“Dandruff” refers to those pesky white flakes of skin that appears in your hair. Everyone has at least a little dandruff, because dandruff is nothing more than dead skin from your scalp flaking off into your hair – a natural process of the scalp’s day-to-day renewal. However, some people suffer from chronic dandruff, an embarrassing condition that makes them feel self-conscious, unattractive, and unprofessional.
To solve the problem of chronic dandruff, the beauty industry has flooded the market with special shampoos and conditioners that supposedly solve the problem of dandruff. These beauty products, however, are only skin deep and do not solve the underlying factors that cause dandruff. Here is a closer look at the problem of chronic dandruff, along with home remedies for dandruff that are just as effective – if not more – than expensive specialized shampoos and conditioners.
The Causes Behind Dandruff
Usually when the scalp sheds dead skin, the flakes are so small that they are not visible. However, people who suffer from chronic dandruff have skin cells on their scalp that mature and then shed very rapidly, coming off in big, visible clumps. What causes this rapid growth and shedding of skin? There are three main causes: first, sebaceous secretions – or skin oil. Second, micro-organisms such as yeasts and fungi. Third, a genetic predisposition. While a genetic predisposition cannot be helped, the other two primary causes of dandruff can be stopped with home remedies.
Reducing Skin Oil
Our skin needs sebum, or skin oil, to keep it lubricated and protected. However, too much sebum clogs pores, causes acne, and can also cause dandruff.
The production of sebum is regulated by our genes, but also by our diet. Foods with a high glycemic index, which cause a sudden upsurge of sugar and insulin in the bloodstream, are also known to trigger sebaceous secretions.
High glycemic foods include most processed snack foods and fast foods, along with bread products, soft drinks, and a few fruits, including dates and watermelons. Your average breakfast cereal, such as Cornflakes and Golden Grahams, has a high glycemic index, but so do rice cakes, millet, and brown rice pasta, which are all generally considered health foods.
Reduce your skin oil by modifying your diet, thus healing your skin from the inside out. See if you notice any changes by avoiding the foods listed above, and in the meantime try to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Micro-organisms Living on Your Scalp
Don’t get grossed out, but your body is host to a wide variety of micro-organisms, which live both on the surface of your skin and deep inside your body. Most of these micro-organisms are harmless; some of them we even need in order to keep healthy. However, when one micro-organism gets out of balance, it can cause minor to severe health issues.
The Malassezia fungi, which is technically a type of yeast, lives naturally on the surface of our skin, including our scalp. People suffering from dandruff, though, have 1.5 to 2 times the amount of Malassezia that they should have, leading to an inflammation of the scalp – and, of course, dandruff.
This yeast feeds on sebum, so there’s a good possibility that when your skin oil is particularly excessive, Malassezia will be, too. If you have an itchy, irritated scalp accompanied by dandruff, there’s a good chance that Malassezia is to blame. Therefore, follow the dietary recommendations mentioned above to curb the problem naturally.
Standard Treatments for Dandruff
Between western medicine and the beauty industry, modern Americans use some pretty weird ingredients to treat their dandruff. Here are a few of the most common ingredients used in typical dandruff treatment:
- Salicylic acid
- Various steroids
- Selenium sulfide
- Powerful anti-fungal agents
Home Remedies for Dandruff
As already indicated above, many of our health problems can be traced back to our diet. Therefore, the first place to start in treating your dandruff is with your diet, because your dandruff is probably merely a symptom of some other type of imbalance in the body.
Not everyone’s body reacts the same way to the same foods. You may eat a very healthy diet, but it still might not be the right diet for your body. Keep a food log and notice which foods are repeatedly associated with your dandruff breakouts.
As for topical home remedies for dandruff, here are some things you can try:
- Aspirin: Crush up two regular aspirin tablets and add it to whatever shampoo you normally use. To give the aspirin time to work, leave it on your scalp for two full minutes before you rinse it off.
- Aloe vera: Rub aloe vera into your scalp 10 – 15 minutes before you take a shower. Use it every day in order to get the full effect.
- Olive oil: One old remedy for dandruff is olive oil. Rub it into your scalp and leave it for 8 – 9 hours.
- Fenugreek seeds: Another old remedy for dandruff is fenugreek. Take two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds and soak them overnight in water. In the morning, grind them into a fine paste, then rub all over the scalp. Leave it there for half an hour before washing it out.
Between the various suggestions listed above, you should be able to find an effective home remedy for your dandruff. Remember to experiment with different solutions, as everyone’s skin is slightly different. Some people may be more prone to dandruff than others, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn to powerful prescription medications or expensive specialty shampoos to control your dandruff; dandruff is one ailment that can definitely be solved through a combination of intelligent diet and natural topical solutions.
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