Dandruff may be the result of a dry scalp, or a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. It could also be caused by eczema, psoriasis, or, very commonly, an overgrowth of a yeastlike fungus called malassezia. (Here are 5 more surprising causes of dandruff.) Drugstore dandruff remedies might include shampoos with zinc pyrithione, which targets fungus and bacteria; ketoconazole, which also fights fungus; coal tar and selenium sulfide, which slow the growth and die-off of skin cells on your scalp; and salicylic acid, which loosens flakes so they can be washed away. These are the best dandruff shampoos for your type of dandruff. Read on for the trusted at-home dandruff remedies.
Aspirin contains the same active ingredient (salicylic acid) as many medicated dandruff shampoos. Keep flaking in check by crushing two aspirins to a fine powder and adding it to the normal amount of shampoo you use each time you wash your hair. Leave the mixture on your hair for 1-2 minutes, then rinse well and wash again with plain shampoo. Here are some more amazing uses for aspirin.
Tea tree oil
One study showed that shampoos with just 5 percent tea tree oil significantly improve the severity of dandruff. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your favorite shampoo as you wash normally. Tea tree oil can actually reduce the effects of several unpleasant conditions.
Your kitchen could hold the key to an itch-free, flake-free scalp. Some ingredients you use every day double as effective dandruff remedies—like baking soda. Wet your hair and then rub a handful of baking soda vigorously into your scalp. Skip the shampoo and go right to rinsing. Baking soda reduces overactive fungi that can cause dandruff. Your hair may get dried out at first, but after a few weeks your scalp will start producing natural oils, leaving your hair softer and free of flakes. Check out these other ingenious uses for baking soda.
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Apple cider vinegar
Dr. Mehmet Oz swears by apple cider vinegar as a dandruff remedy, as the acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix a quarter cup apple cider vinegar with a quarter cup water in a spray bottle and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week. Learn more about the amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
To treat a bad case of dandruff, wash your hair with your regular shampoo, then rinse with an alcohol-based mouthwash. Follow with your regular conditioner. Mouthwash’s anti-fungal properties help prevent dandruff-causing yeast from growing. Here are some myths about mouthwash that just aren’t true.
Crunchybetty.com says coconut oil is a “tried and true” dandruff treatment, and it smells nice too. Before showering, massage 3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil into your scalp and let sit for about an hour. Shampoo normally. You can also look for a shampoo that already contains coconut oil. Coconut oil has lots of other great beauty uses as well.
Dandruff relief may be no farther away than your refrigerator, if you have lemons on hand (which you should, because they have lots of handy uses!) Just massage 2 tablespoons lemon juice into your scalp and rinse with water. Then stir 1 teaspoon lemon juice into 1 cup water and rinse your hair with it. Repeat this daily until your dandruff disappears. Lemon’s acidity helps balance the pH of your scalp, which helps keeps dandruff at bay.
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The abrasiveness of ordinary table salt works great for scrubbing out dandruff flakes before you shampoo. Grab a saltshaker and shake some salt onto your dry scalp. Then work it through your hair, giving your scalp a massage. You’ll find you’ve worked out the dry, flaky skin and are ready for a shampoo. Pair one of our other dandruff remedies with your shampoo for the full treatment. Dandruff relief is one of dozens of handy ways to use salt.
All of these dandruff remedies will make the dandruff go away, but aloe vera doubles as an itch-fighter. Stop yourself from scratching by massaging aloe vera into your scalp before shampooing. The cooling effects of aloe vera will soothe the itch. If you’re not sure why your head is itchy, here are some more possible reasons you feel like scratching your scalp.
Garlic’s antimicrobial properties are perfect for eliminating dandruff-causing bacteria. (They make it a great remedy for UTIs, too!) Crush garlic and rub it into your scalp. To avoid that potent smell, healwithfood.org suggests mixing crushed garlic with honey and massaging into the scalp before washing as usual. In addition to being one of the best dandruff remedies, you can use garlic for your hair, skin, and even immune system.
An overnight olive oil soak is a folk remedy for dandruff. Massage about 10 drops into your scalp and cover with a shower cap overnight. Follow your regular shampoo routine in the morning. For a quicker cure, look for a shampoo that contains olive oil. But you should also keep some olive oil on hand so you can use it for these 7 other things.