Dandruff is the shedding of skin on the scalp, and is evident in white flakes on the head and shoulders. It can be caused by fungal infections, poor diet, stress, hormonal imbalances, immune suppression, or the increased use of chemical hair preparations. Natural remedies for dandruff are often used as a preventative and treatment.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil from the leaves of the native Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia. It is a powerful anti-fungal agent and antiseptic. Tea tree oil shampoos are effective natural remedies for dandruff, and can be found in natural health food stores and some drug stores.
Another option is to make an anti-dandruff shampoo by combining 5-10 drops of tea tree essential oil with 8 ounces of unscented liquid castile soap. Shampoo the hair as normal and rinse thoroughly. When applied regularly or at least three times per week, this treatment will heal the scalp, improve circulation, and decrease or remove dandruff flakes.
Other essential oils may also prove beneficial to sufferers of dandruff. Lemon and rosemary essential oils can be applied after using dandruff shampoo. After the hair is thoroughly dried, a few drops of each oil, dropped onto the palms, should be massaged into the scalp. This should be followed by brushing the hair with a soft brush.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular home remedies for dandruff. Its acidic nature is thought to relieve itching and dryness of the scalp. A weekly application of equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water rubbed into the scalp may decrease dandruff symptoms. A few drops of tea tree essential oil can also be added to the mixture.
Hot oil packs can also be used as effective natural remedies for dandruff. Castor oil, olive oil, or flaxseed oil can be used. The oil is warmed, and then massaged into the scalp. The hair is then bound with a plastic shower cap to keep the heat in, and the mixture is allowed to remain on the head for at least one hour. The oil should be rinsed out thoroughly using a non-detergent, natural shampoo with an avocado or castile base.
Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, is highly regarded as one of the traditional natural remedies for dandruff. An infusion is made by steeping four tablespoons of dried nettle leaves in one pint of boiling water for 30 minutes. After straining the plant material, ¼ cup (60ml) of apple cider vinegar is added to the nettle infusion. This preparation can be massaged into the scalp each night before bed to prevent and treat dandruff.