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Dandruff is a condition that nobody really pays any attention until they’ve actually experienced it, but once you’ve got it, it’s panic-central!
Who would have thought that those white flakes in your hair could cause you so much stress and worry? Well the hard truth is, they can and will.
This harmless and confusing ailment is a sensitive spot for at least half the population at some point in their lives. And when you experience dandruff, you want it gone as soon as possible!
So we’ve put together a little guide to give you the backstory on scalp and beard dandruff plus a heap of natural remedies.
Hopefully this guide will teach you how to get rid of dandruff quickly and also prevent it from appearing the future.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is a harmless skin condition that affects about half the population at some stage in their lives, it’s more common from adolescence to middle age but it can appear pretty much anytime.
Basically, you’ll start noticing small white and gray flakes close to the root of your hair. You will try to brush them out but more will appear and flake off – welcome to the life of dandruff!
Dandruff flakes will often be seen in patches all over the scalp and in severe cases will actually be produced so quickly that it falls on your shoulders and clothes, which is very embarrassing if you are wearing anything dark.
A mild itching can be associated with dandruff, if this occurs and you give in to the urge, you’re most likely going to have more falling flakes and a highly irritated scalp.
This itching occurs when a buildup of oil and dandruff flakes irritates the skin on your scalp, but it should never be intensely itchy – if it is, you may have a different condition altogether.
When it comes to handling and managing dandruff, there are definitely plenty of options available to you.
Short-term options such as blow drying, shampooing or brushing the flakes out will relieve the symptoms of dandruff for a few hours, but they will not get rid of it for good.
If you’re prone to dandruff, you need to figure out exactly what remedies work for your scalp so you’re not battling this condition long-term.
With any skin or medical condition, it’s best to consult your doctor to get an official diagnosis and treatment recommendations. However, more often than not, your doctor will prescribe you a bunch of chemicals to fight off the flakes – and you really do not need more chemicals in your life.
Natural remedies are always going to be the best route – cheap, good for the environment and gentle on your skin, what’s not to love?
What causes dandruff?
Despite dandruff being a very common condition, no research has been able to definitively pinpoint it’s sole origin and cause. Instead, there’s a number of environmental and biological factors that contribute to the development of dandruff.
Contrary to what you may think, dandruff has nothing to do with dry skin but is actually a result of too many natural oils on the scalp. An overproduction of sebum creates a feeding ground for yeast which in turn leads to a flakey nightmare as the scalp tries to recover.
At the biological level, there’s a naughty little microbe called Malassezia globosa that is often the source of the condition. Malassezia can be found on everyone’s skin, even most animals have it, however only half of the human population will have a bad reaction to it.
Whilst the fungus can cause numerous allergies and infections, it also feeds off the sebum on your scalp, breaking it down into oleic acid. If you are sensitive to this acid, it causes your skin cells to rapidly reproduce and rise to the top of your scalp to die off in an effort to rid itself of the fungus.
Generally, losing dead skin cells through your scalp is a normal and vital bodily function that replenishes your skin. However, when you have experienced a reaction to Malassezia your cells are shedding much quicker.
The cells then clump together on your scalp and form flakes which become dislodged and hang around at the roots of your hair. And voila, dandruff!
Another cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. This form of dermatitis is a common condition that exhibits redness, scaly skin and dandruff flakes. It mostly affects the scalp but can flare up on the chest, face and back as well.
Studies suggest that dandruff can be irritated and developed further through these environmental factors:
- Lack of or excessive shampooing / conditioning
- Oily skin / dry skin
- Overgrowth of yeast on scalp
- Age (most common from adolescence to middle age)
- Lack of hair brushing
- Diets high in trans and saturated fats
If you’re not sure if you have something else, it’s always best to get your doctor to check it out and make an official diagnosis.
Conditions with similar symptoms such as psoriasis and dry scalp can easily be confused for one another. You need to know exactly what you have so you can determine the best natural treatment possible that will benefit you in the long run.
How to get rid of dandruff fast and naturally for good
The first step to fighting dandruff is knowing what you’re up against. Now that we’ve got that bit covered, it’s time for the natural remedies .
As with any new product you’re introducing into your life, make sure to do a spot test somewhere on your body, the inside of your arm works well. If you do not have a nasty reaction to it, you’re good to go!
Relax and drink plenty of water
This is the first necessary step you need to take before trying any other natural remedy. It’s going to be a little difficult if this is your first time experiencing dandruff, because you’re probably stressing out about it!
But try to take a breather and calm yourself down the stress will only exacerbate your dandruff.
Pair your relaxation with the recommended daily amount of water intake for your body and you may even see a result with just these two changes.
When you do not drink enough water, your scalp can become very dry and susceptible to developing conditions such as dandruff.
So get enough water every single day to put the correct moisture back into your scalp and fight off your flakes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an excellent fighter of dandruff, it uses its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to not only kill off fungus on your skin, but also soothe your itching scalp. And the best thing is, the whole bottle will only set you back a few dollars!
Here’s some easy steps on how to use apple cider vinegar to cure your dandruff:
- Wash your hair thoroughly, to remove any excess oils from the scalp.
- Mix some apple cider vinegar in a bowl with a splash of warm water.
- Section your hair into parts pat the vinegar onto the exposed skin. Make sure your scalp is covered well.
- Gently massage your scalp for a few minutes.
- Leave the vinegar on for an hour, then rinse off with warm water. Do not shampoo afterwards.
Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil is another strong contender. Similar to apple cider vinegar, it possesses antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can assist with cleaning your scalp to rid yourself of dandruff.
It’s also anti-inflammatory and is able to penetrate the skin more efficiently than other essential oils, ensuring the deepest clean possible.
To use, you can simply mix about 10-15 drops in with your regular shampoo to incorporate it into your normal hair routine. You should see significant reductions to your dandruff within a few weeks.
For something a bit more targeted, mix half a cup of olive oil with 10 drops of tea tree oil. Then massage into your scalp, leave overnight and wash it out in the morning.
Make sure to keep a shower cap on your head when sleeping to avoid mess and keep the oils on your scalp.
Coconut oil has long been hailed as a miracle cure for many, many ailments. It’s a natural oil that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, it works to neutralize the fungus on your scalp and create a barrier of moisture to allow your skin to heal itself.
It’s also excellent for the rest of your head too – your hair will thank you for using coconut oil to combat your dandruff. Get ready for your luscious locks to make a quick comeback.
This one is as simple as it comes, all you need to do is massage a few teaspoons of coconut oil into your scalp about an hour before your shower. Then when you hop in, just wash it out with a good dandruff shampoo and normal conditioner and you’re done!
You can use coconut oil as many times a week as you need to, just make sure to limit your use if you’re finding your hair is getting a bit oily.
Bonus tip – add a few drops of fresh lemon into your coconut oil to get some extra acidity, which will help balance the pH of your scalp.
You name it and honey you got it! Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, vitamins, minerals – the list goes on. Raw honey is the perfect candidate for fighting off your dandruff and has proven itself throughout the ages as a powerful, natural medicine.
Here’s a couple methods you can use when applying honey to your dandruff:
- Mix 10 percent warm water with 90 percent raw honey.
- Massage into the scalp thoroughly.
- Leave for 2-3 hours before washing out.
- Mix two tablespoons with two thirds of a cup of warm water until fully dissolved.
- Pour mixture through hair and massage thoroughly.
- Rinse immediately after massaging.
How to get rid of beard dandruff
Men who have grown their beard out will understand the great pride that comes with being able to do so successfully. But, when your beautiful beard is suddenly under attack from dandruff flakes, you want an easy, natural remedy that will cure it fast!
Beard dandruff is caused by the same things as normal dandruff, except the skin that’s affected is the skin on your chin. Once again, it’s very important to spot tests on your skin when introducing any new natural products before going all-in with the treatment.
Here’s the top three natural ingredients to keep your beard flake-free:
This common household pantry item is an excellent place to start. It offers a mild exfoliation to rid your skin of dead cells and will soak up any excess oils on your skin so you can start fresh.
Simply make a paste of baking soda and warm water, then massage into the skin underneath your beard for a couple minutes. Rinse off and apply a mild moisturizer to replenish the skin.
The acidic nature of this fantastic fruit will work to balance the pH of your skin and create an environment where dandruff-causing fungus will not want to dwell.
Applying daily, squeeze one large lemon into half a cup of warm water. Then simply massage the solution into your beard and skin. Leave it there for a few minutes to make sure it’s fully penetrated every area of your dandruff before rinsing thoroughly.
Aloe vera is a plant that is widely known for it’s healing and soothing properties, most commonly and commercially used for providing quick relief from sunburn. However, with all its vitamins, aloe vera can also be an effective dandruff fighter that will treat both the flaking and itching.
Make sure you get the real thing, an aloe vera plant will not set you back much. Break the leaves to release the gel, then massage into the beard and skin before rinsing with warm water after 5 minutes. Do this every few days to see results.
Remember, you can also use any of the normal remedies for scalp dandruff that we’ve listed above, just be sure to tweak the recipes to make smaller portions.