You’ve just combed your hair and you notice small white flakes on your shoulders.
You have dandruff, a scalp condition characterized by flakes and itching.
There are a number of shampoos which contain chemicals that are designed to treat dandruff, but there are natural alternatives you may wish to try first.
One of the most versatile tools in your alternative medicine arsenal can also help you treat dandruff. That tool is the oil of the melaleuca alternifolia plant, or tee tree oil. The plant, which is a native of Australia, produces oil which is antiseptic and anti-fungal.
You can purchase shampoos that contain tea tree oil commercially, or you can try adding tea tree oil to your own mild shampoo. Add about 10 drops for every 8 ounces of shampoo. When shampooing the hair, massage the shampoo gently into the scalp, and then allow it to sit for several minutes.
You can also add some tea tree oil to your conditioner if you use one. Before using any product containing tea tree oil, test it on your skin to make sure your skin will not have a negative reaction. Avoid getting products containing tea tree oil into your eyes.
Other essential oils that can be helpful include rosemary and lemon. After shampooing and drying your hair (let it dry naturally when possible), rub a few drops of these essential oils into your scalp.
Remember to wash your combs and brushes with the same products you are using for your hair. Because dandruff is usually caused by a fungus, you need to make sure you kill any fungus that is lurking in your combs or brushes.
You can also treat your dandruff through diet. Make sure you are getting plenty of zinc and the B vitamins in your diet.
Focus on adding healthy fats, such as flaxseed oil, to your diet, and eliminating junk food and saturated fats, especially trans fats. Fenugreek supplements may also help; they are a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for dandruff.
There are several homeopathic remedies which may help cure dandruff. If your scalp is moist, oily, and sensitive near the hair roots, try taking 6C of Sepia three times a day for up to two weeks.
For thick dandruff, when washing the hair makes the scalp drier, a burning scalp, and itching that seems worse at night, try Sulphur. If you feel like you are being bitten by insects along your hairline, and heat makes your itching worse, try using Oleander.