Dandruff is a frustrating condition and it keeps you from wearing your favorite dark-colored clothes. There’s a shelf-load of chemical-laden, expensive remedies at your local store, but you can find relief just as easily by using items already in your house. It may not even take a remedy applied to your head at all, just a subtle change in how you take care of your body.
Save the shampoo.
Washing your hair too much can exacerbate dandruff symptoms, so cut down to shampooing your hair every other day. Also, take time to comb or brush your hair thoroughly at the end of the evening and before you jump in the shower. That old adage of 100 strokes with the hairbrush has some merit: brushing your hair from scalp to tip distributes the natural oils on your head and reduces the appearance of dandruff.
Take care of yourself.
According to WebMD, stress and depression can play a key role in skin conditions. If your dandruff happens whenever you’re going through a stressful patch of life, find constructive outlets for your anxiety or take St. John’s Wort, which may alleviate some stress symptoms. Also, make sure you’re getting enough Omega-3s and B-vitamins in your diet with healthy, balanced meals including leafy greens, fish, and flaxseed.
Raid the pantry.
Your kitchen cupboard has a variety of goodies that may relieve that itchy scalp. Use baking soda as a pre-wash for your hair, just rub in at the scalp line while your hair is wet, leave for a couple of minutes and shampoo out. Rinses containing water and lemon peels, fenugreek seeds and vinegar are also noted home remedies, although you shouldn’t try them all in the same pan.
You can also use coconut oil or olive oil as a leave-in conditioner. Apply lightly to the scalp or to the worst flaky areas and comb through your hair after a few minutes. For a deep conditioning, try baby oil or olive oil on your scalp overnight (cover hair with a towel or fitted terry cap to avoid oil smudges on your pillow) and shampoo out in the morning.
Tea for tree, anyone?
Tea tree oil is one of the most popular ingredients in commercial dandruff remedies. There are tea tree oil-based shampoos made specifically for this purpose, but if you’re familiar with essential oils you can do it yourself. The oil is very pungent, and a little goes a long way. Rub a little on your fingertips and massage problem areas. Discontinue if you notice an allergic reaction or if the smell triggers headaches. You can diffuse the tea tree oil by mixing it with a dollop of aloe. Rub it into your scalp and wash out after a few minutes.
When you try a home remedy for dandruff, it’s important to give it a week or longer to work. Note any changes you see, and if it’s not effective for your particular problem, move on to the next one. Trying too many at once will leave your head smelling like a lunch counter.
Beth Bartlett writes about pop culture and frugal living. She also covers topics like securing your online reputation.