Everybody is constantly shedding skin cells and growing new ones. As many as one in five people has a scalp that sheds enough cells to have them show up as flakes.
When the proteins and fats in the scalp function properly, they maintain the circulation of water and oils and keep the scalp and hair healthy.
Dandruff develops when the sebaceous glands in the scalp can not adequately assimilate proteins and fats.
Causes of dandruff include allergic reactions, dietary deficiencies, emotional stress, hairspray or shampoo residue, hormonal fluctuations, illness, infrequent shampooing, a too dry or too oily scalp or a sunburned head.
Nutrition and Supplements
The complex carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables and whole grains supply nutrients essential for scalp health. Studies show that many cases of dandruff are related to diets high in saturated fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement plus optional supplements often clears up “flaky” problems.
Vitamin A taken in the form of beta carotene, 25,000 to 35,000 IU daily for 1 month may prevent dry scalp and the dead cell accumulation of dandruff.
B Complex helps break down fatty acids. One tablet once or twice a day plus 100 – 300 milligrams of PABA has cleared uncontrollable dandruff that spreads to the eyebrows and sides of nose.
Vitamin E. For improved circulation take 400 IU of vitamin E. Vitamin E plus a tablespoon of canola or olive oil with the daily diet may correct dry, flaky dandruff.
Lecithin. One tablespoon of granules daily OR two capsules with each meal protects and strengthens cell membranes of the scalp.
Selenium. 50 to 100 micrograms daily enhances the action of vitamin E and helps prevent the hardening of tissues that can result in scaly dandruff.
Zinc promotes protein metabolism. The scalp is mainly protein. Take 30 to 50 milligrams OR the equivalent in zinc lozenges dissolved in the mouth at intervals, daily for 1 week. In some cases, this has halted the itching and scaling of dandruff within 7 days.
Kelp tablets supplies needed minerals. Especially iodine, for healing of the scalp and better hair growth.
Evening primrose oil relieves inflammation. Take two 500 milligram capsules 3 times daily.
Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal action and is now included in a number of shampoos. It can be found in natural health food stores. Tea tree oil prevents flaking and infection. You can also massage a few drops into your scalp daily.
Pre-Treatments For Severe Dandruff
On occasion oil treatments help to loosen and soften the scales. Massage warmed castor oil, corn oil, olive oil or petroleum jelly into the scalp and cover with a hot moist towel for 30 minutes before shampooing.
Pouring warm vinegar over the hair and wrapping with a towel for 1 hour before shampooing has cleared some cases of difficult dandruff when repeated twice a week for a month.
Stir a tablespoon of salt into a raw egg. Rub the mixture into your scalp and wait 5 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water. Shampoo as usual. It will also give your hair radiance and body.
At bedtime, rub aloe vera gel on the scalp. Cover with a towel or shower cap and shampoo out the next morning. Repeat several times a week until the dandruff disappears.
Proper Shampooing Technique
It is not all about the shampoo, but about the amount of time the shampoo remains on the scalp. This is how long it takes the product to do its job properly, including prescription shampoo.
Massage the scalp with the shampoo to loosen flakes. Let the shampoo lather remain in your hair and on the scalp for 2 minutes before rinsing.
Then apply a second application, letting the shampoo lather remain in your hair and on the scalp for 3 – 5 minutes before rinsing. Always lather twice with dandruff shampoos.
If you must use a conditioner, apply only to the hair and not the scalp.
Natural Rinse Remedies
Dandruff may also result from an overly alkaline condition that can be corrected by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice OR vinegar to the final rinse.
For a final rinse, use double strength tea brewed from any of the following herbs: chamomile, chaparral, nettle, rosemary, mint, sage, or thyme. Adding a spoonful of vinegar may increase the benefits.
Between Shampooing Remedies
To fight between shampooing flakiness, dab the scalp with a cotton ball moistened with one of these mixtures:
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar stirred into 1 cup water, OR
a blend of equal parts of witch hazel and any commercial mouthwash, OR
1 tablespoon witch hazel in 1/4 cup water, OR
1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1/4 cup water.
Those with dandruff may benefit from the use of these herbal supplements; dandelion, goldenseal and red clover. Chaparral may be used as a hair rinse.