when it’s very few, not even noticeable unless you pay close attention. The problem arises when this shedding of dead skin becomes faster. They become easily noticeable. This is when oil secreted from scalp clumps the skin cells together and they appear as white flakes. If you do not clean hair regularly, oil builds up and causes dandruff. Poor hygiene, thus, is the foremost cause of dandruff, so keep your hair clean and shampoo them regularly to prevent dandruff. However, there are many other reasons that may also lead to dandruff.
Dry Skin: If you have dry skin, there’s all probability for you to get dandruff. Sometimes environmental factors such as cold air during winters or rooms that are overheated and even air-conditioned surroundings can give you dry skin. When your other body parts, say legs or hands, become dry or itchy, you should check for dandruff in your hair too. Dandruff caused by dry skin is usually smaller and drier rather than oily.
Inadequate Shampooing: We have already discussed this. However, this point finds its place in the list of causes for dandruff just to show how important it is to shampoo hair more often than not. Not shampooing regularly can lead the oil from your scalp build up around the dead skin causing dandruff.
Oily Skin: If you have oily skin and wondering why on earth then you get dandruff when you don’t have dry skin, you must know that oily skin too causes dandruff which is called seborrheic dandruff. And worse, this type of dandruff not only attacks your scalp but also other body parts rich in oil glands like eyebrows, the sides of your nose, back of the ear, groin, chest and even armpits. In such case, you get dandruff which is red, greasy and covered with flaky white and sometimes yellow scales.
Skin Diseases: If you have certain skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or seborrheic dermatitis, you are prone to get dandruff. After all, your scalp too is the part of your bodily skin!
Yeast Fungi Overgrowth: The fungi Malassezia, which was earlier called Pityrosporum, is present on almost all healthy adults’ scalp without causing any harm. However, the overgrowth of this yeast fungi causes dandruff. The fast growth of this yeast is triggered by an imbalance in such factors as climate, heredity, diet, hormones and stress. Your body’s natural defence system fights this growth of the micro organism on your scalp and during the procedure, it produces symptoms of dandruff-like flaking, scaling and itching.
Identify symptoms of dandruff fast
As soon as you notice the first symptoms of dandruff, you should start treating them. By now, you know these symptoms very well. Yes, they are the, now very common, dry white skin flakes that show up in your hair, usually scattered all through your scalp and on shoulders. Sometimes, the symptoms also include itchy red or scaly scalp. Distinguishing between symptoms of dandruff due to different causes too is a task. We’ll help you though.
If you have dandruff due to seborrheic dermatitis (remember, oily skin also causes dandruff), symptoms will normally appear gradually. Your scalp will first become dry or greasy and will feel itchy. When the skin cells start dying, you’ll experience yellowish scales. If, however, you get a severe seborrheic dermatitis, these symptoms will affect your other body parts too and you may see yellow or reddish scales appearing on your hairline, in and around ears, or nose and even chest. Sometimes newborn babies to get dandruff that may reflect as a thick and crusty rash on their scalp, known as cradle cap. Watch for them too as your little one is not able to express his discomfort.
When you get dandruff due to skin disease psoriasis, dandruff appears as silver scales, sometimes also seen on the ears, palms, and soles.
Take steps to prevent dandruff naturally
Old saying but true- prevention is better than cure! Why not prevent dandruff! It’s far easier (and cheaper too!) Believe me, preventing dandruff is quite simple, just little changes in your lifestyle and habits.
Have healthy and balanced diet: We are what we eat. Don’t forget, your hair is also a part of your body and it too needs nourishment. Provide your hair with proper food. Include foods having zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins in your diet.
- For zinc, have poultry, nuts, beans, whole grains, dairy products, cereals, crab, lobster and red meat.
- For omega 3 fatty acid, you can have salmon fish, walnuts, broccoli, flax seeds, spinach, canola oil, kidney beans, cauliflower, kiwi, grape leaves etc.
- For B vitamins, go for eggs, legume, cabbage, fish, sweet potatoes, whole grain cereals, milk etc.
Keep stress at bay: Stress is bad, you know that. It leads to the weaker immune system making you prone to many diseases including skin diseases and even dandruff. So, manage stress well, don’t worry often. Try to remain happy and tension free. If required, learn stress management techniques like meditation and breath exercises, yoga etc.
Choose hairstyle products with caution: What your hairspray, styling gels, hair wax and mousses do is give your hair a temporary attraction apart from making them oilier by building up on your scalp. It’s better to avoid these hairstyle products or minimize their use on rare occasions. If you need to use them, go for herbal ones that have natural products in them. And don’t forget to shampoo your hair after the day ends when you have used such hair products. In fact, shampooing often is one of the major steps that you can take to prevent dandruff.
Shampoo Regularly: The need for shampooing regularly can’t be overemphasized when it comes to preventing dandruff. Shampooing not only cleanses your hair and scalp but also controls the amount of oil that can build up to form dandruff. However, do not use any or every shampoo. Harsh shampoos are one of the causes of dandruff as they make your scalp dry enough to encourage dandruff. Use mild shampoos as per your hair texture type. If you have dry hair, there are lots of shampoos these days that come with moisturising effects. Oily hair too can have their own genre of shampoo to control the oil secretion from their overactive glands. If you already have dandruff, you can even use anti-dandruff shampoos that come with special ingredients to cure, control and prevent dandruff. However, there are so many brands and types of even anti-dandruff shampoos these days that you might get confused regarding which one to choose and which one to leave! So, here we help you choose the best anti-dandruff shampoo for your hair.
The best anti-dandruff shampoo for you is….
The one that suits your hair and cures the cause that has lead to dandruff in your scalp! I know, you were expecting the name of the best anti-dandruff shampoo but just as not all dresses suit your body, not all shampoos are meant just for your hair. You might need to try out different shampoos before confidently declaring, “this is the best anti-dandruff shampoo!” However, you don’t need to choose a shampoo blindly. If you know what ingredient is good for eliminating which cause of dandruff, you may narrow down upon your best-suited shampoo in no time. For this, you should first know the ingredients that go into an anti-dandruff shampoo. Almost all of the anti-dandruff shampoos contain at least one or more of such ingredients as zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide, coal tar, ketoconazole, salicylic acid, or tea tree oil. What are these ingredients meant for? Let’s know so that you can choose the best shampoo for your type of dandruff problem.
Zinc Pyrithione: This antifungal and antibacterial agent is used in many anti-dandruff shampoos so as to reduce the yeast and fungus production on your scalp. If you have flaking, scaling and itching, the most common symptoms for dandruff caused by an overgrowth of yeast, you can use such shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione. It will slow down the production of yeast. If however, you are pregnant or prone to allergies, consult your doctor before using this ingredient in shampoo. Some of the brands that contain this anti-dandruff ingredient include Head & Shoulders Shampoo and Selsun Salon shampoo.
Selenium Sulphide: If you have dry skin causing itching and flaking of the scalp, you can use a shampoo having selenium sulphide- an anti-infection agent. It slows down the rate of dead skin cells and also relieves you from itching and flaking. However, if you have colored your hair, use it cautiously as this ingredient may discolour your hair. Selsun Blue is one of the recognized anti-dandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulphide.
Coal Tar: You got it right, it’s the same coal tar that is used to seal your pavement! It is also used in some anti-dandruff shampoos. These tar based shampoos slow down the bacterial growth as well as loosen and soften scales and crust. If you have dandruff due to psoriasis or even seborrheic dandruff, you can opt for such shampoo. It will relieve you from itching, scaling, flaking and scaling due to dandruff. However, if you are allergic to sunlight, avoid using coal tar shampoos. Neutrogena T/Gel therapeutic shampoo is one brand that contains coal tar as its anti-dandruff ingredient.
Ketoconazole: This has been considered to be the most effective ingredient by many for anti-dandruff properties. It is antifungal that slows down the growth of bacteria and relieves from itching, flaking and scaling due to dandruff. It is good for seborrheic dandruff. Avoid using a ketoconazole shampoo if your scalp or skin is broken or swollen. One of the famous ketoconazole shampoo is the Nizoral anti-dandruff solution.
Salycylic Acid: Such shampoo can be more aptly said ‘scalp scrubs’ as they cause the skin to swell, soften, and then peel in areas where it is applied. It is best for dandruff caused by psoriasis as it helps in eliminating scales. However, it may leave the scalp drier and your hair may need conditioning to relieve you from this dryness. Such shampoo should not be used for babies below 2 years of age. Neutrogena T/Sal Anti-Dandruff Shampoo also contains this ingredient along with coal tar.
Tea Tree Oil: Shampoo brands are increasingly adopting tea tree oil for making their anti-dandruff hair products. Its antifungal, antibiotic and antiseptic properties make it a perfect ingredient for an anti-dandruff shampoo. Himalaya Anti Dandruff Soothing and Moisturising Shampoo and Avon Naturals shampoo extensively use this ingredient.
If you have noticed, tea tree oil is the only natural ingredient from among all the other ingredients that we have discussed till now. Even commercial products have started using herbal ingredients! Why not, then discuss some of the home remedies for dandruff so that if you don’t like using chemical stuff, you can opt for natural remedies and yet get rid of your ugly dandruff.
Some Natural Home Remedies for Dandruff
The best home remedy for dandruff is, yet again I repeat, washing your hair often. If needed, wash it everyday but with a mild shampoo. Also, never ever use hot water to wash your hair. It leaves it dry, prone to dandruff. If you still see those itchy flakes on your scalp and shoulders, try these home remedies.
Don’t just eat your yogurt away…
Use it to wash and condition your hair too. How? We’ll tell you. First note, what all you need:
Now off to the method for using these natural ingredients to cure dandruff.
- Wash and rinse your hair, rubbing gently the scalp too with shampoo and water.
- Apply yogurt to your scalp and leave for about 20 minutes.
- Again wash the hair with water. If needed use some shampoo too.
Take out that Aspirin from First Aid Box…
Aspirins can not only relieve you from headaches but from head dandruff too! Although not a natural ingredient, it can sure be included in the list of home remedies for dandruff. After all, you are not popping these pills for a headache!
What will you need:
- Two Aspirins
What you should do:
- Make a fine powder of aspirins.
- Take out the required amount of shampoo in a bowl, glass or whatever you feel you’ll be comfortable with.
- Add the aspirin powder to your shampoo.
- Apply and leave this mix on your head for about 2 minutes.
- Now wash off with water. It’s that simple!
- Do this each time you shampoo your hair till the time all your dandruff is gone.
Apple Cider Vinegar is good too….
This vinegar has been an ingredient for many home remedies, not just dandruff! You too can use this wonderful thing to cure dandruff. You just need:
- Cold Water
- Water (for rinsing)
What to do with them?
- Shampoo your hair and rinse it thoroughly with water
- Mix 2 cups of apple cider vinegar with two cups of cold water.
- Rinse your hair again with this mixture of vinegar and water.
- Alternatively, take 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar and apply it to your scalp.
- Massage scalp gently with your fingers.
- Wait for a couple of minutes.
- Now use shampoo and water to wash off your hair.
Give a good coconut oil massage to your hair…
This is what women do in India, actually did in India. I have never heard any complaint from my mother or grandmother regarding dandruff. They used to massage their hair with coconut oil every two to three days. Some of them even did it daily. We, on the contrary, do not find time to massage our hair but if you want the cheapest, sure shot remedy for dandruff, you must do it.
You only need:
- Coconut Oil
What will you do then?
- Take a little coconut oil in your palms and apply to your scalp and hair too.
- Massage gently with your fingers.
- Once you realize, your hands feel dry, take some more oil.
- Massage again.
- Do it for about 20-30 minutes.
- Do not wash off hair immediately. Let the oil be there for about two to three hours. Better if you leave it overnight.
- Now wash off the hair with shampoo and water.
- Make it a habit to massage with coconut oil at least twice a week to not let dandruff come back once it has gone.
Take help from lemon juice and fuller’s earth…
They are wonderful ingredients for not only hair but also for the skin. So take:
- Lemon Juice
- Fuller’s earth
Now proceed with the method:
- Make a paste of lemon juice and fullers earth, enough to cover your scalp and hair.
- Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp.
- Leave for 30-40 minutes.
- Wash off with shampoo and water.
- If you have dry skin, do not use fillers earth as it takes oil out of your skin. In such case, use only lemon juice to rub your scalp and hair.
Bitter Fenugreek proves sweet for hair….
Fenugreek is a wonder spice that works as well in cooking as it does in natural remedies for many conditions, including dandruff.
You need to spend a little more time to do this remedy:
- Soak the fenugreek overnight.
- Make a paste by grinding it with water.
- Apply this paste to your scalp.
- Leave for 30 minutes.
- Wash off with shampoo and water.
- Repeat this once a week for at least four to five weeks to completely get rid of dandruff.
Make use of natural antibacterial Neem leaves…
Neem or Margosa leaves have natural antibacterial properties that you can use to get rid of your dandruff. You need to have:
- Neem leaves
You should then:
- Boil the Neem leaves in water for about 30-40 minutes.
- Let the water get cool.
- Now separate the leaves with the help of a sieve. Collect the water in another bowl.
- Crush the boiled leaves to make a paste.
- Apply this paste to your scalp.
- Leave it for 30 minutes.
- Wash off with water. You can use the water that you got after boiling the leaves.
- Once again rinse with clean water.
- If possible, do not shampoo the same day.
- Next day, shampoo your hair.
- Do this for at least four weeks, once or twice a week.
Understanding dandruff is more important when it comes to treat and prevent dandruff. Once you understand the causes, you can yourself know what types of ingredients you can use for home remedies or what kind of anti-dandruff shampoo to use for curing and preventing dandruff. The prime mantra, however, is to keep your hair clean so that you do not build up oil, dust etc. that may lead to dandruff!