Throughout history, hair has always played a significant role in people’s lives. Since the time of our ancestors, it has been considered to be associated with beauty and youthfulness in women and masculinity and charm in men. In addition, a person’s crowning glory can also tell of his or her social status and religion. For example, it is traditional for Sikhs to keep their hair uncut as it symbolizes strength and holiness. Priests and monks used to shave the crowns of their heads to show their vow of chastity and lack of vanity. In the bible, Samson even got his strength from his gorgeous locks.
In Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh wore a wig to indicate his status while his sons wore theirs up in a bun on the right side of their heads. Similarly, women used to wear their hairs tied up. They would only let their hair down in the company of their husbands to symbolize their willingness to submit to their spouse, or when alone.
Today, hair is still as important to everyone as it was in the ancient times. For most people, having great hair is crucial not only in maintaining one’s appearance but also in having his or her identity. Furthermore, it is a representation of one’s personality and beliefs. This is why a lot of people spend hundreds of dollars maintaining their tresses. They also take the time to choose the products that they use to ensure that their hair is always looking amazing. Women, in particular, treat their mane with utmost care. In fact, bad hair days can make some women feel depressed because do not feel as beautiful. This is the very reason that a multitude of hair products have been invented to satiate people’s desire to make their hair look magical all the time. As a matter of fact, the average woman spends over $50,000 on hair treatments and styling products over her entire existence.
However, using too much hair products can diminish the quality of your tresses, which could lead to various problems, including the following:
- Hair loss – the average person loses about 100 hair strands every day, which is a part of the hair growth cycle. It starts with the anagen phase, which is when each strand grows half an inch longer every month for up six years. Then, the catagen phase occurs, which is the transitional phase, and lasts for approximately 10 days. After that, your hair enters the telogen phase, which is the resting stage wherein your locks start to fall out. During this time, the follicles remain inactive for three months. After which, the hair growth cycle is repeated. However, if this natural cycle is disrupted, which can be caused by overstyling, this leads to hair thinning or loss.
- Thinning hair – although this can be genetic, using too much hair products and heating devices can also lead to thinning hair. This is due to the chemicals present in most hair sprays that damaging the roots and preventing new hair from growing.
- Hair breakage – too much heating from hair straighteners and curling irons can damage the integrity of your hair strands. When this happens, hair breakage can occur. Using dyes can also dry out your tresses, which could also result in breakage. Similarly, pulling your locks too tightly to create different styles can also lead to this problem.
- Dandruff – it is one of the common chronic scalp problems characterized by flaking of the skin. Allergic reaction to certain hair products is one of the many causes of dandruff.
Although dandruff is neither a serious condition nor contagious, it can be quite embarrassing to have flakes fall off your head while walking around town.
What is dandruff?
One of the most annoying hair and scalp problems that many people have is dandruff. It is those flakes of dead skin on your scalp that tend to be itchy. But contrary to popular belief, this condition isn’t caused by dryness in the scalp. Rather, it is the result of too much oil, which is due to an uncontrolled growth of a harmless yeast, according to Jessica Wu, M.D., who is a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California Medical School.
Dermatologists would often warn against shampooing every day as this can strip your scalp and hair follicles of natural oils that cause irritation. But if you have dandruff, not shampooing enough will make it worse as it could cause more oil build up and dead skin cells on your scalp. As a result, fungi and yeast will continue to thrive, thus making your dandruff problems harder to solve.
It is recommended to use a medicated shampoo to help control dandruff. However, if there is no improvement after one to two weeks, this could be an indication of a more pressing problem – psoriasis. There are hair products with harmful chemicals that could cause an allergic reaction that dries out your skin. But if a dandruff shampoo does not help, it’s best to consult a dermatologist.
Common causes of dandruff
When you know the root cause of the problem, it is easier to solve it and get rid of it for good. Here are some possible causes of dandruff:
- Weather conditions
Some people who live in tropical areas have the worst cases of dandruff because of humidity. Other people develop dead skin cells on the scalp because of weather changes or when it is too cold.
- Poor immune system
People with certain immunodeficiency disorders like HIV, AIDS, leukemia, hepatitis, myeloma and the like are more prone to dandruff because their immune systems are not strong enough to fight infections.
- Oily scalp
When a person’s scalp is too oily, it becomes a breeding ground for yeast and fungal infections, including dandruff. It becomes worse if the person doesn’t use the right kind of hair care product.
Emotional and mental stress can cause a lot of health problems. To some, it can lead to thinning hair or balding. To others, it could cause dry scalp, leading to dandruff.
- Poor hygiene
When you don’t wash your hair as often as dermatologists would recommend, it could cause yeast and fungi to build up on the scalp. When that happens, problems like dandruff could occur.
- Poor diet
Too much consumption of processed foods, fatty and dried foods and refined sugar could lead to inflammation, which could also cause dandruff.
- Too much brushing
Brushing your hair excessively can make you more prone to dandruff. Your scalp has a natural ability to shed dead skin cells every now and then. But poor brushing habits could disrupt this natural occurrence. It is recommended to brush and comb your hair at least twice a day.
In order to solve the problem of dandruff, it is recommended to use medicated shampoos. Aside from that, there are also home remedies that can help you control if not get rid of dandruff forever.
11 home remedies for dandruff problems
Apple cider vinegar
The smell of apple cider vinegar on your hair may lead to embarrassment. But you can wash your hair the next day to get rid of the odor.
To use apple cider vinegar to treat dandruff, begin by mixing ½ cup of the vinegar with ½ cup warm water in a clean container. Pour it on your head slowly and gently massage the scalp for about five minutes. Let it sit for several minutes before rinsing it. Wait at least eight hours before shampooing to ensure the treatment takes its full effect.
Also known as nimtree or Indian lilac, the extract of its leaves is used to treat bloody nose, stomach upset, intestinal worms, eye disorders, skin ulcers and gum diseases, among others. But a homemade pack of neem can also be used to deal with your dry, itchy scalp.
You will need ¼ cup of neem juice, ¼ cup of coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, ¼ cup of beetroot juice. Combine together all the ingredients to create a paste. Once thoroughly mixed, passage the mixture on your scalp for 20 minutes. After that, rinse it with clean water and herbal shampoo and conditioner. This works best if you use it at least once a week.
Lemon and coconut oil
Lemon works wonders in getting rid of dandruff.
To use this home remedy, you will need to heat two tablespoons of coconut oil and mix equal part of lemon juice. Combine well and then massage gently on the scalp. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with a mild shampoo. Do this three to four times a weeks for best results.
Yes, baking soda can also help you treat your dry and flaky scalp. After washing your hair, use a spoonful of baking soda and massage on the scalp. Leave for about a minute before washing it off. Repeat this four times a week for about a month. You may have to repeat it several times to get optimum results.
This spice has antifungal properties that can effectively reduce the flakes and soothe the itching and irritation.
Take a handful of fenugreek seeds and soak it in water overnight. The morning after, make a paste and then apply on your scalp and hair. Let it sit for about an hour. Then, rinse and wash with a mild or herbal shampoo. Do this for three to four times a week.
Yogurt or curd
Yogurt is known to be an effective remedy for stomach ailments. But it can also be used to moisturize the skin, including your scalp. It conditions the hair, reduces hair fall and treats dandruff problems. This is due to yogurt’s antifungal properties.
Take half a cup of yogurt and massage on your scalp. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Then, wash it off with a mild shampoo.
You might be wondering how something oily can treat dandruff, which could be caused by having excessive oil on the scalp. But olive oil is an excellent moisturizer, thus it can help make the flakes go away after several applications. To get the best result, massage your scalp with olive oil and leave it on overnight. Do this regularly to make the problem go away forever.
Mouthwash products have antifungal properties, which would fight the fungal infection on your scalp, thus eliminating the flakes. However, be careful not to use a mouthwash with bright colors because you do not want the color to transfer to your scalp and hair.
A lot of people know eggs to be a great moisturizer for the hair. In fact, it can also be used as a natural remedy for stubborn dandruff.
Take a couple of eggs and beat them in a clean container. Once you have a smooth mixture, put some on your scalp and massage gently. Make sure to apply all over your scalp to avoid patchy and flaky skin. Do this regularly to solve your dandruff problem.
Tea tree oil
This is another plant extract that can curb dandruff.
You will need a spray bottle for this treatment. Place one tablespoon of tea tree oil into a cup of warm water. Shake well until infused. Spray the mixture on the scalp and wait for a few minutes to ensure it is absorbed by your scalp.
Camphor and coconut oil
Camphor oil is beneficial to your hair as it helps strengthen the roots, boost hair growth, improves texture, prevent hair loss, kills lice and bugs and gets rid of dandruff.
To use this home treatment, add a teaspoon of camphor to half a cup of coconut oil. Store in a container with lid. Before going to bed every night, use the solution by applying in on the scalp and massaging it for 10 minutes. Do this for two weeks and you will see amazing results.
In addition to these natural treatments, you can also use common salt, aloe vera, beet and garlic.
Additional tips to bid good-bye to dandruff for good
The natural home remedies mentioned above would not work if you do not keep your hair clean at all times. Here are some additional tips to help you prevent and eliminate the problem of dandruff effectively:
- Wash your hair regularly
Wash your hair three times a week only. This is because the harmful chemicals in regular shampoo can dry out the natural moisture in your scalp, resulting in dandruff. But if you already have dandruff, dermatologists recommend to shampoo every day. But it is best to use mild shampoo or an herbal formula.
- Use dandruff shampoo for at least five minutes
To ensure that the medicated shampoo you are using is going to work, leave it on your scalp for about five minutes or more. This will let your skin absorb all the components of the hair care product you are using.
- Brush regularly
After shampooing and taking a shower, brush your hair with a wide-teethed comb from the roots going down. This will help spread natural oils all over your scalp.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet
If you can’t eliminate sugary and fatty foods from your diet, you should at least minimize them. This should help speed up the treatment for your dandruff problem.
- Manage stress
It’s normal for people to get stressed out because it is the body’s natural way of responding to threat. But if stress becomes too much, you could acquire certain conditions that affect your health, including developing dandruff. So, if you already have an itchy and flaky scalp, it’s best to manage your stress to avoid worsening your scalp problem.
- Switch shampoos
Sometimes, when you find that one shampoo that works for you, you do not ever want to part ways with it. But after a few months or years, it just stops working. It becomes so ineffective that your dandruff has gotten from bad to worse. Why does this happen? People develop tolerance to certain products and their active ingredients. This is why it is advisable to switch up shampoos every now and then. One quick tip: find three different brands of anti-dandruff shampoo with each one having a different formula. Rotate them every month or so to avoid developing a tolerance and prevent the flakes from coming back.
- Lather, rinse, repeat
Lather your hair with the shampoo twice. This ensures that all the antifungal and antidandruff ingredients of the product will work. Every time you lather your hair, leave it on for five minutes before rinsing. Then, repeat this step.
It might seem that dandruff can be difficult to get rid of forever. But if you follow these tips and religiously use the abovementioned homemade treatments, you will be surprised at how easy and inexpensive it is to solve such a problem. Furthermore, with these natural remedies, you do not have to buy pricey antidandruff products that could stop working after a few months. And once you are able to treat your itchy and flaky scalp, your hair could become your amazing crowning glory again.