An itchy scalp and scaling are the hallmarks of this condition, but it can also cause other symptoms such as greasy patches on the scalp and tingling in the skin.
The underlying causes of dandruff include dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, sensitivity to hair products and the growth of a specific type of fungus that lives on the scalp.
While there are many over-the-counter products designed to treat dandruff, natural remedies can be effective.
Here are 9 simple home remedies to naturally get rid of dandruff.
1. Try Tea Tree Oil
Historically, tea tree oil has been used to treat diseases ranging from acne to psoriasis.
It has also been shown to possess powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve the symptoms of dandruff.
In fact, according to one review, tea tree oil is effective in combating the specific strain of the fungus that can cause both seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
Another 4-week study examined the effects of tea tree oil on dandruff by treating 126 people daily with a shampoo containing 5% tea tree oil or a placebo.
At the end of the study, tea tree oil reduced the severity of symptoms by 41% and improved fat and itching.
Keep in mind that tea tree oil can cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. It is better to dilute it by adding a few drops to a carrier oil such as coconut oil before applying it directly to the skin.
2. Use Coconut Oil
Known for its many health benefits, coconut oil is often also used as a natural remedy for dandruff.
Coconut oil can help improve skin hydration and prevent dryness, which can make dandruff worse.
A small study of 34 people showed that coconut oil was as effective as mineral oil in improving skin hydration.
Other research has found that coconut oil may help in the treatment of eczema, a skin condition that can contribute to dandruff.
One study compared the effects of coconut oil and mineral oil on atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema characterized by itching and inflammation.
The application of coconut oil to the skin for eight weeks reduced symptoms by 68%, compared to only 38% in the mineral oil group.
Coconut oil and its compounds have also been shown to have antimicrobial properties in some test tube studies, although the effects on the specific strain of the fungus that causes dandruff have not yet been examined.
3. Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a type of succulent that is often added to ointments for skin, cosmetics and lotions.
When applied to the skin, it is believed that aloe vera helps treat skin conditions such as burns, psoriasis and cold sores .
It can also be beneficial in the treatment of dandruff.
According to one review, the antibacterial and antifungal properties of aloe vera may help protect against dandruff.
Similarly, a test tube study found that aloe vera was effective against several fungal species and can help control fungal infections that cause hair loss on the scalp.
Test tube studies have also found that aloe vera can reduce inflammation, which can relieve symptoms.
Despite these promising results, additional studies are needed to see how aloe vera can directly affect dandruff.
4. Minimize Stress Levels
It is believed that stress affects many aspects of health and well-being. It can influence everything from chronic conditions to mental health.
While stress itself does not cause dandruff, it can aggravate symptoms such as dryness and itching.
Maintaining high levels of stress in the long term can suppress the activity of the immune system.
A weakened immune system can reduce your body’s ability to fight some of the fungal infections and skin conditions that contribute to dandruff.
In fact, a study of 82 people with seborrheic dermatitis, one of the most common causes of dandruff, showed that most episodes of dermatitis were preceded by a stressful life event.
To keep stress levels in check, try some stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing or aromatherapy.
5. Add Apple Cider Vinegar To Your Routine
Apple cider vinegar has been associated with a variety of health benefits. These include improving insulin sensitivity and increasing weight loss.
Apple cider vinegar is also often used as a natural remedy to get rid of dandruff.
It is believed that the acidity of vinegar helps stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells on the scalp.
Apple cider vinegar is also said to balance the pH of the skin to reduce fungal growth and thus combat dandruff.
However, there are no studies to support these claims and many of the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dandruff are based on anecdotal evidence.
That said, test tube studies show that apple cider vinegar and its compounds can prevent the growth of certain types of fungi.
If you want to try the apple cider vinegar, add a few tablespoons of shampoo or combine it with other essential oils and spray directly on the hair.
6. Try Aspirin
Salicylic acid is one of the primary compounds found in aspirin and is responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition to being found in aspirin, salicylic acid is also found in many antidandruff shampoos.
The salicylic acid acts helping to get rid of the scaly skin and loosening the scales so that they can be eliminated .
In one study, 19 people with dandruff used two shampoos that contained piroctone olamine combined with salicylic acid or zinc pyrithione.
Both shampoos were able to reduce dandruff after four weeks, but shampoo containing salicylic acid was more effective in reducing the severity of desquamation.
Another study showed that a shampoo containing salicylic acid was equally effective as a medication prescribed to treat seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
For an easy remedy for dandruff, try crushing two aspirin tablets and adding the powder to your shampoo before washing your hair.
7. Up Your Intake Of Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the body.
Not only do they form the cell membranes that surround cells, but they are also crucial in the function of your heart, immune system and lungs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also vital to the health of the skin. They help control oil production and hydration, promote wound healing and prevent premature aging.
A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can cause a variety of symptoms, such as dry hair, dry skin and even dandruff.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce inflammation, which can help relieve irritation and symptoms of dandruff.
Fatty fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can also take a fish oil supplement or increase the intake of other omega-3-rich foods such as flaxseed, chia seeds and nuts.
8. Eat More Probiotics
Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria that is good for your health.
There are many potential probiotic benefits, including protection against allergies, lower cholesterol levels and increased weight loss.
Probiotics can also help improve immune function, which could help the body fight fungal infections that cause dandruff.
In fact, one study showed that taking probiotics for 56 days significantly reduced the severity of dandruff in 60 people.
It has also been shown that probiotics help to reduce the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, especially in infants and children.
Probiotics are available in the form of a supplement for a fast and convenient dose.
They can also be found in many types of fermented foods, such as kombucha, kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut and natto.
Here is a list of 11 foods that are loaded with healthy probiotics.
9. Use Baking Soda
Baking soda, found in kitchen pantries around the world, is a quick, convenient, and available remedy to help treat dandruff.
It is believed to act as a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and reduce scaling and itching.
Sodium bicarbonate also has antifungal properties that could be beneficial in the treatment of dandruff.
A test tube study measured the antifungal effects of sodium bicarbonate on some of the most common fungal strains that cause skin infections.
Impressively, sodium bicarbonate could completely inhibit fungal growth in 79% of the samples after seven days.
Another study analyzed the effects of sodium bicarbonate in 31 people with psoriasis. It was found that treatment with sodium bicarbonate baths significantly reduced both itching and irritation after only three weeks.
Treatment guidelines for other conditions such as atopic dermatitis also indicate that sodium bicarbonate baths may help relieve itching.
For best results, try applying baking soda directly on wet hair and massaging it on the scalp. Let it sit for a minute or two, then continue to wash your hair as usual.