How to Get Rid of Dandruff

How to Get Rid of Dandruff

What Causes Dandruff

For a long time the root cause of dandruff was unknown and without knowing the cause it is hard to know how to get rid of dandruff. Many people came to believe that dry skin led to the embarrassing white flakes. Yet, many people with dandruff claim that their hair and skin is oily and slick, not dry. Another typical misbelief is that dandruff is caused by poor hygiene [1]. It is true that those who do not shower regularly can have dandruff, but people with impeccable hygiene can also develop dandruff. Therefore, the reasons for the condition must be more complex [1].

Dermatologists began to dig deeper into the issue and found a more surprising answer. Dandruff is caused by the overproduction of certain yeast that is found on all skin, not just the scalp. The excess yeast leads to excess oil on the scalp [2].

All of this extra oil is a huge irritant to the scalp and causes buildup of dead skin cells in the oil [2]. This results in the thin, white flakes that we call dandruff. So, how to get rid of dandruff is about controlling both the excess oil and removing the resulting skin cells that settle on the otherwise healthy scalp.

Use a Specialized Shampoo

We all know the catchphrase, “don’t wear black without the blue.” It has played on our televisions and radios for years, and sales for this and similar shampoo brands are high. This is because many Americans are constantly trying to solve their dandruff problem, and special shampoos pose one of the easiest solutions.

There are a number of shampoos on the market made specifically for how to get rid of dandruff. However, it can be complicated to determine what shampoo to use because many of these shampoos have different active ingredients [1]. This is partly because dermatologists have competing ideas on what synthetic and natural products best fight dandruff.

Another reason dandruff shampoos can be significantly different from one another is due to the fat that there are many different hair types and levels of skin sensitivity. Someone with thick, durable hair will likely require a stronger product than someone with thinner hair or extremely sensitive skin. This is also true for people of different races [1].

Many people have found that their dandruff is most controlled when rotating dandruff shampoos and conditioners [3]. This has led many dermatologists to recommend that those with serious symptoms try rotating brands and intermingling regular shampoo in a weekly routine. When it comes to using special shampoos for how to get rid of dandruff, the key is trying shampoos that have different active ingredients [1].

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

There are cheaper and more natural ways for how to get rid of dandruff than spending cash on specialty shampoo. One natural remedy for dandruff is rinsing with vinegar. It is recommended to shampoo and condition your hair as usual, and then use a small amount of vinegar, either white or apple cider vinegar is thought to work best, to rinse the scalp [3]. A small amount of water should follow the vinegar.

The vinegar clears away excess oil and skin better than traditional hair products and water alone, it is also responsible for rebalancing the pH of the scalp and skin [2]. This keeps the scalp free of the irritants that eventually cause the flaky dandruff. The vinegar rinse does not need to be done about once a week or every fortnight, and the one downside is that the process will make you hair smell of vinegar [3].

Spend Some Time in the Sun

Another natural way for how to get rid of dandruff or fight it off is soaking up some rays. Dermatologists are not certain why natural sunlight clears up dandruff, but studies show that those who are outdoors and in the sun see a decrease in their dandruff. In fact, many researchers now believe that it is a lack of sunlight, not the cold weather, that causes dandruff to worsen in winter [3]. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way for people to lessen their dandruff.

Get in Touch with the Trees

When it comes to alternative remedies for dandruff, this one might seem the most far out. Some dermatologists have found that tea tree oil will reduce the white flakes of dandruff and help improve overall scalp health [4].

Not any tree will do the trick. The beneficial oil comes from the tea tree, indigenous to Australia. In the past, this same oil was used for other healing and treatment purposes. Aboriginal peoples in Australia applied the oil to everything from burns and cuts to scars and blemishes [3]. However, tea tree oil has seen a serious rise in sales throughout the United States and Europe due to its effects on dandruff. Tea tree oil sooths the scalp and alleviates some of the irritation from excess oil and skin, thus fewer flakes [2].

However, be careful using tea tree oil for medicinal purposes, as it is dangerous when ingested and some people are allergic to it when applied topically [4].

Searching for Certainty

The issue with researching how to get rid of dandruff is that, all too often, the person does not have dandruff at all. There are a number of scalp and skin conditions that are similar to dandruff, but caused and cured by different things. For instance, dry scalp is not the same thing as dandruff.

Dry scalp can be caused by over shampooing, change in climate or temperature, or other environmental factors [2]. Therefore, many of the recommendations for how to get rid of dandruff, might infuriate and worsen a dry scalp.

As well, more serious skin conditions such as psoriasis or inflammation also causes the scalp to flake. Even skin cancer on the scalp or other parts of the body can cause flakes similar to dandruff [2]. If natural remedies or specialized shampoos are not controlling the symptoms after a week or two, it is definitely time to consider other alternatives or issues [3].

As all of these different health issues produce similar symptoms, but can pose serious health risks, it might be easiest to see a dermatologist early on to provide certainty on what is causing your flaky scalp.

 

References:

[1] https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/how-to-treat-dandruff

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-remedies-that-really-do-get-rid-of-dandruff-once-and-for-all_us_57ed2f7fe4b024a52d2d37ae

[3] http://everydayroots.com/dandruff-remedies

[4] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dandruff/symptoms-causes/dxc-20215281

[RD] http://www.rd.com/health/beauty/dandruff-causes/

Anthony Alayon
 

Anthony Alayon is a Certified Personal Trainer & Certified Sports Nutritionist with the ISSA. He’s written for Natural Muscle Magazine, Bliss Magazine, Bodybuilding.com, About.com (A New York Times Company), and several other popular fitness websites. He’s taught thousands how to eat better, and build the physique they could only dream of (including numerous pro athletes). Today, he’s here to share his knowledge and experience with you!

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