Ready for truly easy and affordable dandruff hair care tips? “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet,” wrote Kahlil Gibran, “and the winds long to play with your hair.”
No disrespect to the revered poet and writer, but Gibran must never have endured a bad case of dandruff. If he had, he wouldn’t have wanted anyone – including the wind – near his flake-flecked locks. What are those “magic” dandruff fixes?
Plenty of us have experienced the itchy embarrassment of dandruff. But many of us don’t realize what causes it, or the most effective way to treat it.
For answers to your most pressing questions, we turned to Stephanie S. Gardner, a medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatologist who’s been in private practice for 23 years in Atlanta, Ga.
What Causes Dandruff?
Your flakes may not just be caused by a dry scalp – it could be an allergy. While an exact cause isn’t known, says Gardner, “Studies suggest that dandruff may be an inflammatory reaction to proliferation of a yeast called malassezia that grows on the skin. We think that malassezia produces toxins that irritate and inflame the skin among patients who have a resistance to the yeast.”
The condition occurs most often during the change of seasons and among those who sweat profusely.
Does Dandruff Appear Only on the Scalp?
Not always. “Dandruff can also occur between your eyes and on the brows, around your nose and lips, inside and behind the ears – even on the chest and back,” says Gardner. And it’s not only adults who are affected: Many infants develop “cradle cap,” a yellow, oily and scaly variety of the condition.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Dandruff?
Luckily, dandruff is highly treatable, no matter where it occurs. For most people, says Gardner, anti-dandruff shampoos will do the trick, but only if you allow them to sit on the affected area – the scalp or elsewhere – for five minutes before rinsing.
“It’s perfectly safe to massage the shampoo right into the skin” – even into an infant’s scalp, says Gardner. Different anti-dandruff shampoos contain different active ingredients, including zinc pyrithione (found in Head & Shoulders), selenium sulfide, salicylic acid and tar.
Check out a post on Homemade Hair Masks that are perfect for healthy hair and that with dandruff.
Essential Oils Recommended for Hair Care
Some of the best essential oils recommended for dandruff are easy to come by and affordable. Depending on your condition and the intensity of the dandruff, you can use rinsing solutions with these essential oils or as moisturizing agents diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil or castor oil, as an example. Browse a beautiful collection of essential oils HERE to find the ones you need.
Essential oils are strong. That is why it is important to begin with a weak essential oil solution and graduate to a stronger one-to-one ratio. Check the list of quality carrier oils below.
Tea Tree Essential Oil to Help with Dandruff
With Tea Tree Oil in your skin care cabinet, you can apply its antibacterial and antifungal properties to fight many scalp conditions, dandruff included. Using a carrier oil, add one drop of tea tree oil to about 4 ounces of it. Massage this solution into the scalp, wear a shower cap for about 30 minutes. Then jump into the shower to shampoo and do all your regular hair care routine. Get your tea tree essential oil HERE.
Essential Oils for Dry Scalp
Without doubt Geranium essential oil is good for the dry scalp conditions. Just add a drop into your shampoo and massage the mixture into the scalp. Geranium will add to the healing and strengthening process of your hair roots. Choose your rose geranium oil options HERE.
If you are looking to sooth an itchy scalp or have an overreacting oil glands, Peppermint essential oil can add the calm and soothing effect to the scalp. Use it in the shampoo or even conditioner by adding a drop into either of your hair care products. Get your oil options HERE.
Rosemary Essential Oil for a Balancing Decongesting Effect
In fact, with Rosemary essential oil, you are going not just after antifungal and astringent qualities, you will add a huge decongesting effect to your entire scalp experience. Dandruff flakes usually go away after you use rosemary essential oil as part your shampoo and/or conditioner. Again, use one drop of oil per about 4 ounces of hair product to begin your experience of essential oils. Get your rosemary essential oils HERE.
If you are into essential oils, discover some of the best essential oils for the face care.
List of Carrier Oils to Dilute Essential Oils to Keep Dandruff Flakes Away
To revitalize your scalp, strengthen the hair follicles, and improve the quality and luster of your hair, you gotta take care of your curles.
Using essential oils as part of your hair care strategy, can improve the quality of your hair and and its well-being.
Here’s a list of carrier oils you can use to dilute the strength of essential oils. I choose clean and reputable brands to use in my personal cosmetics. They cost a tad more, but it’s worth it. At then end, we get what we paid for.
What If My Dandruff Persists?
If regular shampooing doesn’t keep your condition under control, rub a bit of one percent hydrocortisone cream – available over the counter – right into the affected area.
On the scalp, let it sit for five minutes before rinsing, advises Gardner. For more resistant cases, your doctor may prescribe a lotion or foam version of topical corticosteroid.
Check out this detailed post on the hair care products that improve and strengthen hair follicles by using sea weed ingredients.
In fact, for truly problematic cases, says Gardner, “We have something called coal tar,” which is messy and smelly but may clear things nicely. And in rare, severe cases, your dermatologist may prescribe Accutane, an acne medication that suppresses sebaceous gland activity.
If none of these methods brings relief, your doctor may order tests to find out whether a broader disorder, like zinc deficiency, is causing your symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Dandruff?
Daily, gentle shampooing will prevent dandruff buildup, says Gardner. While dandruff can be brought on by unavoidable illness (like the flu), two other major triggers – too much stress and too little sleep – are easier to control. So if you can reduce worry and increase your Z’s, you may see a difference not only on your scalp, but the rest of your skin as well.
Ronnie Polaneczky is an award-winning columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Her work has also appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health and others.