Dandruff is an aesthetic problem that can lead to much discomfort and embarrassment. Fortunately, fighting it is relatively easy. In your quest to cure your dandruff, home remedies might be among your first options. Many will work. Others – like a lot of things out there – are frankly bunk. Here’s a closer look at what dandruff really is, what causes it, and why certain home remedies are more effective than others. Read on to discover how to fight it like a boss.
What Is Dandruff Exactly?
Dandruff is that flaky white stuff that falls out of the hair and sometimes leaves a light dusting on the shoulders. It may be itchy and accompanied by redness. It can occur anywhere you have body hair, but it’s most common on the scalp.
Officially, dandruff is considered to be a form of seborrheic dermatitis. This is a skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body and creates scaly patches and skin flaking. While it looks a lot like psoriasis, eczema, or an allergic reaction, it’s actually a different condition entirely.
Science doesn’t really know what causes dandruff (or seborrheic dermatitis broadly, for that matter). Popular opinion holds that dandruff is some sort of fungal infection, though that isn’t always true. Some speculated causes include:
- The connection between the mind and the skin is well-documented. We’ve known for decades that stress can exacerbate psoriasis and may play a role in the onset of other conditions.
- Some people may be prone to dry skin or sensitivities to products that result in outbreaks of seborrheic dermatitis.
- Dandruff is more frequently seen in cold, dry weather.
- Fungal infections. Some dandruff does seem to be the cause of native yeasts overrunning the skin’s natural flora.
- Oil or product build-up on the scalp. Some dandruff may be dried sebum that is shedding. The human scalp is very sebum rich and the inability to exfoliate due to thick hair may result in dandruff.
Dandruff (Usually) Doesn’t Come from Being Unclean
A common misconception about dandruff is that it’s a sign of a lack of hygiene. Usually, this is untrue. In fact, if you’ve got dandruff, chances are you’re doing nothing wrong. As shown, there are a variety of factors outside your control which may have contributed to it.
While it’s unsightly, it’s a really common condition that’s pretty easy to treat. Read on to discover five easy (and science-approved) ways to beat dandruff without driving yourself crazy.
Beat Dandruff with These 5 Easy Home Remedies
Dandruff isn’t fun, but in most cases, it’s not super serious. However, if you’ve found this article because you’ve tried literally everything and nothing is working, or if your scalp (or other areas of your skin) is red, you should see a doctor. Those are signs of psoriasis, eczema, or an actual fungal infection.
Otherwise, here are our five favorite home remedies for dandruff and a little bit about why they work.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV is a popular health tonic for a variety of ills. Whether stimulating digestion or helping reduce acne, it’s one of the first things many people reach for when solving a problem. As it goes, it turns out that it’s actually effective for managing dandruff.
Since it’s a fermented food, good quality ACV is loaded with live cultures, minerals, and the critical acetic acid. It’s this acid which is what makes it so great for haircare. Many hair problems, such as an oily or itchy scalp, are the result of hair that has become too alkaline in nature. A rinse with ACV can help reset that balance, reducing itchiness which may be causing you to dislodge sebum or product by scratching your scalp.
2. Coconut Oil
Like ACV, coconut oil is another well-regarded home remedy for dandruff. There is some evidence that shows that coconut oil is effective against dermatitis at large, particularly those caused by fungal infections. The exact mechanism for this remains unknown. However, as a moisturizing agent, it also brings relief to dryness which may be causing itchiness.
3. Dry Your Hair Right
If you’re still drying your hair with rough techniques like bath towels or blow dryers, you might be giving yourself dandruff. It can arise in super dry environments and adding more heat than you need is a recipe for an over-dried, parched scalp.
Try cutting back on the blow dryer and using a hair towel instead. This is a gentler, more effective way to get your hair dry without sacrificing precious moisture.
4. Minimize Your Stress
Are you running around all the time like a chicken with a liberated head? Your poor scalp is feeling it. Stress is known to cause a lot of health problems. Some research suggests that stress reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and the body’s natural defenses. That allows Malassezia, a natural fungus living on the skin, to grow out of control. The result? Dandruff – and sometimes also psoriasis.
5. Use the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’ve tried a handful of dandruff home remedies and nothing is really working, check the products that you’re using. You may be using something that is drying your hair out, or to which you’re having an allergic reaction. Especially suspect that this may be the cause if you’ve recently switched up your products or added something to the mix.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use a dandruff shampoo. You can acquire these easily at any grocery store, and they’re formulated to be effective. Simply replace your usual shampoo for the time being and apply the rest of your beauty routine as normal.
Don’t Get Down About Dandruff
There are a bunch of home remedies for dandruff out there but not everything is going to be effective. Hopefully, you’re now armed with a few tried-and-true tactics that science supports. Although unsightly, dandruff is a common condition and one that’s easy to handle. Don’t get down about dandruff – beat it like a boss queen instead.
Make sure you’re giving your hair everything it needs. Upgrade your pillowcase and your hair towel today to get more beautiful hair every day.