In most cases, to get rid of dandruff flakes it is necessary to treat the scalp so that the flakes do not form. There are several different types of dandruff shampoos available over the counter at most pharmacies and beauty supply retailers. In addition, some people have reported successfully treating dandruff using home remedies. Dandruff that does not respond to any of these treatments may require prescription-strength medication.
Many dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione, which acts as an agent to rid the scalp of bacteria and fungus, both of which can cause the formation of dandruff flakes. Various shampoos contain differing amounts of zinc pyrithione, so it may take some experimenting to find a formula that works for a specific condition. Some users report scalp irritation when using these products. If this occurs, it is a good idea to try a weaker formula or to discontinue use.
Another popular treatment for dandruff flakes is the use of shampoos that contain coal tar. Coal tar helps the condition by slowing down how quickly skin cells on the scalp die and flake. One of the drawbacks of this type of treatment is the smell. Some of these shampoos are odorous and leave the hair with a lingering odor as well. In addition, some users may develop scalp irritation with prolonged use of products containing coal tar.
Selenium sulfide is also commonly used to help fight dandruff flakes. This compound works in much the same way as coal tar, slowing down the death of skin cells on the scalp. One of the main drawbacks of using selenium sulfide for dandruff treatment is that it can sometimes cause discoloration of hair that has been chemically colored.
Many home remedies for treating dandruff flakes involve prevention. Some experts believe that washing the hair daily can help prevent the type of scalp environment that promotes dandruff. It is also recommended that hair be shampooed immediately after activities that can cause excessive sweating, such as playing sports or exercising. Using a lemon rinse after shampooing may also help with flaking.
Most of the time, people who suffer from dandruff flakes can manage the condition using over-the-counter treatments or home remedies. For some sufferers, it may be necessary to use a prescription-strength medication or shampoo. Dermatologists often use steroid treatments to help control dandruff. The treatment may involve using steroid-based shampoos or drops of steroid solution placed directly on the scalp.