What Is Dandruff
I am sure that everyone has heard the word ‘dandruff’ before – who knows, maybe you might be having an issue with it as you read this article. Let’s take a look at the definition of dandruff, how you can get it, and how you can get rid of it, and if there is a cure!
According to Wikipedia, ‘Dandruff a skin condition that affects mainly the scalp. Symptoms include flaking and sometimes mild itchiness. It can result in social or self-esteem problems. A more severe form of the condition, which includes inflammation of the skin, is known as seborrheic dermatitis.’
So, in other words, the old, dry skin cells that flake off the scalp is dandruff. Those same flakes can be small pieces or sometimes big pieces; sometimes the dry skin will break away from the scalp without any hair strands attached and sometimes, it can break away from the scalp with a few strands of hair attached to it. This is usually the more severe case of dandruff.
How Do You Get Dandruff
So how does this happen?
Well, dandruff can be caused by:
- dry skin
- seborrhoeic dermatitis
- inadequate cleansing of the scalp
- infrequently cleansing of the scalp
- sometimes using too harsh a shampoo product which dries the scalp
- a yeast-like fungus
One study  has been able to show that dandruff is caused by these 3 main agents:
- sebum or sebaceous secretions – an over-production in this case
- a metabolic by-product of skin micro-organisms (most specifically Malassezia yeasts)
- a person’s susceptibility and allergy sensitivity
What happens is this: every living being will have cell renewal/regeneration happening all the time. When this happens, the old cells or skin layers are pushed outward and become flakes. For some people, the flakes are minute and not very obvious. For others, their skin cells mature and shed in 2-7 days versus a month in some people. When this happens, the dead skin cells are shed in large, oily clumps (combined with the body’s natural oil/sebum production) looking white or gray on the scalp, skin, in the hair, and clothes. It can be itchy as well.
Is There A Cure For Dandruff?
To date, there is no cure, per se, for dandruff. There are treatments that you can try and hope that they will reduce the itching or redness and general discomfort that can sometimes be associated with dandruff. Medicated shampoos are the more common forms of treating dandruff. These anti-dandruff or anti-fungal shampoos may contain any of the listed ingredients below, and have been known to help provide relief:
- ketoconazole – an antifungal agent which can be used by most people affected with dandruff
- selenium sulfide – it reduces the production of natural oils on the scalp
- zinc pyrithione – it helps to slow down the yeast growth
- coal tar – a natural anti-fungal agent which causes the skin to shed dead cells from the top layer and slows skin cell growth
- salicylic acids – these acids help to remove dead skin cells on the scalp
- tea-tree oil – which is made from the Australian Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). It is anti-fungal, antibiotic, and antiseptic
Of course, there are some home remedies which can also help the itching and the general discomfort. I must warn you that in following any suggestions here, please consult with a medical representative as this is not a source of medical advice. Home remedies will also take some time and consistent treatments before you may start seeing noticeable results.
Neem or Indian Lilac Hair Rinse
Neem is a very popular herb that is used to help hair loss and itchy scalp issues.
About a handful of Neem leaves
Boil the water and then add the Neem leaves. Let it simmer on a low fire for about 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, strain the tea. Use the tea as a hair rinse at least two or three times a week after cleansing your hair.
Coconut And Rosemary Scalp Oil
Coconut is a wonderful oil. It is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Rosemary is another wonderful oil that also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties which helps with hair growth and scalp issues.
2 ozs coconut oil
1 oz rosemary essential oil
Combine the oils together. Use to massage the scalp. Leave on the scalp overnight if time allows, if not, cover with plastic cap for at least 1 hour. Rinse and then continue with your hair care routine. Do this scalp treatment at least once a week.
Apple Cider Vinegar is well known to help balance the pH balance of the scalp once applied. It also helps to inhibit the growth of yeast on the scalp as well as works as a cleansing agent.
2 tablespoons ACV
2 tablespoons water
15-20 drops of tea tree essential oil
Combine ingredients and then apply to the scalp. Massage for thorough coverage. Cover with a plastic cap for about 15 minutes and then rinse. Do this rinse two to three times a week. You can also do a simple ACV rinse if you don’t have enough time. Simply mix equal parts of water and ACV and then rinse hair after cleansing. You do not have to wash it out after this rinse. Your hair will be shiny and clean.
Baking soda is known as a mild exfoliant as it can help to remove dead cells as well as absorb excess oil from the scalp. It is also considered a good treatment for reducing the growth of fungi on the scalp.
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons ACV
4 ozs water
Mix the ingredients together and apply to the scalp with a gentle massaging motion. Let it remain on the scalp for a few minutes before rinsing. Do this treatment at least once a week for about one month. There is no need to shampoo after this treatment. You can actually do a deep conditioning step to help moisturize the hair.
My Final Thoughts On Dandruff
Having dandruff issues are certainly not a comfortable feeling – the itching and the tenderness can be very embarrassing as well as unsightly, depending on the extent of the case. Thankfully, I do not have dandruff issues, however, I do empathize with those who do, hence this article.
I hope the information provided here will be a source of healing for those who read it and apply the home remedies suggested. I would love to hear your experience and any feedback.
Thanks for reading.
Here are a few of the more popular premade medicated shampoos that can help with your dandruff treatment:
Image courtesy of CC Hmochoa95