Dandruff is a common fungal infection on the scalp. This fungus is called Malassezia which feeds on the excess oils on the scalp (sebum), multiplies, and causes dry, itchy, and irritable scalp. Dandruff usually thrives in places rich in oil glands. Typically, an Itchy and flaky scalp are one of the major symptoms of this condition but you could also experience greasy patches on the scalp and tingling skin.
WHAT CAUSES DANDRUFF
Dandruff may be caused by certain factors like the environment, eating habits, or stress. Whatever the underlying causes, this can happen to anyone and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have been struggling with dandruff, here are some reasons why.
- Reaction to harsh products
Your hair might be reacting to the products you use on it. This is because these products contain harsh chemicals and ingredients that are bad for our hair and scalp. For example, shampoos that contain sulphate have the tendency to irritate the scalp and trigger dandruff. Other products like leave-in conditioners or gels which cause product build up on the scalp and hair also lead to dandruff.
- Not washing your hair often
Remember those times when you take out a protective style you had in for weeks and you notice those flakes on your scalp. The reason for this is that you have worn those braids for a while and haven’t washed your hair. When you don’t wash your hair often, your scalp produces extra oil (sebum) and causes dandruff. Shampooing your hair too often could also irritate the scalp and cause dandruff. So, try to find a wash day routine that works for you, say washing your hair every 2-3 weeks.
- Diet & Nutrition
The kind of food you eat can sometimes affect your hair’s overall health. Foods that is rich in sugar increase the growth of yeast on the scalp which then leads to dandruff. Instead you should eat more foods containing iron, zinc, or vitamin B, all of which help the body fight dandruff.
- Hormonal imbalance
Your hormones are essential for the production of your scalp’s natural oils. These oils keep your hair and scalp moisturized and help prevent dandruff. Hormonal imbalances that occur during pregnancy, puberty, or menstruation can accelerate the growth of dandruff on the scalp. Your hormones also determine the amount of oil your scalp produces, when there is a hormonal imbalance, it produces excess oils and causes dandruff.
This may be hard to believe but stress is one of the effects of dandruff. When your body is experiencing stress, your immune system becomes more susceptible to disease and possibly the growth of dandruff on the scalp. Taking out time to destress is the best way to solve this. Watching your favourite movie, having enough rest or indulging in a little bit of self-care would be great for your overall health and hair.
HOW TO GET REID OF DANDRUFF
Before we get to natural remedies for dandruff, it is important to note that an itchy scalp may not always be a symptom of dandruff. An itchy scalp may be caused by factors like product allergy or dirty hair and scalp while dandruff is a result of a fungal infection. Here are a few natural hair routines you can try out to get rid of your dandruff.
- Exfoliate your scalp
Exfoliation helps to remove product build up and excess oil from the scalp. Regular exfoliating of the scalp with a good exfoliating brush will get rid of buildup and excess oil and aid the circulation of blood on the scalp. Little things like massaging the scalp weekly can also keep dandruff at arm’s length. Another great way to keep your scalp free of buildup or excess oils is to clarify your scalp often. You can switch your regular shampoo for a clarifying shampoo too.
- Allow your hair to breathe
- Try a coconut oil treatment
Coconut oil has many great benefits for the hair, one of those reasons is healing itchy, irritated scalp and preventing fungal growth. Due to its anti-fungal properties, coconut oil can heal dandruff and also moisturize dry scalp. To do the coconut oil treatment, take some coconut oil and massage onto the scalp for about 20 minutes. Then wash it off with a mild shampoo and repeat 2-3 times a week.
- Use tea tree oil
The tea tree oil is an essential oil which is added to most hair care products. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties which are excellent for treating dandruff. It also does the job of keeping the hair and scalp hydrated and relieving irritated, flaky scalp. Tea tree oil can also be used to fight acne and psoriasis. To get rid of your dandruff, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo or dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with some coconut oil and apply to your scalp 3-4 times a week. You can also opt for other oils like almond or jojoba oil for the dilution process.
- Use hair masks
A hair mask will provide your scalp with the nourishment it needs and keep your hair and scalp moisturized. A well-nourished and healthy scalp helps to reduce dandruff and eventually heal it. Find a simple DIY natural hair mask you can use, add it to your hair care routine, and show your hair some love once a week.
- Moisturizing with olive oil
Olive oil is a common remedy for dandruff. It has effective moisturizing properties which hydrates the scalp well and relieves dandruff. With olive oil you can restore your scalp to a healthier state. To use, heat some extra virgin olive oil till it is a little warm, massage it onto your scalp and wrap your hair with a towel. Leave it for about 45 minutes or overnight if you like and then wash off with shampoo. You should repeat this technique a few times per week.
- Use aloe vera
Aloe vera is known to treat skin, face, and hair conditions. When applied to the skin it can treat minor burns or cold sores. It is also used to treat acne and pimples on the face. Aloe vera has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which provides relief from dandruff and stops irritation on the scalp. You can purchase your aloe vera from the store or get it fresh from the aloe vera plant. To use, apply the aloe vera gel to your scalp and leave it in for 15 minutes before washing it off.
- Apply apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common natural remedy for dandruff too. The acidotic nature of vinegar helps to fast track the shedding process of dead cells on the scalp. It also helps to balance the skin’s pH to reduce the growth of fungus and eliminate dandruff. To use this remedy, mix equal amounts of Apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Then spritz it over your scalp and wrap your head with a towel for about 30 minutes before washing it off. You can do this routine 2-3 times every week.
- Add lemon juice to your routine
Lemon is an acidic fruit so invariably lemon juice contains acids that helps fight the fungus that causes dandruff. Lemon also restores the scalp’s pH balance and relieves itchy scalp. For application, use 2-3 spoonful of lemon juice and massage into the scalp thoroughly. Leave it in for about 20 minutes and then wash off. Repeat this process few times per week.
- Take some rest
Finally, the overall state of your body is a contributing factor to the health of your scalp and hair. When you are mentally and physically stressed, your body becomes weak and less equipped to fight off the fungal infections that cause dandruff. So, try to take breaks and get some rest to revitalize your body and get your energy levels up. Taking good care of your body is very important to the general health of your scalp and hair.
Keep in mind that getting rid of dandruff takes time and proper attention, you have to show some patience while waiting for these natural hair routines to do their work. Listen to how your scalp and hair reacts to any of the DIY remedies you use, if one solution isn’t effective, stop using it and try another remedy. Overall, paying attention to how your scalp responds to each routine will lead to a healthier, nourished scalp and hair.