Before knowing how to get rid of dandruff fast ,it is important to know what is dandruff and what are the main causes of dandruff.It will be easier for you to treat dandruff if you know the exact cause which produce dandruff.The cause for dandruff will be different for different individuals.
Dandruff is one of those fungal problems that all of us have suffered from at some point or the other and even though it is one of the most common skin infections, very few of us actually know how to get rid of dandruff. In this post, we will talk about the various nitty gritties related to dandruff as to what actually causes dandruff, what are its symptoms, how can we avoid it and most importantly what are the remedies for dandruff.
Let us start with what dandruff actually is. Dandruff is nothing but a chronic condition of the scalp wherein the flakes of the skin start appearing and eventually shedding from the scalp at a rate higher than the normal. It is usually marked with itching. Human skin cells are continuously being produced. When the new cells are produced, the old cells are automatically pushed to the surface and then out of the scalp. For someone who is suffering from dandruff, the new skin cells are produced at a rate greater than at which the old cells are expelled, hence, resulting in more shedding of the skin and making dandruff more noticeable. The risk of developing dandruff increases if the skin is exposed to extreme temperatures.
Causes of Dandruff
The causes of dandruff are umpteen with dryness of the scalp being the most common. It can also be caused due to sensitivity to hair products; and skin conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or malassezia.
- Dry Skin: If dryness is the cause of dandruff in one’s scalp, then one is likely to have symptoms and signs of dry skin on other parts of the body as well. Winter cold air, combined with overheated rooms is a common cause of itchy, flaking skin. People with dandruff caused by dry skin tend to have small flakes of dandruff and the flakes tend to be non-oily.
- Oily Skin: Dandruff due to oily skin is a very frequent occurrence and is termed as seborrheic dermatitis. It is marked by red greasy skin covered with white or yellow scales. In addition to the scalp, the redness and itching occur frequently around the folds of the nose, back of the ears, the breastbone and eyebrow areas.
- Not enough shampooing: One of the major causes of dandruff is the lack of cleanliness on the scalp. If one does not regularly wash his hair, oils and skin cells from the scalp can build up, causing dandruff
- A yeast-like fungus (malassezia): Malassezia lives on the scalps of most adults, but for some, it irritates the scalp and grows out of control. It feeds on the oils our hair follicles secrete. When this happens, the scalp can become irritated and produce extra skin cells. The extra skin cells die and fall off, making them appear white and flaky in your hair or on your clothes. Yeast-sensitive people who get dandruff often find that it gets better during the warmer months and worse during the winter. Why malassezia irritates some scalps and does not irritate others is still a mystery.
- Reaction to certain hair products: Sometimes sensitivities to certain ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes, especially paraphenylenediamine, can cause a red, itchy, scaly scalp. Shampooing too often or using too many styling products also may irritate your scalp, causing dandruff
Symptoms of Dandruff
Now that we know what causes dandruff, let us try and understand what the various symptoms of dandruff are and how can we diagnose it.
The symptoms of dandruff are not very difficult to spot. They include red and itchy skin in addition to the white flakes of dead skin in the hair or the shoulders. The condition is likely to worsen during the winters when the exposure to temperature variation can contribute to the dry skin and tends to improve during the summers.
If seborrheic dermatitis is the cause of dandruff, the symptoms usually appear gradually. The scalp becomes dry or greasy and tends to feel itchy. The death of skin cells leads them to turning into yellowish scales. A bad case of seborrheic dermatitis can also cause symptoms in other parts of the body. Yellowish or reddish scaling can appear on the hairline, in and around the ears, or on the nose and chest. Affected newborn babies may get a thick and crusty rash on the scalp, called cradle cap. Although it can be alarming for parents, cradle cap isn’t dangerous and usually clears up on its own by the time a baby is 3 years old.
Diagnosis of dandruff is relatively simple and often people are able to self-diagnose it from the symptoms of an itchy, dry and scaly scalp. Usually dandruff does not require one to see a dermatologist but if the condition persists for a longer time, then one may consult a skin specialist.
How to get rid of dandruff with home remedies
Before consulting a specialist one can always follow the below mentioned home remedies for dandruff which have time and again proven their worth and have managed to provide relief from this chronic condition.
Apple Cider Vinegar
In addition to adorning your kitchen, apple cider vinegar can help in getting rid of dandruff as well. Although rinsing your hair with vinegar may sound to be a daunting task but it can actually help in curing dandruff as it addresses the root of the problem. It helps in getting rid of the unwanted skin that would in turn clog pores if left unattended. Vinegar also acts as a fungicide thus eliminating the overgrowth of fungus in your scalp.
All you need to do is mix equal portions of vinegar and water and pour it over your hair. You then have to scrub it all over your scalp for several minutes and then gently rinse it with water.
Do not shampoo and wait for another 8-12 hours before you take a normal shower. You can repeat it weekly and see how effective it will prove to be for your itchy skin.
It surely is an all-round thing to have in the house. Since, it is an exfoliator, it helps in getting rid of excess dead skin. It can even act as a fungicide, thus, eliminating the fungal infection from your scalp. Its tiny particles can even help in removing the loose flakes stuck in the hair instead of breaking the pieces of skin into smaller pieces.
You need to mix one table spoon of baking soda in one cup of warm water and stir. Apply this mixture in place of the shampoo, daily if possible. It can make your hair feel dry initially but gradually the natural oils will restore themselves. If you feel you cannot omit the use of shampoo, you can mix a teaspoon of baking soda to handful of shampoo and use it instead to experience what wonders it does.
It is a popular Indian spice with excellent medicinal properties. The seeds of fenugreek are rich in proteins and amino acids, thus, leading to healthy and shiny hair by removing the flakes of dead skin from your scalp. Fenugreek is abundant in lecithin which is a natural emollient that helps in strengthening the hair making it smoother and softer.
You will have to add two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds into a bowl of water and soak them overnight. In the morning, grind them into a smooth paste followed by the application of the paste on your scalp. Leave it for applied for 30-45 minutes and then wash with water or your regular shampoo.
Neem is known for its medicinal properties from times immemorial. It has its role to play in getting rid of dandruff as well. Neem leaves not only provide relief from itching but act as an antifungal preventing the further growth of dandruff causing fungus.
You will need to take 4-5 cups of hot water and add two handfuls of neem leaves to it. Leave it overnight and strain it the next morning. You can then use this water to rinse your hair. In addition to it, you can also make a paste of neem leaves and apply it to your scalp and then rinse it with normal water. Either of the two ways can help you in eliminating and preventing dandruff.
Sit in the sunlight
Exposure to Sun has proven to be good in lessening the severity of dandruff. It is believed that the light from the Sun helps in drying up some of the excess oil that leads to dandruff.
All you need to do is sit in the sunlight for 10-15 minutes daily. Do not overdo it as the harmful UV radiations may have adverse effects on your skin and health.
Lemons to get rid of dandruff
The acids in the lemon juice can help in getting rid of dandruff by eliminating fungus which is often the root cause of the problem. Free from the harsh chemicals, using lemons will leave you feeling fresh with a pleasant smell.
You need to massage 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into your scalp and then rinse it with a mixture of water and one tablespoon lemon juice. You can repeat this procedure daily until your scalp is completely free from the dry and itchy flakes.
Tea Tree Oil
Among the numerous medicinal usages of tea tree oil, its fungicidal properties make it a preferred choice for the healing of itchy skin. Its topical use provides a soothing effect to the sore skin resulting due to dandruff.
Take a bottle and add 1 tablespoon of tea tree coil into 1 cup of warm water and shake well. After cleaning your hair with a mild shampoo, spray the mixture all over your scalp. Do not wash it out, although you can pat the excess moisture out.
Preventing and Treating Dandruff
Unfortunately, if you’re prone to dandruff, it’s most likely a problem that will continue to recur. Still, you don’t have to wait for flakes to make an appearance to start treating them, you can take preemptive action to avoid flare-ups. Diets high in saturated and Trans fats cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which makes dandruff worse. Avoiding these fats, as well as incorporating varied fruits and veggies that contain zinc and B vitamins, will help keep the flakes at bay. You may also want to consider taking a probiotic — any of a group of beneficial bacteria that can be found in yogurt or can be taken as a supplement to combat the overgrowth of yeast.
The first and foremost method of treating dandruff is using an anti-dandruff shampoo. When selecting an over-the-counter shampoo, one needs to look for antidandruff ingredients like ketoconazole*, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, sulfur, coal tar, or zinc pyrithione. Every product does not suit all, so, one needs to try a few products before boiling down to the shampoo that works best for you. Shampoos that contain ketoconazole appear to be more effective in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff when compared with other non-prescription medicated shampoos. Salicylic acid preparations are mostly used for dandruff caused by psoriasis, while Sulphur and coal tar preparations are generally used for dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis.
For an infant with cradle cap, a small amount of mineral oil can be applied to the dry areas of the scalp to soften the scales. Shampooing followed by gentle brushing can then remove the dry flakes. The infant’s hair can then be washed with a mild baby shampoo. If these measures do not help, try applying a small amount of warmed mineral oil at bedtime and then shampooing it out in the morning.
If any of the above mentioned remedies do not help in getting rid of dandruff, then one must consult a dermatologist and take medical advice. You may need a prescription-strength shampoo or treatment with a steroid lotion. All in all, dandruff is not a condition that should cause worries and is something that can easily be kept at bay by following a healthy and clean lifestyle.