Dandruff may be the result of anything from a desert-dry scalp to a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis to eczema, psoriasis, or, very commonly, an overgrowth of a yeastlike fungus called malassezia. What will get rid of serious dandruff? Start with a new shampoo, something mild; overenthusiastic washing simply may have dried out your scalp. If dandruff persists, use trial and error to find the right flake-fighter.
Different dandruff shampoo ingredients do different things. Zinc pyrithione targets fungus and bacteria; ketoconazole also fights fungus; coal tar and selenium sulfide slow the growth and die-off of skin cells on your scalp; salicylic acid loosens flakes so they can be washed away. If one doesn’t work, buy two or three different types and alternate between them.
Still flaky? If nothing’s helped after a few weeks of shampooing with various formulas or if your scalp is irritated, see your doctor. She may prescribe a prescription-strength dandruff shampoo or another treatment if a skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis is the real cause. You can also try the following natural treatments to see if they help with the problem.
1. Aspirin Is your dandruff problem getting you down? Keep it in check by crushing two aspirins to a fine powder and adding it to the normal amount of shampoo you use each time you wash your hair. Leave the mixture on your hair for 1-2 minutes, then rinse well and wash again with plain shampoo.
4. Mouthwash To treat a bad case of dandruff, wash your hair with your regular shampoo; then rinse with an alcohol-based mouthwash. You can follow with your regular conditioner.
5. Salt The abrasiveness of ordinary table salt works great for scrubbing out dandruff before you shampoo. Grab a saltshaker and shake some salt onto your dry scalp. Then work it through your hair, giving your scalp a massage. You’ll find you’ve worked out the dry, flaky skin and are ready for a shampoo.
6. Vinegar To give your dandruff the brush-off, follow up each shampoo with a rinse of 2 cups apple cider vinegar mixed with 2 cups cold water. You can also fight dandruff by applying 3 tablespoons vinegar onto your hair and massaging into your scalp before you shampoo. Wait a few minutes, then rinse it out and wash as usual.