Natural Treatments for Dandruff

By Scott J. Banks, Joe Kraynak, J. J. Virgin

Dandruff is usually more embarrassing than it is a health risk, but it may be a symptom of something more serious, such as eczema, psoriasis, or a fungal infection. If your scalp itches, avoid the temptation to scratch, which may cause bleeding and make your scalp more susceptible to infection. Try one or more of the following treatments:

  • Use over‐the‐counter shampoos containing ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, or salicylic acid. Jason Dandruff Shampoo with sulfur and salicylic acid is a good choice for most, but it contains wheat protein, so if you’re allergic to wheat or have celiac disease, cross it off your list.

    Rotate shampoos monthly, alternating use of different active ingredients, because scalp conditions tend to develop resistance to certain products.

  • For stubborn cases of dandruff, try a tar shampoo, such as Neutrogena T/Gel or its generic equivalent, once a week. After applying tar shampoo, rinse your hair with lemon juice. Tar shampoos can be irritating to certain individuals, and they may change the root color, so proceed cautiously.

  • Mix two parts apple cider vinegar, one part warm water, and several drops of one or more of the following essential oils: lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary. Mix well and apply directly to the scalp. Allow the mixture to dry on your scalp and hair, and then shampoo and rinse. Perform this procedure once or twice weekly until the dandruff has improved.

  • Boil several neem (Indian lilac) leaves in two cups of water. Cool and strain the solution and use it to rinse your hair two or three times a week.

  • Mix coconut oil with lemon juice, massage it into your scalp, and leave it on for 20 minutes. Shampoo and rinse. Do this two or three times weekly.

  • Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, massage it into your scalp, and leave it in for 30 minutes. Shampoo and rinse. Do this once or twice weekly.