Natural Ways to Eliminate Dandruff: 18 Effective Tips and Remedies

Prevent and soothe those troublesome flakes and irritations with natural and effective remedies.

How to Eliminate Dandruff Naturally – 18 Tips and Remedies

Did you know that more than half of the world’s population, over 3.6 billion people, suffer from dandruff (1)? Fortunately, dandruff is a manageable and treatable condition. While it can be frustrating to deal with, we have some straightforward tips and natural remedies to help you eliminate dandruff and the discomfort it brings. Continue reading to discover prevention methods that can keep your hair healthy and dandruff-free.

What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff is a common and chronic skin condition characterized by a flaky scalp. Common causes of dandruff include:

  1. Seborrheic Dermatitis: This condition involves skin inflammation, often leading to redness and flakiness (2). It primarily affects areas rich in oil glands, such as the scalp, face, and upper chest.
  2. Malassezia: A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia can cause skin infection and inflammation (3). This fungus feeds on the natural oils of your scalp, making it dry and flaky and increasing the risk of dandruff.
  3. Dry Scalp: A dehydrated scalp lacking moisture can result in inflammation, irritation, and itchiness. This condition leads to flakiness that can eventually become dandruff (4). Typically, these flakes are smaller and less oily than those caused by other factors.

The good news is that you can control dandruff by adopting specific measures. Scroll down to learn more about them.

How to Get Rid of Dandruff

  1. Regular Hair Washing: Accumulation of excess oils, dirt, and dead skin cells on your scalp can increase the risk of dandruff. Therefore, washing your hair regularly is essential to keep it clean and dandruff-free. However, avoid harsh shampoos that may dry out your scalp and worsen the condition.
  2. Switch to Anti-Dandruff Shampoos: Transitioning from regular to anti-dandruff shampoo is the easiest way to treat dandruff. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain ingredients like salicylic acid, ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, and selenium sulfide, which combat flakiness. Using an anti-dandruff conditioner can further improve hair texture.
  3. Dietary Changes: A poor diet lacking essential vitamins and minerals can contribute to dandruff. Research indicates that diets rich in fats and sugars are associated with a higher incidence of dandruff compared to fruit-based diets (5). Therefore, maintaining a balanced diet with essential nutrients, proteins, and minerals is crucial for the health of your hair and scalp.
  4. Scalp Exfoliation: Exfoliating your scalp can help remove dead skin cells and product buildup. Scalp exfoliators retain your scalp’s natural moisture, reduce dryness, and prevent the formation of flakes. You can also use a hot oil mask to balance your scalp’s oil production.

There are several commercial options for controlling dandruff, falling into three categories:

  • Antifungal Agents: These products treat fungal infections on your scalp or forehead, which can cause dandruff and flaky skin. They contain ingredients like zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide, effective against fungal infections caused by Malassezia furfur (6).
  • Flake-Removing Agents: Ingredients like salicylic acid and sulfur exhibit keratolytic activity, loosening and removing clumps of flaky skin (7).
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents: Prescription topical steroids, such as corticosteroids, like desonide hydrogel 0.05%, have an anti-inflammatory effect on dandruff and help reduce flaky skin (8).

If you’re interested in effective home remedies for dandruff, check out the next section.

Best Home Remedies for Dandruff

  1. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it effective against dandruff (9), (10). It also fights Malassezia, the fungus responsible for dandruff (11). Tea tree oil can be applied topically to the skin and scalp to address fungal infections leading to flaky skin and dandruff.
    • You Will Need:
      • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
      • 2-3 drops of sweet almond or jojoba oil
    • Directions:
      1. Mix tea tree oil with sweet almond or jojoba oil.
      2. Soak a cotton pad with this oil blend and apply it to the scalp.
      3. Repeat this 3-4 times a week.
      4. Note: Tea tree oil can cause skin irritation in some individuals, so perform a patch test before use and discontinue if an allergic reaction occurs.
  2. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft due to its low molecular weight, helping reduce protein loss (12). This nourishes and conditions your hair, hydrates your scalp, and prevents dryness, reducing the chances of dandruff.
    • You Will Need:
      • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
    • Directions:
      1. Massage coconut oil onto your scalp.
      2. Leave it on for an hour and wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
      3. Repeat this twice a week.
  3. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera exhibits antimicrobial and antifungal properties, inhibiting the growth of Malassezia furfur (13) (14).
    • You Will Need:
      • Aloe vera gel
    • Directions:
      1. Massage aloe vera gel onto your scalp in circular motions until absorbed.
      2. Wash your hair after an hour.
      3. Repeat this twice a week.
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps balance your scalp’s pH level (15) (16). This can prevent moisture loss and scalp dryness, leading to dandruff.
    • You Will Need:
      • 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
      • 3 tablespoons of water
    • Directions:
      1. Mix raw apple cider vinegar and water.
      2. Apply this solution to your scalp.
      3. Leave it on for a few minutes and shampoo your hair.
      4. Do this 1-2 times a week.
      5. Note: Always dilute apple cider vinegar before use, as raw and undiluted ACV can cause burns and skin irritation.
  5. Aspirin: Aspirin contains salicylates that help loosen white flakes on your scalp and eliminate scaliness (7).
    • You Will Need:
      • 2 aspirin tablets
    • Directions:
      1. Crush the aspirin tablets into a powder.
      2. Mix this aspirin powder with your regular shampoo.
      3. Shampoo your hair with this mixture and wait for two minutes before rinsing.
  6. Probiotics: Probiotic foods like yogurt contain Lactobacillus paracasei, which can help restore the normal balance of your scalp’s microbiome, reducing dandruff (17). Consume a cup of probiotic yogurt daily to prevent dandruff formation.
  7. Baking Soda: Baking soda acts as a mild exfoliant, helping remove dead skin and excess oil from the scalp. Baking soda baths were found to significantly reduce itchiness (18). However, overuse of baking soda can strip your scalp’s natural oils and worsen dry scalp.
    • You Will Need:
      • 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda
    • Directions:
      1. Apply baking soda directly to wet hair.
      2. Leave it on for about 2 minutes and wash your hair thoroughly.
      3. Do this twice a week.
  8. Onion Juice: Studies suggest that onion extracts have antifungal properties that inhibit the growth of Malassezia furfur (19).
    • You Will Need:
      • ½ of a whole onion
    • Directions:
      1. Blend the onion and extract its juice.
      2. Strain the liquid and apply it generously to your scalp.
      3. Leave it on for an hour and wash your hair.
      4. Repeat this twice a week.
  9. Lemongrass Oil: Lemongrass oil possesses antifungal properties that can combat Malassezia furfur, a type of yeast that causes dandruff (20).
    • You Will Need:
      • 2-3 drops of lemongrass oil
    • Directions:
      1. Add the lemongrass oil to your shampoo.
      2. Massage this mixture onto your scalp.
      3. Wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
      4. Repeat this twice a week.
      5. Note: Topical application of lemongrass oil may cause an allergic reaction in individuals with sensitive scalps. Perform a patch test before trying this remedy.
  10. Eucalyptus Oil: A scalp with low levels of ceramides may be susceptible to dandruff (21). Eucalyptus oil has been suggested to increase the ceramide content of your scalp, reducing dandruff.
  • You Will Need:
    • 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil
    • 2-3 drops of coconut oil
  • Directions:
    1. Mix eucalyptus oil with coconut oil.
    2. Apply this oil blend to your scalp.
    3. Leave it on for 30-45 minutes and wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
    4. Do this 2-3 times a week.
  1. Garlic: Studies indicate that garlic has antifungal effects on Malassezia furfur, and its long-term intake may help alleviate dandruff (19), (22).
  • You Will Need:
    • A few cloves of garlic
    • ½ cup of olive oil
  • Directions:
    1. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
    2. Add the crushed garlic to a saucepan with olive oil.
    3. Heat the mixture for 5 minutes.
    4. Strain and let it cool down.
    5. Apply it to your scalp and leave it on for 30-45 minutes before rinsing.
    6. Repeat this twice a week.
  1. Neem Oil: Neem leaf extracts are highly antifungal and can help treat dandruff (23). However, more research is needed to confirm the effects of neem extracts in this regard.
  • You Will Need:
    • 2-3 drops of neem oil
    • 2-3 drops of coconut oil
  • Directions:
    1. Mix neem and coconut oils.
    2. Massage this oil blend onto your scalp.
    3. Leave it on for 30-45 minutes.
    4. Wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
    5. Do this 2-3 times a week.
    6. Note: You can also boil a few neem leaves in water and use it to rinse your hair.
  1. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is rich in citric acid, and citric acid-based shampoos or agents can help balance your scalp’s pH (24). This may help reduce dandruff.
  • You Will Need:
    • 2-3 tablespoons of freshly extracted lemon juice
    • Cotton ball
  • Directions:
    1. Dab the cotton ball with lemon juice and apply it to your scalp.
    2. Leave it on for about 5-10 minutes and wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
    3. Do this twice a week.
    4. Note: Lemon juice might cause a stinging sensation.
  1. Green Tea: Green tea hair tonic can treat various scalp and hair disorders like dandruff, itching, and hair loss (25). Research shows that green tea is rich in polyphenols and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that prevent fungal infections (26).
  • You Will Need:
    • 2-3 green tea bags
    • Warm water
  • Directions:
    1. Soak the green tea bags in warm water and strain them after the liquid cools down.
    2. Rinse your hair with this decoction and wait for about 10 minutes.
    3. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
    4. Repeat this twice a week for a few months.
  1. Fenugreek Seeds: A study on rabbits found that fenugreek leaf extract is an effective and safe herbal remedy for fungal infections like dandruff (27). Fenugreek seed extracts also display antifungal activity, preventing dandruff formation (28).
  • You Will Need:
    • 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
    • 2 cups of hot water
  • Directions:
    1. Crush the fenugreek seeds with a pestle.
    2. Soak the crushed seeds in hot water overnight.
    3. Strain this mixture and rinse your hair with the liquid in the morning.

Dandruff can be an annoying scalp issue, but it is treatable. Instead of spending money on expensive products that may or may not work, consider trying home remedies for dandruff. While dandruff can be frustrating, several natural solutions can help alleviate the symptoms. The next time you notice flakes, incorporate a couple of these natural solutions into your hair care routine. Additionally, maintaining a well-balanced diet can help prevent dandruff. If the problem persists, consult a dermatologist and follow their prescribed treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can dandruff cause lice?: No, there is no link between dandruff and lice. They are separate hair conditions that can cause itching.
  • Is brushing good for dandruff?: Yes, regularly and gently brushing your hair can help evenly distribute your natural oils and clean your scalp of dirt and dead skin.
  • Does dandruff spread through pillows?: No, dandruff is not a contagious condition that can be transmitted from person to person or through pillows.
  • Does dandruff itch more at night?: Yes, dandruff may itch more at night. Lower levels of histamine or an inability to break down histamine in the body can contribute to nighttime scalp itching. Applying tea tree oil may help alleviate itching.
  • Does egg remove dandruff?: Anecdotal evidence suggests that eggs may help remove excess dirt and dead skin from the scalp, making them suitable for managing dandruff.
  • Does leaving hair wet make dandruff worse?: Yes, leaving your hair wet for prolonged periods may increase the risk of fungal infection or exacerbate existing dandruff.
  • How to cure dandruff permanently?: Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins, zinc, and healthy fats can help reduce dandruff by promoting hair and scalp health. Additionally, following a daily hair care routine is essential.
  • How to get rid of dandruff quickly?: Overnight hair masks using natural ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, and neem may provide fast relief from dandruff. Combining these masks with gentle, clarifying shampoos can prevent dandruff recurrence. For the best results, use anti-dandruff shampoos, ointments, or creams recommended by your doctor.

Key Takeaways

Dandruff can result from a dry scalp, fungal infection, or dermatitis.

To eliminate dandruff, maintain regular hair washing, exfoliation, use of anti-dandruff shampoos, and a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients.

Home remedies like tea tree oil, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil are effective in treating dandruff.

Consult a dermatologist if the problem persists and follow their prescribed treatment.

About healthy 26 Articles
I’ve been passionate about writing since I was a teenager. My partner David and I help those seeking to buy and sell lifestyle properties – high-concept estate homes for those who live boldly and follow their dreams. I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology and have published over 100 digital articles, videos, and podcasts on health and motivation. I was born and raised in the US in California.

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