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8 natural remedies for dandruff

Dandruff is a skin ailment that affects the scalp, creating itchy, flaky skin and greasy spots.

Dandruff can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • dry skin
  • allergic reactions to hair and skin products
  • other skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis
  • diet
  • overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia

For the treatment of dandruff, there are a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) topical medications and special shampoos available. People can, however, assist in the elimination of dandruff at home by using the natural remedies listed below.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil
Before using tea tree oil, it is recommended that you dilute it.

Essential oil derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, tea tree oil is used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Tea tree oil has traditionally been used to cure a wide range of diseases, including acne, athlete’s foot, and dermatitis, according to history.

Tea tree oil contains a molecule known as terpinen-4-ol, which is known for its potent antibacterial and antifungal activities. Tea tree oils with high quantities of terpinen-4-ol, which inhibits the growth of fungi and bacteria on the scalp, may be beneficial in the treatment of dandruff.

After analysing the germs on 140 Indian women’s heads, researchers revealed that women with dandruff had higher levels of the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis (also known as S. epidermidis) than women without dandruff.

An investigation into the antibacterial effects of different essential oils was published in 2017. According to the authors, the compounds in tea tree oil may be effective in controlling the S. epidermidis bacteria on the skin.

Because applying tea tree oil directly to the scalp can cause inflammation or rashes, persons who are interested in using tea tree oil to treat dandruff should start by mixing a few drops into their regular shampoo before applying it.

Alternatively, shampoos containing tea tree oil are available in several drug stores.

Lemongrass oil

Traditionally, people have used lemongrass and lemongrass oil to treat digestive issues, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.

Lemongrass oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, which may be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of dandruff.

In a short study published in 2015, researchers discovered that hair tonics containing 10% lemongrass oil decreased dandruff by 81 percent after two weeks of use.

When applied directly to the skin, lemongrass oil, like tea tree oil, may produce irritation or allergic responses in some people. It is possible to dilute lemongrass oil with water, or to incorporate a few drops into one’s regular shampoo or conditioner regimen.

Aloe vera gel

Known for its healing powers, aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in hot climates. The gel found in its leaves contains a variety of bioactive substances, including amino acids and antioxidants, which may help to eliminate dandruff in some people.

According to the authors of a 2019 review, they looked at 23 clinical trials that involved Aloe vera. According to the findings of these investigations, aloe vera gel may help to increase moisture retention in the skin as well as wound healing. Aloe vera may also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for persons suffering from dandruff symptoms like as itching.

According to a study published in 2015, the antifungal and antibacterial characteristics of Aloe vera may be effective in preventing dandruff.

After conducting a brief study with only 25 participants, the researchers came to the conclusion that a new topical gel containing Aloe vera was beneficial in treating a kind of dandruff known as seborrheic dermatitis.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can aid in the improvement of skin and hair health.

In addition to helping to lower blood pressure and raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels, omega-3 fatty acids may also help to support heart and brain health. This fatty acid is deficient in some people, resulting in undesirable side effects such as dandruff, brittle nails, and dry skin.

Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of skin benefits, including

  • managing oil production
  • regulating inflammation
  • improving hydration
  • reducing signs of aging

Salmon, mackerel, and walnuts are examples of foods that have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 supplements are also available for purchase.

Approximately 1.1 to 1.6 grammes of omega-3 fatty acids per day are recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the majority of adults.

Omega-3 fatty acids are available in pharmacies, health food stores.


Aspirin is an over-the-counter pain treatment that may be effective in reducing dandruff symptoms. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is an active component that is typically found in dandruff shampoos and conditioners.

Salicylic acid can aid in the exfoliation of excess dandruff flakes, the prevention of oil buildup, and the reduction of scalp inflammation.

Using an uncoated aspirin tablet to make a fine powder and mixing it with a dollop of ordinary shampoo is a simple way to utilise salicylic acid on dandruff.

Apply the mixture to the hair while in the shower and keep it in for a few minutes before rinsing it off.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil may be beneficial for the scalp in terms of improving hydration, reducing irritation, and preventing fungal growth.

Researchers discovered that cultured coconut extract reduced the levels of inflammatory markers in human skin samples after conducting a test tube investigation. Another study found that adding virgin coconut oil to artificial skin samples has anti-inflammatory characteristics identical to the ones shown in the first.

An observational study found that applying virgin coconut oil to the skin resulted in an overall reduction of 68.23 percent in atopic dermatitis symptoms among children aged one to thirteen years. The study involved 117 children aged one to thirteen years old.

These exploratory tests yielded encouraging findings, but further research is required to determine the effectiveness of coconut oil in the treatment of dandruff.

Some people have reported success with using coconut oil directly to the scalp before rinsing it out, while others have reported success with using a shampoo that contains coconut oil.

Dietary changes

Food has the potential to have significant effects on the body. Although food may not be the primary cause of dandruff, it may exacerbate the symptoms.

There is currently minimal research into the relationship between food and dandruff. However, a growing body of research suggests a link between diet and inflammatory skin disorders such as seborrheic dermatitis. This link is still being investigated.

Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which may be beneficial in the reduction of inflammation.

According to the findings of a recent observational study including 4,379 persons, individuals who reported eating more fruits were less likely to suffer from seborrheic dermatitis than those who did not.

The findings also show that normal Western diets may raise the incidence of seborrheic dermatitis in females, according to the researchers.

Several skin problems, including seborrheic dermatitis, have been linked to a shortage in biotin, according to a research published in 2018. Biotin, commonly known as vitamin B7, is a B vitamin that is essential for the maintenance of healthy hair, nails, and skin. The following foods are high in biotin:

  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • nuts
  • salmon
  • nutritional yeast

Reduce stress

Stress has been shown to have a negative impact on a person’s overall health. Stress can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation if it is left untreated.

Although stress does not appear to be a direct cause of skin diseases, it might aggravate or activate those that already present.

According to a Japanese study released in 2014, there is a link between anxiety-induced stress and the development of atopic dermatitis. The people who had atopic dermatitis reported higher levels of anxiety than the participants who did not have the disease.


Dandruff is a skin ailment that affects the scalp and causes itchy, flaky skin to appear. This disorder has the potential to negatively effect a person’s self-esteem as well as their overall quality of life.

However, while just a few research studies have specifically evaluated the effectiveness of natural remedies for dandruff, anecdotal data suggests that many of these remedies are effective.

Not all home remedies will be effective for every individual. Any person who has an underlying skin issue, such as eczema or psoriasis, should consult with a physician before experimenting with a new natural remedy.

Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.