FLAKY SCALP? Stop the Dandruff with Home Remedies

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If you’re like me (one of those people who are unfortunate enough to suffer from dandruff), you’ve probably already discovered how much of a nuisance it is in your everyday life. Not only does it undermine one’s self-esteem but it limits your wardrobe to light-colored clothing to camouflage the unsightly flakes.

So what is dandruff and how can you get rid of the itchy scalp and flaking that occurs? The answer is not that simple because why you have dandruff may be a mystery and the treatment may depend on the cause. But what I found to be helpful may come in beneficial for you too. So, Read on!

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is an overproduction of or accumulation of sticky skin cells of the scalp which shed either as clumps or as individual flakes. Sometimes dandruff is associated with itching and crusting. Over the past several years, many studies have identified a fungus—Malassezia—as the cause of the problem. This fungus lives naturally on the scalps of many people, but it is overly abundant on those who have dandruff.

Here’s the tricky part: Not all flakes on the scalp are dandruff! Dry scalp, a buildup of styling products (hairsprays and gels), and medications like Rogaine (minoxidil) all can cause flaking, which can easily be mistaken for dandruff. To treat the problem, you need to know what you’re dealing with!

Is It Dandruff, or Something Else?

Here’s how to tell the difference between a flaky, itchy scalp caused by dandruff and a flaky scalp caused by dry skin on the scalp, a buildup of styling products, or the use of minoxidil:

  • The flakes caused by dandruff are white, and tend to have a thick, heavy texture. Itching, if it occurs, tends to be all over the scalp, not just in localized areas. Flakes are noticeable on the scalp as well as in the hair.
  • Flakes caused by a buildup of styling products tend not to be white (they’re more translucent), and will appear on the hair and usually not the scalp.
  • Flakes caused by using minoxidil occur in scaly sheets of off-color skin in the areas where the medication is applied.

The Causes

Doctors dispute the actual causes of dandruff and there is no definite reason given for those annoying oily or dry flakes on the scalp that soon appear in your hair. Your scalp sheds cells in a natural process but for some people, excessive flaking occurs when dead skin cells are shed at an increased rate.

Different theories include overactive oil glands, clogged oil glands, stress, diet, hormonal imbalance, poor hygiene, and possibly a fungus such as P. Ovale. According to the Mayo Clinic, the fungus is often present in dandruff but may not cause it. The dandruff may, in fact, be causing the fungus.


Dandruff Treatments

Dandruff is not a threat to your health or life, is not contagious and does not cause your hair to fall out or (yikes!) complete balding. Getting rid of dandruff is beneficial to relieve an itchy scalp and for cosmetic reasons. If something’s not right, it makes perfect sense to seek help.

Keep in mind that there is no definitive cure but there are several ways to manage it and keep in under control. Some dandruff treatments may work, some may not. Sometimes, what worked before quits working and you have to move on to another remedy.

If your flaking is not too bad, you can start by washing your hair more often in tepid water with a mild shampoo. Every time you shampoo and condition your hair, make sure you rinse thoroughly to ensure there is no product left in your hair. Products not properly rinsed out can be a single cause of flaking. Avoid styling products that contain alcohol and use hair spray sparingly.


For serious dandruff, there are many products on the market today that contain salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, or coal tar to help control remove the dead cells and control any fungus. The cost is higher than other shampoos but it may be cheaper then visiting your dermatologist. Follow the directions carefully and massage thoroughly into your scalp for maximum results. Again, some shampoos may quit working and you may need to try another type.

See your dermatologist if symptoms persist. There may be an underlying cause of excessive flaking such as psoriasis or seborrhea dermatitis in which over-the-counter treatments are not very effective. Whilst prescription medications and shampoos can greatly reduce discomfort and ease symptoms, a cure is not guaranteed.

Home Remedies

There are many things you can do at home to increase you chances of success. Changes in your diet should include reducing your sugar intake and possibly yeast. You probably won’t see results quickly but over time, it can help.

Get proper rest and do all that you can to reduce stress. You may need to put something on hold and take some time to relax. Again, results won’t be immediate but reducing stress can not only be good for fighting dandruff, it’s beneficial to your overall health.

Listerine mouthwash can be used because of it’s antiseptic ability to reduce germs and fungus. It can irritate your scalp so don’t apply it if you have a “raw” scalp or any open sores.

Aloe Vera is a popular home remedy for a large variety of skin conditions and dandruff is no exception. The best natural remedy is to take the gel from Aloe Vera leaves, apply it directly to your scalp and leave in for hours at a time or overnight, followed by shampooing.

Look for tree oil shampoo at a store that specializes in natural and organic products. Known for it’s antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal abilities, tree oil shampoo can be effective in treating dandruff. If your scalp is sore, test a spot first to see if it causes further irritation or allergies.


When babies have dry, thick flaking on their scalp, it’s known as “cradle cap.” Often, rubbing baby oil over their scalp softens the flakes for removal and helps prevent more from forming. For small areas, adults can try this too.

Last but not least, natural oils, such as coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil, can also be used to keep the scalp moisturized and prevent dandruff or flaky scalp. Using tools from your kitchen counter, just warm up some oil in a bowl (you can do this in your microwave) and apply to your scalp with a tender massage, ensuring that the entire scalp is covered. Wrap the hair and scalp in a towel and leave the oil on overnight. Wash off in the morning with your regular shampoo and conditioner


Recommended Products:

Seba Med Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


Oriflame HairX Dandruff Rescue Treatment

Stop the Dandruff

And for the #TeamNaturals: Oriflame Nature Hair Oil with 100% Coconut Oil

 #TeamNaurals #AntiDandruff  

When shampooing, use gentle circular motions to massage the scalp and encourage dead skin cells to lift off the surface. Don’t scratch! That damages the scalp, and increases the fungus that causes dandruff.

If after trying over-the-counter treatments for several weeks you still see no noticeable results, you should see a dermatologist. The dermatologist will be able to better pinpoint the cause of your flakiness and can prescribe a stronger treatment that might finally be able to get it under control.

If you have a flaky scalp, don’t use heavy conditioners or oils. Excess oil, whether it’s produced naturally by your scalp or is from the products you use, can increase the presence of the fungus that causes dandruff. These products also hold skin cells down, increasing the buildup you want gone!

Teni Beauty

Resident Chief Editor, Signature Reporter. Teniolami is an accomplished makeup artist and beauty therapist with almost 10years experience in the beauty industry. She is a full-time Beauty Business Coach, Brand & Product Developer, Educator and a soon to-be published Beauty Author

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