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The skin in the scalp is renewed all the time, as does the skin in general. The old outer skin cells dissolve as small, usually invisible, dry white mountains. It is only when the amount of skin flakes increases and they become visible as it is called dandruff. Dandruff can be difficult to get rid of, but by treatment, the symptoms usually decrease. Moisture does not cause the problem.
Dandruff causes and types of dandruff
It is unclear what causes dandruff. It may appear because the body responds to a kind of yeast fungus that is found everywhere on the skin of adults. If you have a large amount of fungi or are particularly sensitive to them, the skin may react with producing more skin flakes than normal. Dandruff is more common during adolescence and puberty.
Dandruff occurs regardless of whether you have dry or oily scalp. The dry type of dandruff easily dissolves and falls on the shoulders. The greasy type often sticks to the scalp. If you use strong hair remedies, such as jelly, mousse, solution fluid or spray containing alcohol, hair and scalp can dry out and dandruff problems get worse. If you have the dry type of dandruff, the trouble may also increase in winter when the air is drier. Warm hats and other headgear can also make fungi grow.
Dry dandruff: The skin of the scalp is dehydrated and the fine and whitish scales detach without any particular signs of skin irritation. Dry dandruff production increases during the winter and can increase further during periods of increased stress. Itching at the head is a symptom that manifests itself in a non-excessive form, but that causes the need to scratch. There is no hair loss, but the unhealthy effect is evident.
Greasy dandruff: The skin of the hair is greasy and produces thick and yellow scales that detach from the scalp. Often seborrhea accompanies the desquamation by making the hair greasy and the oily skin. With fat dandruff also shows a strong itchy head, with the risk of seborrheic dermatitis and hair loss.
To effectively combat both types of dandruff, it is necessary to distinguish between:
- Physiological dandruff;
- Occasional dandruff,
- Pathological dandruff;
Physiological dandruff: Physiological dandruff is the corneal layer of the epidermis that is constantly dissected. In the epidermis the cells are born and develop through a series of layers to reach the more superficial: the stratum corneum. Due to external agents such as too dry air, scrubbing with aggressive shampoos, combing and brushing, the skin, at the level of the stratum corneum and within certain limits, naturally disappears by producing physiological dandruff. Physiological desquamation is unexpected and is not a cause of hair loss because the cornea particles that are detached are small and unimportant.
Occasional dandruff: Occasional dandruff can be caused by the following external causes:
- Microorganisms (infections);
- Poor hygiene;
- Aggressive mechanical treatments.
The microorganisms responsible for occasional dandruff are Malasso’s oval Pityrosporum, also known as Malassezia, a parasitic fungus that nests in the epidermis corneum. The mycosis caused by the Pityrosporum of Malassez causes a lot of itching and abundant pityriasis. There are many types of Malassezia (furfur, restricta, obtusa, globoso) and some recent scientific studies have associated each type to a precise geographical area of our planet. In the United States and Japan, for example, the globose and restraint Malassezia are the most widespread. Other microorganisms nestling in dandruff, a source of nourishment ideal for them, are Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus albus and Coccus polimorfus of Cederkreutz. This bacterium creates an inflammation of the skin with the presence of a serum that is amalgamated with dandruff scales forming a kind of mud that can easily be exchanged for seborrhea.
Damaging hygienic treatments, responsible for many scalp problems and hair, are:
Too drying shampoo. Wash your hair with too alkaline shampoos and the use of very degreasing shampoos often causes depletion of the skin’s sebum, with the result that the epidermal layer, which is not properly protected, disfigures and produces dandruff;
Too much alcoholic lotions. Alcohol acts on keratin with a rather intense dehydrating and drying action. Application of very alcoholic hair lotions can lead to desquamation of the cornea layer causing dandruff;
Abuse of alkaline substances. These substances have keratolytic characteristics, that is, keratin disintegrators. Absorption of alkaline, reducing and oxidizing substances can lead to the production of dandruff scales;
Styling with overheated air. Too dry heat tends to dehydrate keratin and make it fragile, causing dandruff. This effect is made more intense if the stratum corneum has just been moisturized with washing.
Submitting the scalp to brushes, combs, etc., often leads to minor abrasive and escorial types that may result in localized skin inflammation followed by dizziness and dandruff. Through these lesions can penetrate pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria and michets), for which, in some cases, dandruff accompanies sebaceous hypersecretion so that the forearm scales stick to the sebum abundant on the scalp. This type of dandruff is called pitaroid steatoid.
Seborrheic dandruff and dermatitis
It is possible to eliminate pathological dandruff and occasional dandruff through appropriate thermo treatments, after examining the hair. It is good to know that the total solution results obtainable for occasional dandruff can never be reached in pathological dandruff; for the latter there are no definitive remedies, so it is true that people affected by it should have their hair checked every six months.
Seborrheic scalp dermatitis is an inflammation characterized by small scaly formations spread on the scalp, behind the ears and inside the auditory canal. Sometimes the eyebrows and hairs on the chest are also infested.
Greasy scales are the result of an accelerated proliferation and replacement of the skin cells, combined with sebaceous hypersecretion. Removing the scales you can notice that the skin beneath them is reddish and damp.
Dandruff or pityriasis, in its most serious forms, is a condition hardly distinguishable from seborrheic dermatitis, so that it can be confused with one another at a first superficial diagnosis. The main difference is that in seborrheic dermatitis, inflammation of the skin is far more important than in pathological dandruff.
Dandruff and hair loss
In some cases dandruff causes hair loss and prevents the normal cycle of regrowth. This occurs when dandruff favors the onset of infections caused by various types of microbes that cause itch, triggering a perverse cycle of itching, scratching, resulting in superficial injuries and more and more serious infections.
We talk about pathological dandruff when skin detachment is evident and bleeding becomes abnormal.
The causes of dry dandruff and greasy pathological dandruff are varied and generally related to phenomena such as:
- Liver insufficiency (liver disorders);
- Eating disorders, such as bulimia;
- Circulatory disorders (lymphatic and blood circulation);
- Vitamin insufficiency (avitaminosis: lack of vitamins, hypovitaminosis: deficiencies in vitamins, hypervitaminosis: excess vitamins, dysvitaminosis: poor use of vitamins by the body).
Pathological dandruff and auto-intoxication
Auto-intoxication is a general or local auto-poisoning caused by the inability of the body to eliminate toxins and / or organic waste. These pathogenic microorganisms accumulate on the skin and cause an intoxication that damages the structure of keratin proteins, which are hardened, coagulated and dehydrated, and then quickly disposed of in the form of desquamation of the skin, that is, dandruff.
Auto-intoxication causes contractions that modify the normal secretions of the skin’s glands, causing abnormal production of sebum and sweat containing an abnormal amount of urea. The presence of this substance compromises the self-sterilizing effect of the skin and allows the onset of chronic infections that alter the health of the skin and cause dandruff.
Auto-intoxication phenomena can lead to skin dehydration due to lack of fixation of mineral salts in the scalp cells. This phenomenon leads to an abnormal nutritional intake of the epidermis and a strong tendency to skin discoloration that generates dry dandruff and annoying itching to the head.
These triggering factors are almost always accompanied by a specific symptom: subcutaneous inflammation. Studies show that inflammatory processes around inflammatory processes in the scalp of dandruff are found around the blood vessels under the epidermis. Cells, probably stimulated by the presence of pathogenic microorganisms, release substances useful in defending the skin from infection, which, however, cause an alteration in cellular replacement. Due to inflammation, the cells desiccate in such a large quantity that they form voluminous chips. The magnitude of the production of these scales, dandruff or pityriasis would therefore depend on the severity of the inflammatory outbreaks present. Inflammation of the skin often causes a painful sensation in the scalp that represents the signal of a possible early hair fall.
The main causes of pathological dandruff have to do with the alteration of the hydro-lipid-protein biological complex and are:
- Hyperhidrosis: excessively hydrated scalp;
- Dishydrous: insufficiently hydrated scalp;
- Seborrhea: excess sebum;
- Asteatosis: insufficient sebum;
- Hypertrophy: many protein substances;
- Atrophy: few protein substances.
The water balance in surface tissues is given by sweating (perspiration). In the presence of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and as a result of particular skin disorders, such as psoriasis, eczema and acne, there is a change in the alkaline pH of the hair’s skin resulting in dandruff formation.
It is well known that the skin, by means of the sweat glands and superficial vessels, also performs the function of thermoregulation (regulation of body heat). In the face of a defect of sweating (dishydrous) and therefore of hydration, the hair becomes dry, dry and fragile, resulting in desquamation and production of dry dandruff.
Dandruff and shampooing
If the skin flakes are barely visible, it’s probably just a sign of dry scalp. Then you can try a mild shampoo that is especially intended for dry and sensitive scalp. If the flakes are larger and you suspect it’s dull, but the trouble is not that big, you can wash your hair and scalp with a mild dandruff shampoo for a period of time. If it does not help you can use special shampoo that contains the selenium. Different kinds of dandruff shampoo are found in pharmacies as well as in regular food stores.
If the shampoo doesn’t work, try something else. Everyone’s scalp is different and different reactions can be triggered by the same shampoo. To avoid unnecessary irritation of the scalp, make sure to solder the shampoo in the palm of your hand before washing and rinse your hair for a long time.
If you have trouble with a lot of dandruff and perhaps coatings in the scalp, try a shampoo that removes the skin fungus that may have caused the dandruff. Shampoo contains the active substance ketoconazole, which is effective against yeast fungi. You should treat your hair and scalp twice a week for two to four weeks, and then once a week or when needed. Shampoo with ketoconazole can be purchased without a prescription at the pharmacy.
If you have not been helped by regular shampoos containing ketoconazole, contact your healthcare center. You may have a spleen or other skin disease, such as psoriasis, which requires other treatment. Except for rare cases when it occurs temporarily and then disappears, for example following a stressful period or eating disorders, dandruff is a chronic disorder that can be controlled by using certain products with some perseverance.
Anti-dandruff products differ according to the active ingredient they contain, including:
Zinc pyrone: This antibacterial and antifungal agent has been shown to be effective in reducing the foreboding microbial population on the scalp.
Tar: Slowing down the cell replacement rate, coal tar can be useful in the treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. However, in addition to the odor that is usually unpleasant, it may be irritating.
Selenium sulphate: Similarly to what has been seen in the previous case, using shampoos and lotions containing this active ingredient, it is necessary to reduce the surface replacement rate of the skin’s superficial layer. Selenium sulphate also has a modest fungicidal action. Since these products can discolor lighter or colored hair, it is important to follow the labeling instructions and rinse abundantly after use.
Ketoconazole: is one of the last and most effective active ingredients used in the treatment of dandruff. Ketoconazole is, in fact, a broad spectrum antifungal agent, which can be effective when all other products have failed.
Herbal products: Chillies, apple vinegar and essential oils of eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, sage and nettle are very useful. Tea tree oil (or essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia), used for its antiseptic and antifungal properties, is also widely known. It works effectively against dandruff but can cause allergic reactions in predetermined individuals. Let’s have a closer look at those natural dandruff remedies and the mode of their application.
A Complete guide to natural dandruff remedies
Good practices to prevent and fight dandruff are:
- Washing your hair every day helps to fight dry dandruff by avoiding additional build up of sebum on the skin;
- In the case of greasy dandruff, instead, avoid too frequent and prolonged washings of the scalp, so as not to stimulate excess sebum production;
- Take care of your nutrition. Ensure the intake of sulphur, omega-3, antioxidants and B group vitamins in fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish;
- Reduce the use of cosmetics. Gels, hairsprays and mousses may be irritating to the scalp, making it weaker and increasing the itch associated with dandruff. This statement is the more truthful the more economical the product being used.
To act internally and to counter dandruff, it is important to eat healthy in the first place. This means consuming so much fruit and vegetables, rich in vitamins, and avoid fatty foods such as lean and fatty cheeses. Improving lifestyle in general, trying to reduce stress, is also important.
It is better for these to prefer organic foods and products, use natural honey and sweeteners instead of refined sugars, choose fresh and unpackaged products, full of hydrogenated fats. You also need to limit the consumption of alcohol and coffee, preferring green tea, rich in natural antioxidants, which is good for counteracting it.
Another advice is to take iron-rich foods, such as dried fruits (plums, peanuts, hazelnuts, figs and almonds) and legumes (beans and lentils are among the richest iron).
From a cosmetic point of view, it is advisable to also clean hair daily using a delicate shampoo that removes excess sebum and dead cells by improving the dandruff problem. In addition to shampoo, you can use hair lotions on dry or wet hair every other day. Among the most effective essential oils to fight dandruff, we find the essential oil of Tea tree, with fungicidal and antibacterial properties, and essential oils of eucalyptus, lemon and sage, disinfectants and astringents.
Here is some practical advice, just try to find out what is the natural remedy best suited to every single case.
1. Pre-shampoo lotion oil with tea tree oil
Ingredients: 30 ml castor oil, 30ml hyperic oil, 30 drops of tee tree essential oil, 20 drops of essential lavender oil. Mix the ingredients and leave them in a glass bottle. Spread on the skin and rub before shampoo once a week.
2. Pre-shampoo tea tree oil and rosemary
Ingredients: Tea tree essential oil, essential rosemary oil, jojoba oil. Preparation: Pour two drops of tea tree oil, two rosemary into a spoonful of jojoba pure oil. Rub for a long time, trying to come with the oil at the root of the hair, let it run for twenty minutes, then proceed with the shampoo. Repeat the operation once a week for at least one month.
3. Green clay and flaxseed oil pre-shampoo lotion
Ingredients: green clay 1 cup, 2 drops lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil. Preparation: Oil can be obtained by boiling the seeds and allowing them to rest for a couple of hours before using it, or you can buy it ready. Add this to a cup of clay and lemon. Mix with a wooden spoon, add water, until a smooth and homogeneous mixture is obtained. Distribute on the scalp and let it work before the usual shampoo for about twenty minutes.
4. Salt and rosemary powder
Ingredients: Dried needles of rosemary, fine salt. Preparation: Mix in equal parts the powder obtained by shaking the needles with the salt up. Rinse the scalp twice or three times a week with the obtained powder. Rinse and shampoo.
5. Rinse after shampoo
Decoction of walnut leaves, darkens hair and fights dandruff and fall. So how to rinse your hair with decoction of sage leaves or beetroot.
6. After-shampoo laurel lotion
Ingredients: 1 glass of white vinegar or apple, 1 handful of nettle leaves. Preparation: Boil it all in a basin, adding a glass of water. Filter and after shampoo rubbing the hair roots. Wait five minutes and then pour the remaining liquid over the scalp.
7. Neem oil to fight dandruff
Thanks to the high percentage of oleic acid, stearic and palmitic acid, neem oil can integrate the lipid layer of the epidermis, hindering skin microevaporation, one of the causes of dry dandruff phenomena. Neem oil also has nutritional, emollient and softening properties, thanks to its high content of oleic acid, which helps to improve the elasticity and softness of the skin, limiting its flaking. Neem oil is therefore very moisturizing and is effective in fighting skin dryness, repairing damaged skin and restoring its natural elasticity.
Its antibacterial, antimycotic and anti-inflammatory properties make it suitable for hair care in the case of dandruff due to fungi, also associated with itching or redness since it helps to soothe and resolve the problem. Neem oil can be used pure but because of its rather strong odor, it is often diluted in other vegetable oils and can be supplemented with essential oils, including tea tree, particularly suitable for dandruff.
Neem oil is a very dense oil that tends to solidify at temperatures below 25 ° C, has a dark green color and a very strong and distinctive smell. Neem oil is stored at room temperature away from sources of light and heat. Although it is a stable oil that does not detach itself quickly, it is advisable to keep it at temperatures below 60 ° C to keep its properties intact.
8. Tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil is considered as the most versatile among essential oils. As for dandruff, it is used in the formulation of eco-biological shampoos suitable for solving this problem. Tea tree essential oil is considered to be particularly effective in dry dandruff and is considered to be able to heal the scalp. You can try to test its effectiveness by diluting two drops of the amount of shampoo normally used at the time of hair washing. Essential oils are very powerful concentrated natural extracts and for this reason they must be used with care and in small quantities. Their use is not recommended in the presence of injuries and severe skin lesions.
9. Apple Cider
One of the home remedies that can be used against dandruff is represented by white wine vinegar or apple vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is strong, so mix it with water before use. Equally large portions of each component are usually good. Alternatively, a few drops of vinegar can be diluted in lukewarm water and used to massage the scalp before the shampoo. It is also possible to make a wrap in the same way that it is allowed to act overnight, simply wrap your head in a warm towel before going to sleep after rubbing the vinegar solution into the scalp. Gently pour the solution over the scalp and let it last for at least 15 minutes before washing clean with a shampoo. The high pH of the vinegar owner inhibits the growth of the yeast fungus which may be the cause of dandruff.
Crush a couple of aspirin tablets and mix them with water for a paste as you bathe over the scalp. Alternatively, mix your regular shampoo with the crushed pills. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is the active ingredient in most prescription dandruff. It helps to stop the peeling.
11. Coconut oil – natural remedy for dandruff
Massage the scalp with a small click of coconut oil and allow it to sit for at least 15-20 minutes. The longer the better, so you can even sleep with the oil, under a towel or shower cap. Coconut oil, like apple cider vinegar, contributes to reducing the kind of yeast fungi that can cause dandruff. However, it is quite greasy, so be prepared for a few rinses before the hair is clean.
12. Aloe vera gel
Lubricate the scalp with a small click of aloe vera gel to get rid of some of the symptoms. Unlike other house cures, aloe is not the essence of the basic problem, that is, the yeast fungus. On the contrary, it suppresses inflammation that can occur as a result of dandruff, as well as relieves irritating itching. To prevent the formation of dandruff and to counter the itching it caused, if it is already present, it is advisable to try to pamper the scalp by massaging on it small amounts of aloe vera gel before shampooing, allowing him to act as much as possible. The application of the aloe gel can also help calm the itching suddenly appeared at a point of the scalp, thanks to a rapid and immediate application.
13. Linseed oil
Another natural remedy considered effective to combat dandruff is the flaxseed oil. Its constant use, in a few drops, to be massaged on the scalp before the shampoo, can help alleviate and gradually diminish the problem of dandruff. Flaxseed oil can be purchased in organic grocery stores and is usually placed in the fridge counter so that its properties remain unaltered.
14. Olive oil and lemon juice
To try to fight dandruff naturally, you can try using a homemade pasta prepared using olive oil and lemon juice. Lemon juice helps to release the scalp from dried dessert scales, while olive oil contributes to its hydration and nutrition. The wrap should be applied to the scalp before the shampoo and should be left for 30 minutes. For its preparation, it is sufficient to mix 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons of water.
15. Thyme decoction
A simple thyme based mixture can also help reduce dandruff appearance. Pour two well-spooned teaspoon of dried thyme with two glasses of warm water and boil for 10 minutes. Strain the brew and wait until it has cooled down to room temperature. Wash your hair with shampoo, rinse and apply half of the thyme to the damp hair. Massage the decoction into the scalp. Do not rinse it. Keep the remaining portion of the decoction in the refrigerator for the next use. Repeat the procedure twice a week.
16. Sandal wood decoction
Another homemade way to dandruff is to mix the sandalwood essential oil with lemon juice in a ratio of 1:3 and apply the resulting mixture to the scalp.
17. Ventilated green clay
Ventilated green clay, available at your local herbalist’s, can be used to make an anti-dandruff to apply on the hair and leave to act for 30 minutes before going to the shampoo. This is a suitable wrap especially for dandruff accompanied by fat hair. Those with dry hair can think of replacing the green clay with white clay. It is advisable to massage the scalp with a piece of the pack before completing the application. It can be prepared by mixing the clay with equal amounts of water. For example, four tablespoons of clay will match four spoons of water. You need to mix the two ingredients until you get a creamy compound to make it easier to apply.
This herb is commonly called henna, but has nothing to do with the botanical point of view with henna (Lawsonia inermis) used to tint the hair copper. Henna tree, obtained from Cassia italica or Cassia obovata, is a powder without coloring principles but rich in beneficial hair properties. A moisturized water and neutral honeycomb helps to counter dandruff and works as a reconstitute for hairy hair. It is necessary to proceed by mixing the henna powder with warm water until a creamy compound is applied to wet or dry hair, massaging the scalp and leaving it to act for an hour before the shampooing.
An intravenous infusion can be prepared to obtain a hair lotion on the scalp to curb the appearance of dandruff. Its preparation is very simple. Infuse 250 ml of boiling water into a teaspoon of dried nettle flowers for 10-15 minutes. The infusion should be filtered and allowed to cool before being applied to the skin. For this purpose, it may be useful to transfer it to a spray container.
A lotion suitable for combating dandruff can be prepared from beets. Beetroot is considered a formidable natural remedy against dandruff. In this regard, it is possible to boil flowers and roots of beet in water. The decoction should then be filtered and let cool before being applied to the scalp, massaging it gently before passing to the shampooing.
21. Flaxseed Gel
A slurry suitable for combating dandruff can be prepared using the flax seeds. You need a pack containing 50 grams of flax seed in 250 ml of water all night. Subsequently, with their liquid, they will be brought to boiling in a pot until the formation of a gelatinous substance. Flaxseed gel should then be filtered and used as an anti-foam wrap, massaging it on the scalp and allowing it to act for at least 30 minutes before the shampooing.
If dandruff does not improve over a period of one to two months, it is advisable to seek an opinion from the dermatologist who will investigate the causes and prescribe the use of active substances shampoo and lotions that have an effect on excessive production of sebum and with antimycotic action, such as sulphur selenium, zinc pyrite and ketoconazole.