How to Prevent and Treat Dandruff
Dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that can affect your scalp, your ears, your eyebrows, the sides of your nose and your beard. You can develop dandruff when you are a baby, known as “cradle cap” and in your teen and adult years. Dandruff appears as dry, fine flaky skin on your scalp or other areas of your body, with pink or red inflamed skin.If you have dandruff, you may notice white flakes on your shoulders or chest, especially when you wear dark clothing. Severe dandruff or chronic dandruff can be frustrating and embarrassing, and it can also be very itchy and uncomfortable. You can treat your dandruff using professional products and home remedies, and take the necessary steps to prevent dandruff from developing on your scalp or other areas of your body. The goal of treatment is to reduce the yeast and inflammation caused by the fungi and this is usually done with a topical agent.
Using Professional Products
Try over-the-counter dandruff shampoo that contains zinc or salicylic acid.If your dandruff is severe, you can a number of anti-dandruff shampoos that contain the ingredients that kill the fungi partly responsible for dandruff. Note that you should only try 1 shampoo at a time, to see which is right for you. Look for shampoos at your local drugstore or pharmacy that contain:
- Zinc pyrithione: This ingredient helps to kill the malassezia fungi that is partially responsible for the development of dandruff. You can find zinc pyrithione in the brands like Head & Shoulders, Jason Dandruff Relief 2 in 1, and SHS Zinc.
- Salicylic acid and sulfur: This ingredient helps to soften dead skin cells on your scalp, causing them to shed and release from your scalp and can be found in Neutrogena T/Sal and Sebulex. Be aware you may experience dryness on your scalp after using a shampoo that contains salicylic acid. You can use a conditioner after the shampoo to keep your scalp moisturized.
- Selenium sulfide 1% to 2.5%: This ingredient helps to slow down the production of skin cells on your scalp and kill dandruff causing fungi. It can be found in Exsel, Selsun Blue, and Reme-T. However, this shampoo is not recommended for individuals with blonde or chemically treated hair, as it can discolor your hair.
- Ketoconazole 1% shampoo: This shampoo has a powerful antifungal effect that can treat and prevent dandruff. This ingredient can be found in Nizoral A-D shampoo.
- Coal tar shampoo: These shampoos can help to slow down the production of dead skin cells and prevent dandruff. This ingredient can be found in Neutrogena T/Gel, Tarsum, and Tegrin.
- You should not use certain types of anti-dandruff shampoo if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Always read the instructions on the label of the shampoo before use and talk to your doctor if you have concerns about using the shampoo.
Apply the shampoo according to the label instructions.Once you decide on an anti-dandruff shampoo, it’s important that you apply it properly for the most effective treatment. You can apply the shampoo once a day or every other day until your dandruff is under control. The exception is Ketoconazole shampoo, which only needs to be applied twice a week.
- Choose 1 type of shampoo and use it for a few weeks to see if it helps. Don't use multiple types of shampoo at once.
- Apply the shampoo by massaging it into your scalp and leaving it on for at least 5 minutes so the ingredients have time to work.
- If the dandruff shampoo appears to be working, reduce your use of the shampoo to 2 to 3 times a week.
- If the shampoo does not work after several weeks and your dandruff is still severe, you should talk to your doctor about prescription treatments.
Use over the counter medicated creams to treat your dandruff.In addition to anti-dandruff shampoos, you may want to try medicated creams that you can apply to your scalp to treat dandruff. There are 2 creams you can use:
- Corticosteroid creams: These can reduce any inflammation or dry skin and are available over the counter in either 0.5% or 1% concentrations. You can use them on your scalp on damp hair after you have used anti-dandruff shampoo.
- Antifungal creams: These creams are effective as they can reduce the amount of yeast organisms living on your skin, including your scalp. Look for over the counter creams that have 1% clotrimazole and 2% miconazole cream. You can apply antifungal creams one to two times a day.
Apply mineral oil before using a medicated shampoo.If you have copious dandruff on your scalp, then you can also apply warm mineral oil at bedtime to help loosen up the scales. Cover your hair and scalp with a shower cap and wear it overnight. Then, shampoo your hair with a medicated shampoo in the morning.
Using Home Remedies
Apply aspirin to your scalp.Aspirin contains salicylates, which is an active ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid. Aspirin is a quick and easy way to treat dandruff at home.
- Take 2 tablets of aspirin and crush them into a fine powder. Then, add them to your shampoo.
- Apply the shampoo with the aspirin to your hair, lathering and massaging it into your scalp. Let it sit on your hair for 1 to 2 minutes and then rinse it out.
- Wash your hair again with just shampoo to remove any lingering powder.
Use natural oils to moisturize your scalp.Natural oils like coconut oil, almond oil, and olive oil can help to keep your scalp moist and prevent the development of dandruff.
- Warm up one cup of your chosen natural oil in a bowl so it is warm to the touch but not boiling hot. Then, apply it to your entire scalp, massaging it in well.
- Use a towel to wrap your hair and scalp and leave the oil in overnight.
- In the morning, rinse your hair out, removing the oil.
Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar.Apple cider vinegar is a natural astringent and can prevent your scalp from becoming flaky and full of dandruff causing fungi. You can rinse your hair and scalp with apple cider vinegar after you have shampooed your hair.
- Mix two cups of apple cider vinegar with two cups of cool water.
- Bend over a sink or tub and rinse your hair with the mixture.
- You can also apply white vinegar to your scalp and wrap your head in towel. Leave the vinegar in overnight and then rinse your hair with regular shampoo the following day.
Use baking soda.Baking soda is a great home treatment for dandruff.
- Instead of using shampoo, use baking soda to wash your hair. Simply take a handful of baking soda and rub it into your hair and scalp. Rinse well with warm water.
- You can continue to use baking soda instead of regular shampoo to wash your hair and treat your dandruff.
Wash your hair regularly.Practicing good hair hygiene can help to prevent the development of dandruff and keep your scalp and hair healthy. Try to wash your hair once a day, especially if you have an oily or irritated scalp.
Avoid hairspray and hair gel.Styling products like hair spray, hair gel, mousses, and hair wax can lead to a build-up of oil on your hair and scalp, leading to the development of dandruff. Cut down on your use of styling products, especially if you already have an oily scalp or are starting to develop dandruff.
Spend more time outdoors in the sun.Studies have shown that sunlight can help to prevent dandruff. But you should always put on SPF or sunscreen on your whole body before you go outside to avoid unhealthy sun exposure.
Maintain a diet high in zinc and B vitamins.A diet high in zinc, B vitamins, and healthy fats can help to prevent the fungi that causes dandruff.
QuestionCan using coconut oil help to get rid of my dandruff?
Family Nurse PractitionerFamily Nurse PractitionerExpert AnswerYou can use coconut oil instead of mineral oil to help prevent and treat dandruff.Thanks!
QuestionAfter I shower my dandruff is wet on my scalp. Is this normal?
Family Nurse PractitionerFamily Nurse PractitionerExpert AnswerTry to massage your scalp well and rinse your hair thoroughly to prevent dandruff attaching to your scalp and hair. See the strategies in this article on how to loosen and remove large amounts of dandruff flakes from your scalp and hair.Thanks!
QuestionDoes hot water cause dandruff?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Taking hot showers or washing your hair with hot water can dry out your scalp and cause dandruff.Thanks!
QuestionShould I be worried if I have dandruff and I'm only twelve years old?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDandruff can appear at any age and is very common--even in newborns! Though embarrassing, it will not lead to any further health problems, so you do not need to worry about having it at a young age. Talk to a parent or guardian to see if they can buy you some anti-dandruff products, and in the meantime stick to light-colored clothing so that the flakes show less on your shoulders.Thanks!
QuestionCan washing my hair every day cause dandruff?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt can if you use shampoo that dries out your hair or if your hair is naturally dry.Thanks!
QuestionHow does rinsing my hair with cold water help get rid of dandruff?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCold water does not dry out your scalp the way hot water does.Thanks!
QuestionHow can a kid prevent dandruff?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse shampoo and conditioner made specifically for dandruff or treat your scalp with tea tree oil. Brush your hair regularly but gently. If your dandruff problem continues, ask a parent or guardian to make you a doctor's appointment.Thanks!
QuestionI have a lot of hair loss and dandruff. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry switching to dandruff shampoo. Massaging coconut oil into your scalp every once in a while to add moisture can help as well.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get rid of it for good?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerScalp shampoo might be your best bet. You could also try taking cooler showers as hot water can dry your scalp. If you regularly manage it, there is a possibility it could go away.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I prevent dandruff?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerKeep your hair moist and do not go more than 3 to 4 days without washing your hair. Use the tips outlined in the article.Thanks!
What medicated shampoos can I use for dandruff?
How can I get rid of dandruff if I have thin hair?
Do I need to drink medicine when preventing and treating dandruff?
I am 11 is it common to have a load of dandruff on my scalp?
How often should I apply shampoo in a week to prevent dandruff?
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Video: Dandruff | How To Get Rid Of Dandruff (2018)
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