How to get rid of dandruff fast? Fortunately, there are different natural and herbal treatments you can use to manage, or even completely eliminate this embarrassing problem. In today’s article, I’m going to discuss nine of these natural home remedies for dandruff.
What is dandruff
Simply put, dandruff is a persistent and common scalp condition that’s characterized by itchy and flaky skin. It’s often regarded as a type of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
What causes dandruff
There are several causes, but the most common culprit is dryness of the skin. Other possible reasons for dandruff are infrequent washing of hair and scalp, hypersensitivity to commercial hair care products, skin conditions (e.g. eczema and seborrheic dermatitis), and fungal infection due to malassezia fungus.
How to get rid of dandruff quickly, permanently and naturally
1. Virgin Coconut Oil
There are several reasons why virgin coconut oil is a popular anti-dandruff agent. For one, it’s particularly effective against many fungal infections, like the ones that affect the skin.
As what I’ve said earlier, dandruff is a type of skin inflammation, which may be caused by hair care product allergy or yeast infection on the scalp. A clinical trial has shown that virgin coconut oil has the potential to hold back chronic inflammation.
One of the main reasons why people use virgin coconut oil is its moisturizing properties. It penetrates the deep layers of any dry, itchy, and scaly scalp because of its small and short molecular structure. Researchers even found out that it has the same moisturizing effect as in mineral oil. The only difference is coconut oil is much safer for your health.
You could use organic coconut oil shampoos to manage dandruff. Although, I highly prefer to use a little amount of pure coconut oil for massaging the scalp to improve circulation and prevent dryness. You could also make your own coconut oil shampoo. Here’s how:
This recipe uses castile soap because of its different benefits for the skin. It effectively moisturizes and cleans the skin without requiring a lot of water to produce lather. Most of the castile soaps sold today are made from organic ingredients and don’t contain synthetic detergents and scents that could irritate the skin.
How to get rid of dandruff fast with coconut oil
- 8 ml crude coconut oil
- 140 ml boiling water
- 3 comfrey leaves (comfrey is used to make hair glossy and thick).
- 35 ml liquid castile goat milk soap
Step 1: For the infusion, combine 3 comfrey leaves and boiled water.
Step 2: Then add the crude coconut oil and liquid castile goat milk soap to the infusion.
Step 3: After mixing it well, it’s now ready to be stored in a shampoo bottle.
The expected shelf life of this coconut oil shampoo is between three and six months.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of a tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) that’s native to Australia. For centuries, tea tree oil was used as a topical agent for treating different fungal and bacterial skin infections.
One in vitro study tested the effectiveness of tea tree oil (0.5-0.44% concentrations) against thirty-two Candida albicans species, fifty-four yeast species, and twenty-two Malassezia furfur species (one of the causes of dandruff). Results showed that it stopped the growth of all strains, but it was the strains of Malassezia furfur that were the most susceptible.
There’s really no established therapeutic dose for tea tree oil. The amount or concentration that should be used will highly depend on the medical condition. If I’m going to base it on studies, 5% of tea tree oil is apparently effective in the treatment of mild to moderate dandruff if used three minutes every day for one whole month.
You could also buy an organic shampoo, and then add the tea tree oil. You can add up to ten drops of tea tree oil per 8 ounces of your shampoo.
Is it safe? If it’s used topically, which is the way it should be, tea tree oil is a safe treatment for dandruff and other skin problems. Remember to never swallow this oil to avoid toxic effects.
Note : According to WebMD, it’s not safe to apply this together with lavender oil on the skin of boys who are still in the pre-puberty stage. Why? Any product containing tea tree oil may negatively impact their normal body hormones.
3. Aloe Vera Gel
By now, I presume you’re already familiar with aloe vera. It’s one of the most popular components of many over-the-counter cosmetic products. In the past, it was used as a laxative and topical remedy for burns, wounds, red and scaly skin (psoriasis), and other skin conditions.
Aloe barbadensis is an aloe species that’s commonly used as a topical ointment for curing skin inflammatory conditions. In fact, a clinical study suggested that aloe vera gel contains inflammation-fighting properties that are more potent than hydrocortisone cream (1-percent) or placebo.
This anti-inflammatory effect of aloe vera gel is attributed to its glycoproteins, complex molecules that have both carbs and protein portions, and polysaccharides (chains of sugars that play important roles in skin hydration, repair, and renewal).
Scientists even say that aloe vera may be a possible alternative treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, a skin inflammatory condition that usually affects the scalp and causes red, scaly dandruff. Compared with the patients who were treated with placebo, Aloe vera-treated participants experienced improvements, as evaluated by the participants and dermatologists (15% and 58%, respectively).
How to cure dandruff with aloe vera
- The easiest way is to buy a commercially prepared aloe vera shampoo, conditioner, or gel.
- If you have an aloe vera plant at home, harvest the middle leaf that’s downward facing. Allow the sap to drain before cutting it at the sides, lengthwise, to get its gel pulp. Massage the aloe gel on your clean scalp before bedtime. Let it stay for 15-30 minutes, and then rinse under running water. Don’t use shampoo.
Does it have any side effects?
So far, topical application of aloe vera gel doesn’t cause any serious adverse effects. Just make sure that you don’t apply it on parts of your skin that have open wounds.
4. Unfiltered Honey
Aside from being an emollient, unfiltered honey is also a great remedy against different types of bacterial and fungal infections. Since it’s unprocessed, it still has traces of vitamins and minerals that help maintain a healthy skin and scalp. Honey contains vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, and zinc.
And surprisingly, scientists also consider honey as a potential topical remedy for seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Researchers of one 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research put this theory to the test. They included 30 volunteers with persistent seborrheic dermatitis (face, scalp, and front of upper body). Their symptoms included itchiness, hair loss, and flaking.
For one month, volunteers applied 90% of unfiltered honey diluted in tepid water on the affected areas every other day. A mild massaging motion was done for 2 to 3 minutes, and then the affected areas were washed using tepid water after 3 hours.
After a month, those volunteers who experienced improvements in their condition advanced to the 6-month preventive phase of the study. They were divided into two groups, the control group (15 volunteers) and honey group (15 volunteers).
Interestingly, the volunteers who used honey topically once every seven days benefited more than the control group. For one, volunteers reported of hair loss improvement. Skin itching and flaking were also completely gone after seven days. Their lesions were healed and vanished in just fourteen days. Amazingly, there was no relapse noted.
Although unfiltered honey is a natural substance, it still produces side effects, like an allergic reaction because of the pollens contained in it. Some of the signs and symptoms of honey allergic reaction are irritated, swollen, and itchy skin. So before you forget, make sure to perform a patch test before putting honey all over your scalp.
5. Neem Oil
The seeds, leaves, and bark of neem (Azadirachta indica) are the parts that are usually used for making medicine. Neem oil was traditionally used topically to soften the skin, heal wounds and other skin diseases. Neem oil is also great for getting rid of head lice and repel mosquitoes. It works for dandruff because of its antifungal, antibacterial, and hydrating properties.
In one particular clinical study, volunteers used Dano herbal hair oil for ten days. Amazingly, they experienced improvements from using Dano (which is composed of three plant extracts: Pala indigo plant, Empress Candle plant, and Neem).
If you don’t have Dano herbal hair oil in your local stores, here’s how to use neem oil to get rid of dandruff:
- Mix neem oil with other oils, like tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and olive oil.
- Gently massage the mixture onto your scalp about thirty minutes to an hour before you plan to take a bath. Leave it for 24 hours before rinsing.
- Do this two times a week for three to four weeks or once a month.
The good thing about neem oil is its effectiveness but the biggest downside is its smell. That’s why you have to mix it with other milder oils. Make sure you don’t have plans to go out within the next twenty-four hours.
According to WebMD, neem oil may be safe if it’s applied topically for 14 days max. It’s not recommended to use it more than once daily because it’s strong and could irritate the skin over time, especially if you plan to mix it with the peppermint or tea tree oil.
Note: to avoid hypersensitivity reactions, do a patch test. Do this by mixing a few drops of neem oil with your choice of carrier oil (e.g. coconut oil). Apply the resulting mixture on the inner skin of your lower arm. Wait for 30 minutes to 6 hours to observe for allergic reactions.
6. Ginger Root
Ginger has been one of the well-loved cooking spices for more than 4,000 years. Aside from being a digestive aid, scientists also believe it may help prevent and treat dandruff in several ways.
Experts believe that the volatile oils and antioxidants (e.g. 6-gingerol) in ginger root could help reduce inflammation by fighting harmful free radicals that could attack your hair follicles and skin. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that are active against many human pathogens.
African ginger contains at least three active gingerols (6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, and 10-gingerol) that have the ability to fight off thirteen harmful microorganisms at a concentration of less than one milligram per milliliter. Compared to the ginger purchased from local supermarkets, African ginger contains at least three times higher amounts of anti-fungal gingerols.
A bonus benefit of using ginger is its ability to stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth by promoting proper circulation to the scalp. Although there aren’t enough clinical studies to support this claim, many people swear by it.
How to treat dandruff with ginger
If possible, go for fresh ginger instead of its powdered form because the it contains more beneficial compounds, like its anti-inflammatory active protease. Ginger juice is usually the one used for treating dandruff. Here’s how to make it:
- Extract at least two grated ginger roots to make its juice.
- Mix the ginger juice with 2 to 3 drops of lemon juice and your choice of carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil and olive oil.
Apply the juice before going to sleep. Gently rub it on your scalp to be fully absorbed. Leave it for up to thirty minutes, and then rinse it with a mild organic shampoo.
If you don’t have the time (or patience) to do that, you could add the ginger juice to shampoo. According to one study, shampoo with ginger juice (3% to 5% concentration) is more superior to conventional shampoo brands when it comes to reducing dandruff and hair loss.
Eucalyptus is probably one of the most popular ingredients of many shampoo brands because of its cooling effect. It soothes itchy and irritated scalp. The leaves and oil of this plant are believed to contain chemicals that help ease the inflammation, pain and fight viruses or bacteria. Thus, it’s widely used for wounds, insect bites, acne, and other skin problems.
In one 2012 study, scientists wanted to find out if Coleus amboinicus (a member of the mint family) and Eucalyptus globules essential oils can fight off the dandruff-causing fungus called Malassezia furfur. The researchers used the two plants’ crude essential oils and essential oils diluted in coconut oil. Ketaconazole shampoo served as the control.
The good news is both are potential anti-dandruff agents. Although, the Eucalyptus globules essential oil was more effective than Coleus amboinicus essential oil (the inhibitory zone was 37mm and 31mm, respectively). The active compound found in Coleus amboinicus was thymol and cineol for Eucalyptus.
Like ginger root, eucalyptus also promotes blood circulation to the scalp, which in turn leads to hair follicle stimulation for hair growth. It can also cleanse and constrict blood vessels.
How to stop dandruff with eucalyptus oil
The common advice is to use eucalyptus oil an hour prior to taking a bath. To relieve an itchy and flaky scalp, you can combine 4 drops of eucalyptus oil, 4 drops of lavender essential oil (optional), and 30ml (approximately 2 tablespoons) virgin coconut oil in a dark-colored container.
Massage the mixture on your scalp, and then leave it for 15-30 minutes. As usual, thoroughly shampoo and condition your scalp and hair after.
Reminder: Never apply undiluted eucalyptus oil to the skin for safety. This essential oil is possibly unsafe for children.
Garlic, also known as Allium sativum and stinking rose, is a popular spice for fighting different strains of bacteria and fungi. Some, if not most, of garlic’s medicinal effects are attributed to its active ingredient called allicin. This active ingredient is converted to allyl sulfides, vinyldithiins, and ajoene. Allicin is also believed to be the anti-dandruff component of garlic.
It’s not just allicin that’s responsible for garlic’s effect. Its bulb and leaves also contain fat, volatile oil, carbs, protein, 17 amino acids, 33 sulfur compounds, tannins, saponins, prostaglandins, and antioxidants. These compounds help neutralize the free radicals that wreak havoc in the hair follicles and skin.
How to remove dandruff with garlic
- In order to activate allicin, crush five garlic cloves, and then leave it in a small bowl for ten minutes.
- Add 103-104 ml of crude honey (or any carrier oil) to the garlic cloves and mix.
- Massage the resulting mixture to your scalp and hair. Leave it for five minutes before washing using your choice of anti-dandruff shampoo (preferably organic).
Generally, garlic is safe to use on the skin. But too much or letting it stay long would result to skin burn. So be careful. Please follow your healthcare provider’s advice before using this orally or topically.
9: Clove (Syzgium aromaticum)
The problem with conventional synthetic antifungals is that they have numerous disadvantages, like drug-to-drug or herb-to-drug interactions, toxic effects, producing resistant strains, and so on. While it’s not an absolute replacement, study shows that clove contains certain components (eugenol) that are active against parasites, fungi, and bacteria.
Clove is a type of herb. Its stems, oils, leaves, and dried flower buds are used to make medicines. Clove oil has a numbing effect and is often used to ease inflammation and pain.
Study has shown that clove oil can stop the fungus Malassezia furfur better than ginger. What’s more, eugenol in clove oil has significant inhibitory effect against fluconazole-resistant fungi species (Candida, dermatophyte, and Aspergillus), although further clinical trial is still warranted.
How to get rid of dandruff permanently with clove oil
- Mix sweet almond oil with clove oil (3:1 ratio). Alternatively, you can add a drop of clove oil to 8-10 drops of crude coconut oil. Gently massage it onto your scalp to remove dandruff, kill parasites, and prevent hair loss.
Are there any safety issues to worry about?
So far, the safeness and dangerous effects of clove oil are still uncertain. It’s generally safe, but it’s not recommended to apply the oil on the skin for longer periods. Some of the side effects can be burning sensations, dry skin, and rash. Like other essential oils, clove oil should always be diluted.
Tip: buy clove oil products that have less than 1% eugenol (or even less than 0.3%, if possible) to avoid skin irritation.
Final thoughts on how to treat dandruff
Getting rid of dandruff is not a rocket science. There are various commercial hair care products out there that can cure dandruff. Although, I’m a big fan of anything natural, so I urge you to try out natural treatments first. All you have to do is choose the ones that work best for you.
Another way to manage dandruff is hygiene. Regularly wash your hair and scalp to prevent sebum, grime, and dead skin buildup. Massage your scalp, but avoid scratching to avoid further irritation.
Try spending a few minutes a day under the sun (during recommended times, of course) to treat dandruff, say experts from Mayo Clinic.
Fill your plate with nutritious foods that specifically help promote a healthy skin, like vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and zinc.
Bottom line: if you know you’re prone to dandruff, try different remedies to keep the problem under control. Remember, prevention is always the best remedy for any health condition.
I hope you learned something new and interesting today. What other natural dandruff remedies can you suggest? Please let me know your proven tricks. I’d love to hear all of them!