Have you ever felt your head itches, scratch it, and saw hundreds of tiny white particles fall from your hair? This is dandruff. It’s a common condition that over half the population deal with regularly. Those tiny white particles are actually dead skin cells.
Your skin cells are going through a continuous cycle of shedding dead cells and creating new ones. However, in people with dandruff this cycle is put into overdrive and your head starts getting rid of dead skin cells en masse. The more severe form of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. With this condition not only does your scalp itch, but it also become inflamed and swollen.
It’s not only humans that get dandruff either. Many animals do as well. Your cat may even get cat dandruff if it’s coat and skin aren’t properly cared for. There are many symptoms and causes of dandruff, and it is, in fact, very manageable.
Before we get into the meaty greasy of what this article will tackle, here is a navigational menu to help you reach out any section you want.
If you have dandruff, then you no doubt have noticed the constant itching your scalp feels all day. Every time you scratch you release more white particles. This is perhaps the most annoying symptom as it can be really bothersome trying to resist the urge to scratch your head.
The most noticeable symptom of dandruff are the white flakes that get in your hair and that come off your head whenever you scratch. These flakes often land on your shoulders and back, giving your shirt a distinct speckled appearance. It’s not a very good look. Depending on the person, it’s possible to get dandruff on the eyebrows and it’s even possible to get beard dandruff.
Your scalp, either because of the dandruff or because of your own scratching, may become red and a little swollen. This only causes it to itch even more, which causes you to scratch even more. This creates an endless cycle that can be as painful as it is futile.
No one knows exactly why some people are prone to dandruff and why some people aren’t. However, there have been numerous studies that suggest you can increase or lower your risk of dandruff depending on several factors and activities. As well, there are numerous causes that don’t have to do with you at all.
It’s been found that those with oily skin are more prone to experience dandruff in their lifetime. The oils in the skin combine with the dead skin cells in your scalp and harden to form large flakes that may be white or yellow.
If your scalp isn’t hydrated, the dryness can lead to more dead skin cells to gather and fall. Also, because the scalp has less moisture, it can’t protect itself as easily. Irritants can more easily penetrate a dry scalp than they could a moisturized scalp. Many of these irritants can even make your dandruff worse.
One of the irritants that can penetrate a dry scalp and make dandruff worse is Malassezia. Malassezia is a fungus, and it makes its home in oil rich areas of warm blooded animals like humans. Scalps with dandruff has a higher presence of Malassezia, and for many people removing this fungus actually decreases the symptoms of dandruff.
It’s very possible for dandruff to be the result of a medical condition or illness. Among the conditions that cause dandruff are psoriasis, eczema, ringworm, lupus, acne, and many autoimmune disorders. If your dandruff is particularly severe, or if nothing you do to treat it works, then consult your doctor. You may need to be looked at and prescribed medication.
Everyone wants to know how to get rid of dandruff fast. Thankfully there are several ways to treat dandruff with or without a medical professional’s help. There are medication, over the counter solutions, and a variety of home remedies to help you combat these embarrassing flakes.
This is perhaps the most common way dandruff is treated today. Sometimes, all you need to reduce dandruff is a daily cleaning of your hair and scalp with a gentle shampoo that reduces the oiliness of your skin might be all your need. However, if regular shampoo doesn’t help then it might be time to get a specialized dandruff shampoo. There are many ways shampoos decrease dandruff symptoms.
- Pyrithion Zinc Shampoos
These shampoos have zinc pyrithione in them which is an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Shampoos such as Head & Shoulders can reduce the amount of fungus (including Malassezia) that cause dandruff.
- Tar Shampoos
Tar shampoos use coal tar (created in the coal manufacturing process) to help reduce dandruff. It slows the death of skin cells and lowers flakes that way. Though it’s possible that these shampoos can discolor your hair.
- Salicylic Acid Shampoos
Salicylic Acid has been used for years to treat acne, and they work by scrubbing the scalp to get rid of existing flakes. However, Salicylic acid may leave your scalp dry and cause even more flakes. This is why you should use a conditioner afterward in order keep that from happening.
- Selenium Sulfide Shampoos
Anti dandruff shampoos such as Selsun Blue use selenium sulfide to slow down the death rate of skin cells and to get rid of Malassezia.
- Ketoconazole Shampoos
Shampoos like Nizoral have a broad-spectrum antifungal solution that kills a wide variety of fungal infections that can cause dandruff. Because of this, if your dandruff is caused by a fungus, they may work when other shampoos don’t.
- Tea Tree Oil Shampoos
There have been studies that have suggested that tea tree oil can help reduce dandruff. Tea tree oil is made from Australian tea tree leaves and have been used for hundreds of years as an antiseptic, antifungal agent, and as an antibiotic. Unlike the above shampoos, tea tree oil is naturally derived and can be found in many health food stores. If you want a more natural approach then tea tree oil shampoos might be the way to go. Though it should be noted that it might cause an allergic reaction in some people.
It would be difficult to say which of these is the best dandruff shampoo. Truth be told the best shampoo for dandruff will vary from person to person because the cause of dandruff usually varies from person to person. It might be best to try out each of these shampoos for a month until you find the one that works best for you.
You’re dandruff doesn’t have to be severe in order for you to get medication for it. In fact, if none of the shampoos above didn’t work for you then it might be because the active ingredients in them weren’t in high enough doses to have an effect.
For example, shampoos are only allowed to have a selenium sulfide content of one percent. Your doctor, however, can prescribe you a medicated shampoo with a selenium sulfide content of two and a half percent, more than double the strength of an off the counter shampoo.
A higher concentration is available for most of the ingredients used in shampoos. Salicylic acid is another example of medication where this is the case.
There are even some medication that you can only get with a prescription as well. Fluocinolone shampoo, for example, can only be obtained with a prescription and is used to treat persistent or severe dandruff with the use of a corticosteroid.
If you don’t want to pay for medicated shampoos, there’s a way to simulate the effects of these shampoos (specifically salicylic acid shampoos) at home with normal shampoo and aspirin.
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, an active ingredient is many dandruff shampoos. You can actually crush two pills of aspirin into a fine powder and mix it with the regular amount of shampoo you usually use in the shower. Leave it in your hair for a minute or two and then rinse well. You may want to wash your hair again with plain shampoo.
It’s important to note again that salicylic acid can have a drying effect on your scalp, causing more flakes to develop in the long run. So make sure you use a conditioner to help combat this.
We all know about the reaction that takes place when you mix baking soda with vinegar. Well, now you can use this reaction to get rid of your dandruff. Of course, you won’t be using them at the same time, of course. Rather, you’ll be using them one right after the other. Who would have guess that you could use apple cider vinegar for dandruff.
First get your hair wet and take a couple tablespoons of baking soda into your hands and really rub it into your scalp. Don’t use any shampoo and rinse off the baking soda. Baking soda helps treat dandruff by creating an inhospitable environment for funguses to grow in.
After rinsing off the baking soda, it’s time for the vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar makes it harder for yeast to take hold. Just mix a quarter cup of the vinegar with a quarter cup of water, add it to a spray bottle, and spray your scalp. Wrap a towel around your head and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then you can wash your hair as usual. With apple cider vinegar dandruff won’t stand a chance.
Another surprise, you can use coconut oil for dandruff. Not only does coconut oil smell nice, but it’s a surefire method to treat dandruff. And it’s easy to use too. All you have to do is take three to five tablespoons of coconut oil and rub it into your scalp before you take a shower. Then let it be for about an hour and take a shower as you normally would. If you don’t want to bother with pure coconut oil, there are hundreds of shampoos with coconut oil already in them.
It may seem crazy, but one of the most popular mouthwashes Listerine was first used as a surgical antiseptic and as a treatment for dandruff. Listerine and many other mouthwashes like it contain agents that fight and destroy funguses.
To use mouthwash to treat dandruff, all you need to do is mix two cups of water with one cup of mouthwash. You can use a spray bottle and spray some of the solution onto your scalp or simply pour it. Either way, massage it into your scalp and let it sit for half an hour before rinsing it off.
Like vinegar, lemons are highly acidic which make them perfect for treating dandruff caused by yeast and other funguses growing on your scalp. Get two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice into your scalp and let it sit for a minute. Then mix a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a cup of water and rinse your hair with it. Repeat this daily until symptoms recede.
Sea salt is perfect for scrubbing out any flakes that are lingering in your hair. Any salt will work really, but larger sea salt and kosher salt are best. While you’re showering and when your hair is wet massage some salt into your scalp and really get in there. Then rinse your hair and you’re done.
More and more research is showing that a person is more likely to have dandruff if they eat an unhealthy diet that has large amounts of grease, salt, and sugar. In fact, many people have been able to reduce their dandruff by cutting back on junk food and eating more fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that eighty percent those that completely gave up processed junk food reported a complete decrease of their dandruff symptoms.
Researches aren’t exactly sure why this is. However, one pervasive theory is that that foods like potato chips, candy bars, and processed meats like beef jerky increase the amount of oil your skin produces. This increased oil production creates the ideal environment for the Malassezia fungus which irritates your scalp and creates dandruff.
If you don’t want to fuss with shampoos, medication, or home remedies to treat your dandruff, then changing your eating habits might be the right choice for you. Besides, eating better has a dozen other benefits besides reducing dandruff.
Here is a video that further explains how to get rid of dandruff.
Dandruff is a very widespread condition that many people deal with daily. Itching, flakes, and redness are common with dandruff and make it an annoying condition to live with. However, there are many ways to treat it including special shampoos, medication, and many home remedies. If you suffer from dandruff, then try these methods to help relieve symptoms and maybe even get rid of dandruff altogether.