Dandruff - An Unpleasant Condition
Dandruff can be a real embarrassment to many
unfortunate sufferers. Fortunately, there are many
effective treatments for keeping the condition under
control. Source: public domain
Getting Rid of Dandruff for Good
Dandruff, to those who don't suffer from it, may seem like a trivial matter. But for those that have to live with a constantly itchy, dry scalp and a cascade of embarrassing flakes falling at every movement of the head, it can be a very challenging and debilitating condition. I know from personal experience that it can have a real and very negative impact on your self-confidence. I also know that you can put it behind you. You can live a dandruff free life!
Fortunately, there are many effective treatments that can at the very least keep your dandruff under control and at the best practically eradicate it all together. The trick is to find the one which works best for you as there are so many different possible causes of the symptoms of dandruff and each will be responsive to its own particular range of treatments.
You do not need to suffer from dandruff any longer. There is a lot that you can do. Let's learn how to get rid of dandruff once and for all...
A Flake of Dandruff
A close up shot of a flake of dandruff.
Dandruff is dry skin that falls from the scalp.
Source: public domain
What Causes Dandruff?
There are many different possible causes of your dandruff.
One thing to get cleared up straight away is to banish the idea that the presence of dandruff is in any way related to poor hygiene This is simply not the case.
Shedding skin from all parts of the body in tiny flakes is a perfectly natural process - in fact, you completely renew every cell in your body every seven years of life! So, a certain amount of flaky skin falling from the scalp is normal and can be got rid of with regular, gentle brushing.
When dandruff is severe and persistent, then there is usually an underlying cause which goes beyond the normal and healthy sloughing of old skin.
- Seborrheic dermatitis
The effects of seborrheic dermatitis are not limited to the scalp but can occur in many locations on the body. Most commonly it will occur in those areas which naturally secrete the most oils. For example, aside from the scalp, the eyebrows behind the ears or on the cheeks and round the nose and even the groin. It can also be accompanied by reddening of the skin and a hot, itchy feeling. The temptation in such circumstances is to scratch but this can lead to inflammation, lesions and bleeding. If you have seborrheic dermatitis you will certainly have dandruff but you will likely find that you also have flaky, sore skin in these other areas, at least from time to time.
Eczema can be a very severe condition. If you suspect that
eczema may be the underlying cause of your dandruff, then you
should seek advice from your medical practitioner or pharmacist.
Source: public domain
While this skin disorder cannot be cured it can be kept completely at bay with proper treatment and management.
- Psoriasis and eczema - Psoriasis again manifests as itchy patches of sore, reddened skin often covered with scaly flakes of a yellow or silvery colour. The most common body parts to be affected are knees, elbows, back, feet, hands, head and face. Clearly the symptoms of dandruff often accompany psoriasis. It is caused by an immune system deficiency which leads to the over-rapid production of replacement skin cells. If you think you may have psoriasis then seek advice from your medical practitioner or pharmacist as there are many treatments available. Eczema may be a genetic condition causing red, swollen skin and flakes but it can also be caused by an allergic reaction. If you think that eczema might be the underlying cause of your dandruff, then request an allergy test from your medical practitioner. A change in diet may be all you need.
- The Wrong Shampoo - Dandruff can actually be caused by your hair-care products! If you suffer from dandruff, it may be advisable to switch to a product that is composed only of natural, non-irritant ingredients. That is not to say that you shouldn't experiment with the many anti-dandruff shampoos available but do consider if the chemical concoction that you apply daily to your poor head might not be better replaced with something else.
Malassezia Lilophilis - A scalp dwelling fungus.
Choosing the right shampoo is very important
Contrary to popular opinion, dandruff has nothing to do with personal hygiene.
However, choosing the right shampoo to treat dandruff is very important.
Source: public domain (US-PD)
Your Plan of Attack - Natural or Pharmaceutical?
Well, as someone who used to suffer from dandruff and all its hideous consequences, I can only say that you would be well advised to use whatever works for you!
As we've already said, that will depend on the root causes of your dandruff. You will probably have to experiment to discover what product, home-remedy or combination does the trick for you.
Personally, I use a powerful medicated anti-dandruff shampoo fortified with selenium once or twice a week. In the meantime I use the honey and cider vinegar home remedy combo that I mix up myself. That works for me, but you'll need to find your own best treatment. To help you, I'll give you plenty of information about the most effective, proven pharmaceutical and natural products and remedies that you should try.
There is some evidence that tea tree oil has a powerful effect on alleviating the symptoms of dandruff. It is not advisable to use the pure essential oil as this can actually burn your scalp. It is certainly worth trying the best of the prepared tea tree shampoos. I have to confess that they didn't work for me - although I enjoyed the zing that it gives to your scalp which was very revitalizing in itself.
I undertook an informal survey of several friends and colleagues to see what they recommended and several did use a tea tree based product, which they swore by. By far the most popular was 'Jason Tea Tree Oil Shampoo'. I've never tried it myself but it could be a good place to start.
The other natural remedy I'm going to mention is the one that I personally use in conjunction with my favourite anti-dandruff shampoo. It's the brown sugar, cider vinegar and honey combo. Watch the video below for a detailed explanation and demonstration of how to prepare and use this home-remedy for dandruff.
The Ingredients You'll Need
To use this home-remedy you'll need the follwing ingredients:
· Brown sugar
· Cider Vinegar
· Olive oil
· Mixing pot
· Teaspoon or measuring spoon
Handy Hint: You can mix up a jar full in one go and keep it in the bathroom cabinet to save time. All the ingredients are also natural preservatives so there'll be no danger of it going off!
You can try this on its own if you have some objection to any allopathic preparations but I would recommend that you use it in conjunction with a suitable shampoo.
Certainly the possible problem of lingering odours can be eliminated by washing your hair twice in the same session. First time around with the cider/honey/sugar combo and then, a few minutes later, with a gentle shampoo.
Finish off with a little olive oil rubbed into the scalp.
You shouldn't need to apply this remedy more than twice a week but you may want to start out on a daily basis for a week or two to bring a bad case of dandruff rapidly under control. Once it is cleaned, use the remedy less frequently to keep it at bay.
Permission: CC-By-SA 3.0
Snake Oil and Quack Medicine
Just a quick word to say that if you really want to get rid of your dandruff for good and favour the natural methods then please don't be taken in by the useless remedies being peddled without any scientific basis. These include:
- Biotin supplements. Experiments have shown that there is no benefit from this in the treatment of dandruff that cannot be had much more cheaply and pleasurably by enjoying a healthy, balanced diet of freshly prepared foods.
- Not Using Any Shampoo. Some will tell you that in this way your hair will achieve its 'natural balance'. Nonsense. I tried it and if you suffer from dandruff it will only make matters much worse.
- Homoeopathy. Despite all the anecdotes, extensive scientific investigations have shown beyond reasonable doubt that there is, quite literally, nothing in it. Don't waste your money.
There will always be those only too happy to sell you any old thing to turn a buck. The sad thing is that ultimately, the natural remedies that do work and have a sound scientific basis are often tarred with the same brush and people foolishly divide themselves into two opposing camps. Those that consider all natural medicines as pure quackery and witchcraft and those that are convinced the medical establishment are trying to poison us all!
Just apply a little reason and common sense and do your research. There is no need to be partisan.
The Best Medicated Shampoos to Treat Dandruff
So, having dealt with my recommendations for natural remedies - essentially a real tea tree oil based shampoo and a honey/cider vinegar/ brown sugar mixture with olive oil - let's take a look at the two best shampoos that will help you get rid of dandruff once and for all.
There may be others that work, but these are the two that I know personally and that I have discovered through research have scientifically proven ingredients.
The first is the Alba Botanica Rainforest Shampoo. As with Jason products, it is not tested on animals. It is based on Brazil nut extracts which are rich in the element selenium. This has been clinically proven to be an effective fungicide and so, along with the oil enhancing ingredients, can be a very effective anti-dandruff treatment.
The second is extremely potent. It contains ingredients that have historically been animal tested but there is no ongoing testing. For some that will be acceptable, for others not. However, it does work! The product is Selsun SeleniumSulfide Shampoo. It destroys dandruff and after initial treatment requires only very occasional use.
Three Point Plan to Get Rid of Dandruff
So, to finish off, here's a summary of my proven three point plan to vanish dandruff from your life forever:
1. Eat a healthy balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts (especially brazils) oily fish and red meat no more than twice a week.
2. Take regular exercise outdoors (natural light strengthens the skin and immune system and physical work reduces stress)
3. Choose a proven, medically reliable shampoo with selenium as an active ingredient and use in combination with the cider vinegar/honey/sugar remedy
Do these things and, unless your dandruff is associated with a very serious dermatological condition that requires direct medical intervention (in which case you should consult an appropriate practitioner) you will have learned how to get rid of dandruff.
Forever. Now isn't that good news? Check out the products below for some excellent anti-dandruff solutions: