Wet Dandruff – What Is It And How To Treat It?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD
by Arshiya Syeda

When it comes to dandruff, there’s one thing we can all agree on – it’s frustrating to no end. You scour every corner of the internet looking for natural remedies to get rid of this hair condition. But a lot of times you are probably left stumped when the remedies don’t seem to work. Well, there’s a very big reason for that. You have probably been trying out treatments that are meant to treat dry dandruff when you actually have wet dandruff. Confused? keep reading to get a clear idea of what I’m talking about…

What Is Wet Dandruff?

Located underneath your scalp are sebaceous glands that serve the primary function of producing the natural oil sebum. This sebum keeps your hair and scalp moisturized and prevents them from getting dehydrated. It also serves the purpose of reducing frizz and preventing the signs of aging from appearing.

The problem begins when the sebaceous glands start working in overdrive and producing sebum in excess quantities. The excess sebum starts building up on your scalp and makes it sticky. It starts attracting and clinging onto dirt and dead skin cells, thus forming dandruff (1). Since sebum is moist it forms a damp layer on your scalp. This type of dandruff is referred to as wet dandruff or oily dandruff.

What Are The Causes Of Wet Dandruff?

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I know what you’re wondering – why do your sebaceous glands suddenly start acting crazy and producing extra sebum? Well, the most common causes are hormonal changes caused by puberty or stress (1). Another major reason could be irregular and infrequent shampooing habits that lead to insufficient cleansing of your scalp and the subsequent buildup of dirt and dead skin cells causing wet scalp.

How Does Wet Dandruff Occur On Eyebrows And Eyelashes?

Sebaceous glands are located all over your body. The only other areas that have a thick concentration of hair besides your scalp and are exposed to the environment are your eyebrows and eyelashes. Henceforth, the sebaceous glands in those areas can also overproduce sebum and cause wet dandruff (1).

Dry Dandruff v/s Wet Dandruff

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Dry dandruff typically consists of small, white flakes that fall off your scalp pretty easily with the slightest movement. Wet dandruff, on the contrary, appears as large, yellow, sticky dandruff flakes that clump together and cling onto your hair shafts. They do not fall off easily. Usually, the scalp feels wet after scratching.

[ Read: Causes Of Dandruff ]

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Dry dandruff does not cause redness or irritation on the scalp and tends to disappear during the summer months. But Wet dandruff is more of a long-lasting condition and causes severe itching and inflammation on the scalp. This type of dandruff causes a wet feeling on the head.

Since wet dandruff is a more long-lasting condition and causes extreme itching, you need to treat it with natural remedies that specifically target these problems. Here are a few things that you can try out…

[ Read: Types Of Dandruff And How To Stop Them ]

How To Get Dandruff Out Of Wet Hair

  1. Aloe Vera Gel
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Lemon Juice And Amla Juice
  4. Baking Soda
  5. Fenugreek Seeds

1. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera contains cleansing enzymes like oxidase, amylase, and catalase and vitamins B, C, and E. It also contains glycoproteins that reduce inflammation and soothe itchiness (2). Therefore, it may help in getting rid of the dead skin cells, oil buildup, and fatty deposits clogging your hair follicles and causing wet dandruff.

What You Need
  • 3-4 tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • Towel
  • Hot water
What To Do
  1. Apply the aloe vera gel all over your scalp.
  2. Soak the towel in hot water and wring out the excess water.
  3. Wrap this hot, damp towel around your head and leave it on for half an hour.
  4. Wash off the aloe vera gel with a mild shampoo.
  5. Follow this routine thrice a week.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar acts as an excellent wet dandruff remedy (3). This could be because the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar alters the pH of your scalp, making it difficult for the dandruff-causing fungus to grow.

What You Need
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
What To Do
  1. Pour the apple cider vinegar all over your scalp and gently massage it in.
  2. Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with a mild shampoo and condition your hair as normal.
  4. Follow this routine once a week.

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3. Lemon Juice And Amla Juice

Lemon juice and amla juice work in sync to removethe wet dandruff and accumulated oil on your scalp. Additionally, the citric acid content of the lemon juice acts as an antimicrobial agent and helps get rid of the fungus causing the wet dandruff (3).

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons amla juice
  • Cotton ball
What To Do
  1. Combine the juices in a bowl.
  2. Use a cotton ball to apply this mixture all over your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off with a mild shampoo.
  4. Follow this routine twice a week.

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[ Read: Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Dandruff ]

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda may sound like an odd choice for treating wet dandruff, but it could actually work well in this aspect. A study conducted in France found that baking soda can kill the dandruff-causing fungus (4).

What You Need
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • Water
What To Do
  1. Mix some water with the baking soda.
  2. Apply this paste all over your scalp and leave it on for 10 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with water and a mild shampoo.
  4. Follow this routine once a week.

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5. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds possess antibacterial and antifungal properties that fight off the infections that could be causing and aggravating the wet dandruff condition (3).

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
What To Do
  1. Soak the fenugreek seeds in water overnight.
  2. Grind them into a smooth paste the next morning.
  3. Apply this paste all over your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  4. Wash it off with a mild shampoo.
  5. Follow this routine twice a week.

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Wet dandruff may be wreaking havoc on your hair’s health, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it! Try out any of these remedies and comment below to let us know how it went.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What does it mean if you have yellow dandruff?

If you have yellow dandruff, it means that you have excess sebum production on your hair.

Is dandruff caused by puberty?

The hormonal changes that occur during puberty can cause dandruff.

Why do I have scabs on my head?

The scabs on your head could be a result of the excessive itching and scratching that accompany wet dandruff.

4 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
  • Ethnopharmacological Survey Of Home Remedies Used For Treatment Of Hair And Scalp And Their Methods Of Preparation In The West Bank-Palestine, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499037/
  • Development Of Alcoholic And Malolactic Fermentations In Highly Acidic And Phenolic Apple Musts, Bioresource Technology, US National Library Of Medicine.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17706419
  • Antimicrobial Activity Of Apple Cider Vinegar Against Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus And Candida Albicans; Downregulating Cytokine And Microbial Protein Expression, Scientific Reports, US National Library Of Medicine.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788933/
  • Authenticating Apple Cider Vinegar’s Home Remedy Claims: Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral Properties And Cytotoxicity Aspect, Natural Product Research, US National Library Of Medicine.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29224370

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Arshiya Syeda

Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).
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