How To Get Rid Of Dandruff

Over 50% of the world population has dandruff, and that is over 3.6 billion people. If you are one of them, these remedies should help. *

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jyoti Gupta, Dermatologist
Written by Sindhu Koganti

Dandruff affects over 50% of the world population, i.e., over 3.6 billion people (1). It appears any time of the year and is annoying to deal with. In most cases, dandruff can be controlled. This article explains the various ways to get rid of dandruff and some prevention measures. Scroll down and take a look!

What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff is a common, chronic skin condition characterized by flaky scalp. The common causes of dandruff include:

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by skin inflammation –  redness of the skin, covered with flakes or scales (2). This condition usually affects areas rich in oil glands, such as the scalp, face, and upper chest.
  • Malassezia: Malassezia is a yeast-like fungus that can cause infection and skin inflammation (3). This fungus feeds on the natural oils of your scalp and makes it dry and flaky, increasing the risk of dandruff.
  • Dry Scalp: A dry and dehydrated scalp that lacks moisture leads to inflammation, irritation, and itchiness. This condition causes flakiness that eventually becomes dandruff (4).Typically, these flakes are smaller and less oily than those caused by other factors.

The silver lining is you can control dandruff by following some measures. Scroll down to know what they are.

How To Get Rid Of Dandruff

  1. Wash Your Hair Regularly: The accumulation of excess oils, dirt, and dead skin cells on your scalp increases the risk of dandruff. Hence, you should wash your hair regularly to keep it clean and dandruff-free. However, do not use harsh shampoos that might dry out your scalp and worsen the condition.
  2. Switch To Anti-Dandruff Shampoos: Switching from a regular to anti-dandruff shampoo is the easiest option to treat dandruff. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain salicylic acid, ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, and selenium sulfide that work against flakiness.
  3. Change Your Diet: Apoor diet that lacks essential vitamins and minerals can lead to dandruff. A study shows that foods rich in fat and sugar result in more instances of dandruff than a fruit diet(5). Thus, maintain a balanced diet that includes essential nutrients, proteins, and minerals to keep the hair and scalp healthy.
  4. Exfoliate Your Scalp: Exfoliating your scalp can help remove dead skin cells and product buildup. Scalp exfoliators lock your scalp’s natural moisture, reduce dryness, and prevent the formation of flakes. You can also use a hot oil mask to balance the oil production of your scalp.

There are several commercial options that can help control dandruff. The products for treating flaky scalp fall under three categories.

  • Antifungal Agents: These products help treat any fungal infection on your scalp or forehead that causes dandruff and flaky skin. Antifungal agents contain zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide, which can eliminate fungal infection causedby Malassezia furfur (6).
  • Flake-removing Agents: Agents like salicylic acid and sulfur exhibit keratolytic activity through which corneocytes (clumps of flaky skin) are loosened and washed away (7).
  • Anti-inflammatory Agents: Topical steroids available on prescription, such as corticosteroids (desonide hydrogel 0.05%), can have an anti-inflammatory effect on dandruff and help reduce flaky skin (8).

If you are looking for some effective home remedies for dandruff, check out the next section.

What Are The Best Home Remedies For Dandruff

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which help treat dandruff (9), (10). It also fights Malassezia, the dandruff-causing fungus (11).Tea tree oil can be used topically on your skin and scalp to mitigate any fungal infection that leads to flaky skin and dandruff.

You Will Need

  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2-3 drops of sweet almond or jojoba oils
Directions
  1. Mix the tea tree oil with sweet almond or jojoba oils.
  2. Soak a cotton pad with this oil blend and apply it to the scalp.
  3. Repeat this 3-4 times a week.

Note: Tea tree oil can cause skin irritation in some people. Hence, do a patch test before using it. Discontinue if any allergic reaction occurs.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft due to its low molecular weight and helps reduce protein loss (12). This can help nourish and condition your hair, hydrate your scalp, and prevent dryness, thus reducing the chances of dandruff.

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Directions
  1. Massage the coconut oil onto your scalp.
  2. Leave it on for an hour and wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
  3. Repeat this twice a week.

3. Aloe Vera

Studies show that the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of aloe vera inhibit the growth of Malassezia furfur (13)(14).

You Will Need

  • Aloe vera gel
Directions
  1. Massage the aloe vera gel onto your scalp in circular motions until absorbed.
  2. Wash your hair after an hour.
  3. Repeat this twice a week.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that helps balance your scalp’s pH level (15), (16). This, in turn, can prevent moisture loss and scalp dryness, which leads to dandruff.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 3 tablespoons of water
Directions
  1. Mix the raw apple cider vinegar and water.
  2. Apply this solution to your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes and shampoo your hair.
  4. Do this 1-2 times a week.
Note: Always dilute apple cider vinegar before using. Raw and undiluted ACV can cause burns and skin irritation.

5. Aspirin

Aspirin is a salicylate that helps loosen the white flakes on your scalp and eliminate scaliness (7).

You Will Need

  • 2 aspirin tablets
Directions
  1. Crush the aspirin tablets to form a powder.
  2. Mix this aspirin powder with your regular shampoo.
  3. Shampoo your hair with this mixture and wait for two minutes before rinsing.

6. Probiotics

Probiotic foods, such as yogurt, contain Lactobacillus paracasei that can help restore the normal balance of your scalp’s microbiome, thereby reducing dandruff (17). Thus, consume a cup of probiotic yogurt daily to prevent the formation of dandruff.

7. Baking Soda

Baking soda acts as a mild exfoliant that helps remove dead skin and excess oil from the scalp. Baking soda baths were found to reduce itchiness significantly(18). However, overuse of baking soda can strip your scalp’s natural oils and further aggravate dry scalp condition.

You Will Need
  • 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda
Directions
  1. Apply the baking soda directly to wet hair.
  2. Leave it on for about 2 minutes and wash your hair thoroughly.
  3. Do this twice a week.

8. Onion Juice

Studies show that onion extracts have antifungal properties, which inhibit the growth of Malassezia furfur (19).

You Will Need
  • ½ of a whole onion
Directions
  1. Blend the onion and extract its juice.
  2. Strain the liquid and apply it generously to your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for an hour and wash your hair.
  4. Repeat this twice a week.

9. Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass oil has antifungal properties that can help combat Malassezia furfur, a type of yeast that causes dandruff (20).

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of lemongrass oil
Directions
  1. Add the lemongrass oil to your shampoo and
  2. Massage this mixture onto your scalp.
  3. Wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
  4. Repeat this twice a week

Note: If you have a sensitive scalp, topical application of lemongrass oil might cause an allergic reaction. Do a patch test before trying this remedy.

10. Eucalyptus Oil

A scalp with low levels of ceramide may be susceptible to dandruff (21). Anecdotal evidence suggests that eucalyptus oil can increase the ceramide content of your scalp, thereby reducing dandruff.

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 2-3 drops of coconut oil
Directions
  1. Mix the eucalyptus oil with coconut oil.
  2. Apply this oil blend to your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for 30-45 minutes and wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
  4. Do this 2-3 times a week.

11. Garlic

Studies show that garlic has antifungal effects on Malassezia furfur, and its long-term intake can help alleviate dandruff (19),(22).

You Will Need
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup of olive oil
Directions
  1. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  2. Add the crushed garlic to a saucepan with olive oil.
  3. Heat the mixture for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain and let it cool down.
  5. Apply it to your scalp and leave it on for 30-45 minutes before rinsing.
  6. Repeat this twice a week.

12. Neem Oil

Neem leaf extracts are highly antifungal that can help treat dandruff (23). However, further research is required to prove the effects of neem extracts in this regard.

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of neem oil
  • 2-3 drops of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the neem and coconut oils.
  2. Massage this oil blend onto your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair thoroughly with plain water.
  5. Do this 2-3 times a week.

Note: You can also boil a few neem leaves in water and use it to rinse your hair.

13. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a rich source of citric acid. And citric acid-based shampoos or agents can help keep the pH of your scalp balanced (24). This may, in turn, help reduce dandruff.

You Will Need
  • 2-3 tablespoons of freshly extracted lemon juice
  • Cotton ball
Directions
  1. Dab the cotton ball with the lemon juice and apply it to your scalp.
  2. Leave it on for about 5-10 minutes and wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
  3. Do this twice a week.
Note: Lemon juice might cause a stinging sensation.

14. Green Tea

Green tea hair tonic can treat various scalp and hair disorders like dandruff, itching, and hair loss (25). Research shows that green tea is rich in polyphenols and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that prevent fungal infections (26).

You Will Need
  • 2-3 green tea bags
  • Warm water
Directions
  1. Soak the green tea bags in warm water and strain them after the liquid cools down.
  2. Rinse your hair with this decoction and wait for about 10 minutes.
  3. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
  4. Repeat this twice a week for a few months.

15. Fenugreek Seeds

A rabbit study found fenugreek leaf extract to bean effective and safe herbal remedy for fungal infections like dandruff (27). Fenugreek seed extracts display antifungal activity, which prevents dandruff formation (28).

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
  • 2 cups of hot water
Directions
  1. Crush the fenugreek seeds with a pestle.
  2. Soak the crushed seeds in hot water overnight.
  3. Strain this mixture and rinse your hair with the liquid in the morning.

Wrapping It Up

Dandruff is annoying to deal with. However, a proper hair care routine and a balanced diet can help prevent its formation. Follow the natural remedies mentioned above to control dandruff naturally. If the condition persists, consult your dermatologist to identify the underlying cause.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Should I wash my hair daily if I have dandruff?

No. Washing your hair daily can strip the natural oils of your scalp and make it dry, aggravating dandruff.

Can dandruff cause gray hair?

No. Gray hair is attributed to a loss in hair pigmentation. It is not caused by dandruff.

Is it possible to get rid of dandruff permanently?

No. You cannot get rid of dandruff permanently. You can only control this condition with some natural or medical treatments.

Recommended Articles

28 Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

  1. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852869/
  2. Adult Seborrheic Dermatitis
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  3. Malassezia—Can it be Ignored?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4533528/
  4. A New Postulate on Two Stages of Dandruff: A Clinical Perspective
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3129121/
  5. Association between Diet and Seborrheic Dermatitis: A Cross-Sectional Study
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  6. Optimizing treatment approaches in seborrheic dermatitis
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  7. DANDRUFF: THE MOST COMMERCIALLY EXPLOITED SKIN DISEASE
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  8. Treatment of scalp and facial seborrheic dermatitis with desonide hydrogel 0.05%
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  12. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12715094/
  13. Anti-Microbial Effect of Aloe vera Extract on Clotrimazole-Resistant Malassezia Furfur Strains Isolated From Patients with Seborrheic Dermatitis in the City of Sari
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  14. Characterization of Malassezia Furfurand its control by using plant extracts
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  15. STUDY ABOUT THE NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT
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Sindhu Koganti is a Biotechnology graduate and has been in the writing field for over 4 years now. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has hands-on experience in writing articles and press releases on Life Sciences and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Chemicals and Materials. When she’s not writing, she loves watching movies and listening to music. She also enjoys traveling.
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