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

Natural remedies that can help rid your scalp of the stubborn, greasy, sticky layer of dead cells.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD Dr. Vindhya L Veerula Dr. Vindhya L VeerulaMD, FAAD facebook_icontwitter_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Last Updated on
✔ Evidence Based

StyleCraze believes in credibility and giving our readers access to authentic and evidence-based content. Our stringent editorial guidelines allow us to only cite from reputed research institutions, academic journals, and medically established studies. If you discover any discrepancy in our content, you may contact us.

If you have not heard of wet dandruff, it is a type of dandruff caused by the natural oil on your scalp. Dry dandruff is usually milder than wet dandruff. This type of dandruff affects most people with oily scalps, and the flakes stick to the hair strands and are larger than the flakes you see in dry dandruff. However, the right dandruff treatment solutions can help you eliminate those itchy flakes. Here, we have discussed what causes wet dandruff, how to get rid of it, and much more. Scroll down.

What Is Wet Dandruff?

Located underneath your scalp are sebaceous glandsi  Oil-secreting glands located just under the surface of the skin that open into hair follicles. It helps keep the skin lubricated. 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. Sometimes, it may feel like your scalp is leaking out some sticky liquid and showing symptoms of other conditions. Dr. Anna Chacon, MD, FAAD, a double board-certified dermatologist, says, “It can mimic the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, and eczema.”

What Are The Causes Of Wet Dandruff?

Wet dandruff
Image: Shutterstock

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

Dry dandruff
Image: Shutterstock

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.

Wet dandruff
Image: Shutterstock

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.

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 gel as a remedy for wet dandruff
Image: Shutterstock

Aloe vera contains cleansing enzymesi  Proteins in the body that help increase metabolism by accelerating chemical reactions. They are essential for muscle and nerve growth. like oxidase, amylase, and catalase and vitamins B, C, and E. It also contains glycoproteinsi  A type of protein linked to amino acids and carbohydrates that aids cell-to-cell attachment and tissue formation. 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.

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.

3. Lemon Juice And Amla Juice

Lemon juice and amla juice work in sync to remove the wet dandruff and accumulated oil on your scalp. Additionally, the citric acid content of the lemon juice acts as an antimicrobiali  An agent that helps kill and prevent the spread of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa. 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.

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda as a remedy for wet dandruff
Image: Shutterstock

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.

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.

6. Arnica

Arnica is derived from the dried flowers of Arnica montana or other arnica species. This herbal remedy can help treat various forms of dermatitis, including seborrheic dermatitis (5). Its anti-inflammatory properties may help soothe the skin and relieve itching and inflammation.

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon of arnica extract
  • ½ liter of water

What To Do

  1. Mix the arnica extract with water.
  2. Apply the mixture to the scalp.
  3. Massage the scalp for about 3 minutes.
  4. Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  5. Wash it off with lukewarm water.
  6. Follow it up with shampoo and conditioner.

Infographic: How To Treat Wet Dandruff Naturally?

One of the main hair care issues that many individuals experience is dandruff. Dandruff can cause you problems at any time, no matter the season. Dandruff can develop no matter how much protection you give your hair. It is crucial to treat dandruff to prevent additional major hair issues, including hair loss, balding, and scalp infections. There is both wet and dry dandruff. Although dry dandruff is common, wet dandruff requires special care. Check out the infographic below to learn about natural ways to treat the wet dandruff.

how to treat wet dandruff naturally (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

protip_icon Quick Tip
Refrain from using styling products if you have wet dandruff, as they contain chemicals that are harsh on the scalp.

Wet dandruff occurs in people with oily scalp. When the sebaceous glands produce excess sebum, your scalp becomes sticky and attracts dirt and dead skin cells, resulting in dandruff. The symptoms can aggravate in humid environments. The two main reasons for the oily scalp are hormonal changes and irregular hair washing. These two can lead to wet or soggy dandruff issues. However, you can treat it through the methods discussed above. Following the remedies in this article may help you treat wet dandruff and cleanse your scalp. Consult your doctor if these do not work.

Frequently Asked 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 scabsi  Crusty, protective coatings that form on the skin while healing from a skin injury like a cut or a wound. on my head?

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

Does wet dandruff cause hair loss?

Dandruff typically does not directly contribute to hair loss. But it may make your scalp itch. Scratching may harm your hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Wet dandruff and hair loss might be connected as well. This is because various infections and conditions can result in dandruff and hair loss.

How long can dandruff last?

If you follow the right treatment, it should last between 15 and 30 days. But if it lasts beyond that and you still have dandruff, it may be time to visit the dermatologist.

Key Takeaways

  • While dry dandruff is white and flaky, wet dandruff is yellow and sticky.
  • Wet dandruff can develop due to fungal overgrowth and hyperactive oil glands.
  • You can use aloe vera, baking soda, or apple cider vinegar to combat fungal growth.
  • Applying fenugreek paste twice a week helps combat wet dandruff.


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. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review 
  2. The Review on Properties of Aloe Vera in Healing of Cutaneous Wounds  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4452276/
  3. Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine
  4. Antifungal activity of sodium bicarbonate against fungal agents causing superficial infections  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22991095/
  5. Herbal Treatment for Dermatologic Disorders
Was this article helpful?
Dr. Veerula (Dr. V) is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons. She is an energetic, proactive, and compassionate medical practitioner with 5 years of experience and a thorough understanding of overall mind-body-spiritual wellness.

Read full bio of Dr. Vindhya L Veerula
  • Dr. Anna ChaconMD, FAAD Dr. Anna Chacon, MD, FAAD, is a double board-certified dermatologist with over 7 years of experience. She has authored many peer-reviewed articles and managed clinical research studies during her fellowship. She completed her medical school in the PLME (Program of Liberal Medical Education) at Brown University.
    Dr. Anna Chacon, MD, FAAD, is a double board-certified dermatologist with over 7 years of experience. She has authored many peer-reviewed articles and managed clinical research studies during her fellowship. She completed her medical school in the PLME (Program of Liberal Medical Education) at Brown University.
Arshiya Syeda
Arshiya SyedaSenior Editor
Arshiya Syeda is a senior editor at StyleCraze with 7 years of experience. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and research skills to write over 200 high-performing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and skin care.

Read full bio of Arshiya Syeda
Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze with 11 years of experience in writing and editing. She has authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She graduated from the University of Calcutta, West Bengal, and did her post-graduation from the University of Kalyani, West Bengal.

Read full bio of Ramona Sinha
Monomita Chakraborty
Monomita ChakrabortyBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Monomita has a graduate degree in mass communication and video production from St. Anthony's College, Shillong, and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the Royal Global University, Guwahati. She is also a certified skincare coach with a keen interest in skin, hair, tattoos, nail art, and lifestyle trends.

Read full bio of Monomita Chakraborty