Photo credit: Image by Volkan Olmez
First of all what is it and why do we have it?
Dandruff has two causes: The first is related to a dry scalp caused from conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, all of which in essence, can be categorized as “internal inflammation”. The second cause is set off by the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called “malassezia”, which leads to an accumulation of dead skin cells that flake off.
When seeing dandruff many people's reaction is to run to the store and purchase an anti-dandruff shampoo. But this solution only perpetuates the dry-scalp cycle by stripping the hair of its sebum (natural hair oil).
We want oil in our hair
The natural hair oil that our body produces called sebum is essential for keeping our hair healthy. Over-washing combined with some of the harsh chemicals in shampoo’s strip away those oils leaving our hair unmanageable.
How to treat Dandruff Naturally
The way to treat dandruff is by addressing it at the root cause.
1. Treat inflammation: if you are eating gluten, dairy, drinking excess alcohol and coffee you will want to stop for a period of time until the condition stabilizes. Adding green juices and green plant foods will also help alleviate inflammation in the body.
2. Treat fungal overgrowth: there are various products that can be used on the scalp that are anti-fungal and do not strip the hair of oils.
Tea Tree Oil - This strong antifungal oil is an effective dandruff treatment. Mix only a few drops with coconut oil and massage it into the scalp no more than once or twice a week. Let the oil sit on the head for about 30 minutes and then wash and rinse.
Coconut Oil - Coconut oil not only has antifungal properties but also moisturizes a dry scalp and can stop the itching. Rub some oil onto the hair and scalp and let soak overnight. Rinse after off in the morning as usual. Do this two or more times a week for best results.
Indian Lilac - Indian Lilac (also know as neem) can be used as a wonderful rinse. This tree leaf has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it a powerful anti-dandruff (and anti-lice) herbal remedy. Boil a handful of the leaves in 4 cups of water, cool, strain, and use two to three times per week.
Aspirin - Seems odd right? But Aspirin actually works in eliminating dandruff and is commonly used in dandruff shampoos. This is because it contains salicylic acid. This helps to exfoliate the scalp and eliminate dry skin cells. Shampoo’s however will tend to over-sensitize the scalp and imbalance sebum production. For a home remedy crush two aspirins and let them dissolve in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and rub into scalp instead. Let sit for 30 minutes then rinse.
3. Treat Dryness: Maintain optimal sebum production by using no-poo instead of shampoo. No-poo is made by mixing baking soda and apple cider vinegar and using it as a replacement to your regular shampoo. Apple cider vinegar is a very effective fungicide. Baking sodas’ pH level helps leave your hair and scalp clean and healthy. The combination of these two ingredients balances pH levels, reduces itching, flaking, and normalizes the production of sebum.