At some point in our lives, we have all experienced dandruff–those tiny, white flakes that appear on our scalp and land on our shoulders causing us much embarrassment. But what causes dandruff, how do we get rid of it, and how can we prevent it in the future? We asked Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, Mumbai for help.
Causes of dandruff
The reason behind dandruff is still a mystery. Its appearance is associated with increased oil production and yeast. Dandruff is not contagious and does not spread on touch. Common reasons behind dandruff include:
- Oily skin
- Oily scalp
- Poor hygiene
- Hot and humid, or cold and dry weather
- Infrequent and improper shampooing
- Poor immune system
- Chronic illness
- Lack of sun
Treatment of dandruff
Some natural home remedies you can try to get rid of dandruff:
Neem leaves: There are two ways you can use neem leaves to kill dandruff from the root. One is to make a paste of fresh neem leaves, apply to scalp as a mask, leave it on for about 30 minutes, and then rinse out your hair. The second way is to boil some neem leaves along with coconut oil, strain and cool the mix, and apply on scalp regularly before shampooing your hair.
Onion juice: Grate and squeeze an onion, and apply the juice to your scalp. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash your hair. Onion juice helps in reducing hair fall too.
Tea tree oil: Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo and you will see the effects almost immediately.
Baking soda: Apply some baking soda to the scalp and rinse. No need to shampoo. Your hair will be dry for a few washes, but after that the scalp will be dandruff free and your hair will be soft and shiny.
Apple cider vinegar: Mix one cup apple cider vinegar with two cups of water. Spritz it on your scalp before using shampoo.
Crude honey mixed with warm water: For immediate relief from an itchy scalp.
Lemon: Rub two tablespoons of lemon juice onto your scalp, leave it on for 15 minutes, and wash with a mild shampoo.
Curd: Apply curd on your hair like a mask and leave it on for one hour. Wash with a mild shampoo.
Anti-dandruff shampoos to the rescue!
There are many over the counter dandruff shampoo in the market. Look out for these ingredients:
Pyrithoione zinc shampoos: These are antifungal and antibacterial .
Salicylic acid shampoos: These tend to leave the hair dry and you will need to use a conditioner after every use.
Ketoconazole shampoos: They are broad spectrum and work very well for dandruff.
You can also treat skin inflammation by using hydrocortisone 1% for two to four weeks.
How to keep dandruff at bay:
Maintain proper scalp hygiene at all times
- Shampoo correctly according to your hair type
- Include probiotics in your diet
- Shampoo at least twice a week
- Get some sun regularly
- Learn to manage stress
- Consult a dermatologist if the problem escalates or does not go away with home remedies