- What is dandruff
- Dandruff vs dry scalp
- What causes dandruff?
- How to get rid of dandruff fast - 20 dandruff remedies to try
- Dandruff: a summary
If you've been suffering from a dry, flaky scalp for some time, you may have resigned yourself to the fact that you're stuck with dandruff forever.
But that just isn't the case!
The key to preventing dandruff is getting right down to the root - pun intended - of the problem.
Today we're showing you how to get rid of dandruff FAST, so you can stop being worried about those pesky flakes and get on with your life.
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in January 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019.
What is dandruff?
There's no need to be embarrassed about dandruff - about half of the world's adult population are affected by it, so you're certainly not alone.
You may not realise you have dandruff until you see the visual signs - symptoms include white flakes in your hair or on your shoulders. These come directly from the scalp, which becomes flaky and itchy. Upon further investigation, you may also notice how dry the skin on your scalp is.
Dandruff may not be the prettiest of conditions, but that's where the negatives end. It isn't contagious or harmful, and when treated correctly, is pretty easy to get rid of.
Dandruff vs dry scalp
Although there is some cross over in regards to symptoms of dandruff and a dry scalp, the two problems are very different.
Dry scalps are caused when the scalp doesn't produce enough lubrication, whilst dandruff involves an increase in the rate that skin is shed. It's also thought to be linked to fungal infections and sensitivity to products used on hair.
So how are you meant to tell the difference?
Dandruff flakes are larger and often yellow-tinged or oily in appearance, whilst those caused by a dry scalp are small and white. Dandruff is also unlikely to clear up by itself, whereas dry skin often improves with less frequent washing.
What causes dandruff?
Worried it's something you're doing that's causing your scalp to shed?
A flaky scalp can be caused by many things, but a lack of personal hygiene certainly isn't one of them.
A change in hormone levels, a weak immune system, lack of nutrients or even changes in the environment can bring it on. And of course, as with all things, your genetics have a big say in whether you'll develop dandruff or not.
There are also several skin conditions, including seborrhoeic dermatitis, tinea capitis, eczema, contact dermatitis and psoriasis which can cause dandruff.
And, if you already suffer from the following conditions, you're more likely to develop dandruff:
- Parkinson's disease or a head injury
- Recovery from a stroke or heart attack
- Stress or fatigue
- An eating disorder
A note on 'baby dandruff'
Is your little one showing signs of dandruff? Although relatively uncommon, dandruff in babies is nothing to worry about. This is often caused by an overproduction of sebum and can be easily remedied.
Get the full low down on dandruff in babies at Mom Junction, including symptoms, causes and remedies.
How to get rid of dandruff fast- 20 dandruff remedies to try
The onset of dandruff may be out of our control, but curing it certainly isn't. There is a wide range of treatments available, including shampoo, creams and also home remedies.
1. Anti-dandruff shampoo
Anti-dandruff shampoos are easy to come by and can be purchased from most supermarkets and beauty stores. Similarly to ordinary shampoos, not all anti-dandruff shampoos are made equal.
The five main anti-dandruff ingredients are:
- Zinc pyrithione - reduces Malassezia fungus. Try Head & Shoulders.
- Salicylic acid - eliminates scales but can dry the skin. Try Neutrogena.
- Selenium sulphide - reduces Malassezia and flaking. Try Selsun.
- Ketoconazole - kills fungus. Try Nizoral.
- Coal tar - reduces the rate of flaking, inflammation and kills fungus. Try T/Gel.
TOP TIP: Use your anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week, and a normal shampoo in between washes to help your dry scalp.
To get a better idea of which shampoo will be the best dandruff cure for you, it's advised to do a full investigation of your scalp. You may also have to experiment with several different brands and ingredients until you find one that works for you.
And if anti-dandruff shampoos don't work?
If you don't see an improvement in your dandruff after a week or so of using the shampoo, it may be time to pay your doctor a visit.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a more severe version of common dandruff, which is likely to require topical steroid or antifungal creams/ointments to treat successfully.
Book an appointment with your local GP as soon as possible to get a prescription.
2. Multani Mitti dry scalp treatment
Have you heard of Multani Mitti yet? It's extremely popular in the world of beauty for both skin and hair care.
It's the hair part we're interested in here, and you will be too when you see what it can do for your dandruff.
Want to try it?
- Mix 6 tbsp fenugreek seeds (soaked overnight), 4 tbsp Multani Mitti and 1 tbsp lemon juice into a thick paste.
- Apply the paste to your scalp, then run it through the length of your hair. Ensure it's well massaged into the roots as these are the areas you want to concentrate on the most.
- Leave for 30 minutes, then wash with shampoo and warm water. Follow with conditioner and dry as normal.
- Repeat weekly.
3. How to deal with dandruff with aspirin
You know those old aspirin pills you have in your medicine cabinet? Turn out they could be pretty good for dandruff.
And here's why...
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is great for dandruff.
Say so-long to scaly scalps by crushing two aspirins and adding them to your existing shampoo.
If you have a pestle and mortar and some fenugreek seeds to hand, you could have the perfect dandruff solution right within your grasp.
Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds overnight. When you wake, pop them into your pestle and mortar, and grind into a paste. Apply to the scalp and leave for 30 minutes before washing with mild shampoo, conditioner and allowing to air-dry.
5. Could the best dandruff treatment be eggs?
Most of us have eggs in the house.
But do you know what most of us don't know?
They can be effective in treating dandruff too.
Mixing eggs with lemon juice, coconut oil, honey and even castor oil can reduce and relieve dandruff symptoms thanks to their rich protein, biotin and sulfur content.
Whisk together 1 egg white with 1/2 tsp of lemon juice (double or triple for long hair). Apply the mixture to the scalp, then run along hair to the tips. Cover for half an hour before rinsing.
6. Orange peel
The smell of orange peel alone is enough to tempt us to try this dandruff remedy. The high antioxidant and vitamin C content of oranges make it ideal for getting rid of dandruff.
7. How to get rid of dandruff fast with coconut oil
Coconut oil can not only make your hair grow faster, but it can also be used to combat dandruff.
That's two great reasons to use coconut oil on your hair!
Time to learn how to use it...
Massage 3 tablespoons of oil into your scalp, pop on a shower cap and leave to rest for as long as possible before washing thoroughly.
TOP TIP: Look down the international aisle at the supermarket to pick up a jar of coconut oil for half the price.
8. Onion juice
You know how onion juice can bring tears to your eyes?
...it makes dandruff sad too!
Blend a peeled, cut onion and spread the mixture onto your scalp. Leave for 30 minutes then wash out with shampoo. It's said to be a really effective dandruff treatment and is amazingly cheap too!
9. Salt scrub
If you're a fan of natural beauty, you probably know all about the effectiveness of salt for exfoliating the skin.
Whilst it won't cure your dandruff, it is a good place to start. Shake a generous amount of course sea salt onto your scalp and massage to exfoliate the surface. It will reduce flaking and remove dead skin.
Follow up with another dandruff treatment to complete the process.
10. Neem juice
Neem may not be an overly common herb in the UK, but it's definitely worth looking out for.
Ok, but why?
The water from boiled neem leaves is not only anti-inflammatory but also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. When poured over the hair after shampooing, it will rid the scalp of dandruff, whilst also preventing hair loss.
11. Green tea
Looking for a cheap and natural dandruff remedy? Turn to green tea.
Full of antioxidants, it can have many benefits for hair and the scalp too.
All you need to do to reap the benefits is brew a mug full, allow it to cool, remove the tea bag and then pour over your scalp - simple.
12. How to get rid of dandruff fast with tea tree oil
If you've ever used T-Gel, you will have no doubt noticed it's rather pungent tea tree smell. Whether you love it or hate it, one thing's for sure - it works wonders on dandruff.
Give your own shampoo an anti-dandruff effect by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to the bottle.
Banish the vampires and your dandruff in one swift sweep with an anti-dandruff garlic mask. Head to Heal With Food for the easy tutorial.
14. Baking soda
Similarly to salt, baking soda can have a beneficial effect on the amount of dandruff you have, however it won't eliminate it in the long term.
Our list of dandruff remedies just wouldn't be complete without yoghurt. Unlike many other dandruff treatments, which fight bacteria, yoghurt nurtures a certain type.
Isn't that counterintuitive?
Apparently not. It turns out Propionibacterium bacteria can actually prevent a flaky, scaly scalp.
16. Apple cider vinegar
There are so many beauty benefits of apple cider vinegar, and yep, you guessed it, it can help with dandruff too.
When applied topically, it balances the pH of the scalp and also kills off any fungi that could be causing your dandruff.
Want to get rid of dandruff, fast?
Mix 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water together. Pour this over your hair after shampooing and conditioning and dry as normal. Repeat once every two weeks for super soft, dandruff-free hair.
17. Aloe vera
Aloe Vera gels, creams and even drinks - we hear a lot about this 'miracle' plant, but does it really work?
Aloe vera leaves contain a gel-like substance, and it's this that will help improve the condition of your scalp. The gel can encourage the growth of new cells and soothe and moisturise your sore and scaly scalp.
Massage the gel onto your scalp and through your hair, leave for 30 minutes and wash with water and a mild shampoo. Repeat three times a week for best results.
You're going to want to stick around for this next one...
Yes, you read that right! Believe it or not, from the 1930s to the 1950s, Listerine was sold as an anti-dandruff treatment.
Containing menthol, thymol, eucalyptol and methyl salicylate, Listerine has an antiseptic and anti-fungal effect on the scalp.
19. Lemon for dandruff
When life gives you lemons...make an anti-dandruff treatment!
Lemon juice is perhaps the easiest way to get rid of dandruff fast at home. All you need is...a lemon!
Apply lemon juice directly to your scalp, being careful not to get it in your eyes. Massage it in for a few minutes, and leave to sit for a further 30 minutes. The citric acid will work to kill fungus and give your scalp the TLC it needs.
Rinse to reveal a calmer, healthier scalp.
20. Olive oil dandruff treatment
The idea of pouring olive oil onto your hair might not seem very appealing, but it'll do wonders for your dandruff.
Want to know why?
Olive oil is extremely nourishing and extremely beneficial for a dry and flaky scalp. Massage 3 tbsp into your scalp and along the length of your hair to give it a complete reboot.
The nutritious oil will soothe itchy scalps and ease your dandruff symptoms.
Dandruff: a summary
Dandruff isn't fun, it isn't pretty, but it is treatable! Whatever dandruff treatment you decide to use, remember, no two scalps are the same, so you may have to experiment to find a solution that's right for you.
Here's to happy, healthier scalps!
Is dandruff harmful to hair?
No, dandruff is not 'harmful' for hair as such. That's to say, it won't cause any other health problems, however, it could affect the appearance of your hair, and even lead to hair loss if left untreated.
Can dandruff go away on its own?
Unfortunately, dandruff won't go away on its own. Whilst manageable, dandruff isn't curable and the symptoms are likely to come and go.
Does washing hair more get rid of dandruff?
Washing your hair alone won't get rid of dandruff. To improve the condition, dandruff needs to be washed regularly with an anti-dandruff, medicated shampoo.
Do you suffer from dandruff? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Nice Post....Thanks for sharing.
We're glad you enjoyed it Rishikesh!
That was a miracle.
I'm glad to hear it worked for you!
I have the dandruff that's white stick to my scalp and hard to come up my hair is not natural I have a relaxer in it and I am a 55 year old female please tell me how to get rid of it with a relaxer
Have you tried washing your hair more regularly or massaging your scalp?
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