Dandruff is a very common and annoying problem to have, not to mention embarrassing! Whether you’re going for a formal dinner or an interview, those pesky little flakes can cascade down onto your shirt (let’s hope it’s not black or a dark colour!). Let’s not forget the frantic itchiness that accompanies dandruff, which leads to even more flakes falling onto your clothes.
Before getting into home remedies to treat a flaky scalp, let’s get the basics out of the way.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff, scientifically is known as seborrheic dermatitis, which is essentially a scalp disorder. It can occur for a variety of reasons such as, dry skin, irritated oily skin, bacterial growth on the scalp, and inflammatory skin conditions. These factors can result in itchiness and excessive flaky skin on the scalp.
What causes dandruff?
Malassezia, a fungus, feeds on the scalp’s sebum, which is the oily substance secreted by sebaceous glands. The fungus also feeds on dead skin cells, which is a normal occurrence with the growth of new skin. So here is where the problem arises: the fungus, while feeding on the sebum, breaks it down into fatty acids. These fatty acids can irritate those who have sensitive scalps, causing dryness and itchiness, which then leads to visible flakes.
The fungus Malassezia thrives in environments that are moist such as in the summers and monsoons due to the humid and sweaty conditions. That being said, cold winters can lead to dryness, which could also cause itchiness and flakes.
Now we can get into the 10 homemade remedies that can combat a flaky scalp.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar’s acidic content adjusts the pH level of your scalp, which will make bacteria harder to grow. Apple Cider Vinegar helps itchy and dry skin, which will reduce flaking. All you have to do is apply equal amounts of Apple Cider Vinegar and water onto to your scalp, around 30 minutes before you take a shower to wash your hair. We suggest using a quarter cup of each ingredient and then wrapping your hair in a towel. Try this twice and week and see the progress.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda can also be used as a scrub, as it gently exfoliates the scalp. So gently that it doesn’t irritate while removing the dead skin and lessening the build up of flakes. Dr. Sirisha Singh, Medical Director and Consultant Dermatologist at The Skin Centre located in New Delhi states that, “Baking soda, along with its exfoliation and anti-fungal properties, also soothes the scalp and reduces redness and itching.” Baking soda has got a doctor’s approval, so try using it in your shampoo.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is great for acne because of its anti-fungal properties, which in turn also makes it great while fighting dandruff, as it stems from fungus and bacteria. Add a couple of drops to your shampoo and wash your hair as you normally do.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has a cooling effect, which is great for the itchiness, inflammation, and irritation on your scalp. It is also a mild exfoliate and has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Apply directly onto your scalp, leave it on for a few minutes, and then wash it off with a mild shampoo. For best results use the extract from an aloe vera plant.
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