Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition; it is usually accompanied by itching and it causes the skin on your scalp to flake. It can be embarrassing but it is not life threatening nor will it cause you to lose your hair. Problem with dandruff is that it is difficult to treat and can linger for a while on the scalp if it the underlying cause is not addressed properly.
Causes of Dandruff
There are several things that can cause dandruff; dermatologists have not yet come up with any specific underlying problem that can cause this condition.
Malassezia (yeast like fungus).
Malassezia can be found on the scalps of healthy adults and it usually does not cause any problems. However, if it feeds on the oils secreted by your hair follicles it grows out of control. When this happens, the skin on your scalp gets irritated and this in turn will cause more skin cells to grow. The extra skin cells then die and fall off , when it clumps with the oil from your hair and scalp, it appears white, flaky and oily, it closely resembles the flakiness that can be seen from sebhorrheic dermatitis.
Seborrheic Dermatitis (irritated oily skin).
This is probably one of the most frequent causes of dandruff. It appears with flaky white or yellow scales and the skin is usually greasy and irritated. This condition can occur on different parts of the body such as the groin area, the eyebrows, sides of your nose and back of your ears. When it occurs on the scalp usually it is accompanied by severe itching.
This skin disorder is very similar to sebhorrheic dermatitis especially if it occurs only on the scalp. They look like the same condition when on the scalp however, psoriasis is an accumulation of dead skin cells that form thick, silvery scales.
Eczema affects people in different forms, with one of the most common being scalp eczema. The scalp is particularly susceptible because the skin of the scalp is different from the rest of the body. The scalp has a very rich supply of grease and oil from the sebaceous glands and the hair follicles. If you have eczema anywhere on your body, it could also be on your scalp, possibly leading to the development of dandruff.
Contact Dermatitis (sensitivity to hair products)
Sometimes sensitivities to certain ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes, especially paraphenylene diamine (PPD), can cause a red, itchy, scaling scalp. Shampooing too often (with harsh shampoos) or using too many styling products also may irritate your scalp, causing dandruff.
Not cleansing scalp often enough.
If you don’t regularly wash your hair, oils and skin cells from your scalp can build up, causing dandruff. There are very effective ways to cleanse the scalp without using harsh shampoos. Find very mild cleansers to wash the scalp and do so fairly often especially if you have used a number of products on the hair.
Homemade Solutions for Dandruff
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a known anti-fungal agent, it has been proven to be effective against dandruff due to its ability to repress malassezia, the most common cause of the condition. Additionally, tea tree oil is very effective against eczema and sebhorreic conditions. Just a little works wonders and should be used sparingly, especially when used full strength on any area of the skin especially where you scratched. Dilute two drops tea tree oil to one-tablespoon aloe vera gel and massage gently into affected areas.
Fenugreek seeds are a very common folks remedy for dandruff. Fenugreek can be found in most supermarkets or health food stores, soak two tablespoons of the seeds overnight in water and ground into a fine paste in the morning. The paste should be applied all over the scalp especially in the areas where your scalp is hardest hit. It should be left on for half an hour, after which thoroughly wash it from the hair with warm water. You will need to use this anti dandruff treatment at least twice a week for the first two weeks and then once a week for another two weeks. You could also use the water that you soak the seeds as an after-shower hair tonic. After you shampoo your hair, allow it to dry naturally and then soak a cotton ball in this liquid and apply it to your scalp.
Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a cup of cool water and give your hair a last rinse, take care to massage it gently in the scalp. This not only leaves the hair glowing but also removes stickiness and prevents dandruff. It also balances the pH on your scalp. This is very useful in oily dandruff conditions and is a great preventative remedy. If you start getting the flakes start this immediately. Lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice, make sure that they are organic.
Beet is a very resilient vegetable, it is great to give hair sheen and make it lustrous but it is also good for dandruff. Blend and strain beet juice and apply it to scalp overnight with two drops of peppermint oil. Massage mixture in hair and wash out the morning after, you can put excess on your hair ends. Will give your hair body and incredible sheen.
It has all been said already, eat a balanced diet, cut back on styling products- less is more, use milder more natural cleansers, massage the scalp, wash hair frequently especially if you exercise vigorously, do not leave oils or other products on the scalp that can block the pores.