It sure is quite annoying whenever you see white flakes every time you scratch your head, as if your scalp is currently experiencing winter. These flakes may sometimes find your shoulder an appealing spot to hang out, and it can be embarrassing when it is evident for all to see.
As it is a common problem worldwide, there are many shampoos and other treatments that claim to solve the woes of having dandruff. Ketoconazole shampoo does this by fighting off malassezia, the fungus that is among the primary causes of dandruff. However, some people report suffering from side effects when using the said shampoo, from irritation and hair discoloration, to more serious problems like rashes, hair loss, and even dizziness.
There are natural alternatives that can be used to treat dandruff, and most of it can be found in your home. They are easy and safe to use, and can also bestow other benefits on your hair as well.
This list is written for informational purposes only. Do not substitute it for actual professional advice. Always seek the opinion of experts about the alternatives mentioned here to avoid any complications associated with use.
Apple Cider Vinegar / White Vinegar
A common kitchen staple with a variety of uses outside the culinary, both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar can be used as treatment against those pesky white flakes on your scalp. It works by eliminating the skin that eventually becomes dandruff, and changing your scalp’s pH levels to prevent the growth of malassezia. Don’t use this hours before going out of your home, as you don’t want your hair to reek of vinegar. There are two ways on how to use vinegar for this purpose:
- Combine a half cup (or more, depending on your hair length) of warm water with the same amount of vinegar in a separate cup. Pour it on hair and gently massage for a couple of minutes before washing it off. Do not take a shower until at least 8 hours have passed. Do this procedure every week or two.
- In a spray bottle, mix ¼ cup of warm water and vinegar. Spritz on hair then wrap it on a towel for at least 15 minutes. Wash your hair afterwards. Repeat the procedure at least twice a week.
Another versatile household item that is part of many homemade remedy recipes. Baking soda not only exfoliates, it also acts as an effective fungicide on your scalp. It also has two ways of use:
- Directly apply baking soda on your hair, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off with water.
- Add a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water, stir, then use it as your everyday shampoo. Instead of a cup, you can also put it in an empty shampoo bottle, just shake vigorously prior to use.
Coconut oil has many health benefits when consumed or applied topically. Its virgin variant is regarded as having the superior quality with better vitamin and mineral content, thanks to a different extraction process than the one used in ordinary coconut oil, but virgin coconut oil is often the more expensive one. For dandruff, coconut oil contains potent antifungal properties and it also leaves a pleasant scent. Simply apply at least three tablespoons or more, again depending on hair length, and rinse after an hour. Expect an improvement on your scalp after a couple of days of consistent use.
The seeds of fenugreek are used as an ingredient in the cuisines of many different cultures. For the scalp, it contains amino acids, lecithin, and proteins that not only fight malassezia but also promote healthier and stronger hair growth.
- Soak up to two tablespoons of the seeds in two cups of water before going to bed. In the morning, drain the water and grind the now soft seeds until they become pasty in composition. Apply this paste on your hair, wait for an hour, then wash off.
- Instead of softening in water overnight, crush the seeds and mix them with warm coconut oil. Once it has cooled, apply it on your hair and wash off after two hours. Apple cider vinegar is a viable substitute for coconut oil.
It may sound as a surprise, but dandruff treatment is among this super herb’s list of problems that it can remedy. Aside from its excellent amount of vitamins and minerals that can nourish the hair, garlic’s antifungal properties effectively get rid of malassezia.
- Crush some garlic until it becomes pasty, then rub it on your scalp. Wash it off after a couple of minutes. If the strong smell worries you, add some honey on the paste. Allicin, one of garlic’s compounds that is antifungal, is released when the herb is crushed.
- Garlic also works its antifungal magic on the inside. Consume garlic cloves or add it on your dishes. It will also give you the added benefit of a healthy cardiovascular system and improved immune system.
The citric acid content of lemon balances the scalp’s pH levels, and it is also powerful enough to break down malassezia with constant use. Fresh lemon juice is free from chemicals, making it safe for your hair, and it also imparts a fresh smell after use. Do not use those touted as “fresh” but contain questionable ingredients, instead it is better to manually squeeze the juice out of the fruit itself.
- Rub two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice on your scalp and let it sit for one minute. Mix a cup of water with an equal amount of lemon juice and use it to rinse your hair.
- Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with warm coconut oil. Apply it on hair, let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. This process works slowly than other combinations, but rest assured that it is effective.
- Crush a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds until they become powder. Mix it with an equal amount of lemon juice, apply it on your hair, then wash off after 20 minutes.
- Mix four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with two tablespoons lemon juice. Dab a cotton ball on the combination and rub it on your hair.
The neem tree, or Indian Lilac, has been recognized in over a millennia for its vast medicinal uses. The oil derived from its fruit and seeds is an antifungal, and it helps prevent the spread of excess dandruff due to fungus. We recommend buying your neem oil from amazon here as it tends to be harder to find in stores and the quality can sometimes be questionable.
- Purchase neem oil from a health store. Dilute it with another oil such as coconut, jojoba, or olive, as it is too strong to be directly applied on hair. Wash your hair an hour after application.
- Steep neem leaves in hot water and leave it overnight. Strain the liquid afterwards into a different container and apply it on your hair. Let it sit for an hour then wash it off.
Much like coconut oil, olive oil bestows medicinal benefits internally and externally. It works by moisturizing areas on your scalp that are drying and flaking off, encouraging the release of larger dandruff and not smaller flakes. The process allows the dry spots to heal and usually sparks an end to the dandruff problem.
- Combine two tablespoons of the oil, then distilled water and apple cider vinegar in equal amounts. Stir properly then pour it on your damp hair while massaging it. Wait for at least 20 minutes before rinsing.
- Massage up to ten drops of olive oil on your hair and cover it with shower cap. Let it sit for up to eight hours, so this is best done prior to sleep. Thoroughly wash your hair afterwards as this procedure can leave it greasy.
- For something faster than the overnight method, and if you only have moderate dandruff, heat up to 3 ounces of the oil in a saucepan. Use only low heat on the stove. Once it is tepid, dab a cotton ball on the oil and rub it on your wet scalp only, avoid the hair strands. Let it work its magic for 30 minutes. You may use a shower cap to cover your hair. After 30 minutes, wash it off with your favorite gentle shampoo.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil has been used as a topical treatment for infections and wounds, and as remedy for dandruff, due toits potent antifungal properties. It is also very soothing, and promotes the growth of healthier hair. Be warned that tea tree oil should never be ingested. Similar to the Neem oil, you can get a very high quality tea tree oil on Amazon.com. Click this link to automatically get a huge discount on the oil.
- Mix 3ml of your favorite shampoo (make sure it is gentle) with a drop of tea tree oil in a bottle. Let it sit after application so the hair fully absorbs the combination, then rinse off.
- Combine a cup of water with one tablespoon of the oil in a spray bottle. Spritz on hair, gently massage, then let the hair absorb for a few minutes. Do not wash it off, instead just pat your hair dry.
Have you used any of these natural dandruff treatments? Do you have one that you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments below.