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How Can I Treat Dandruff and a Dry Scalp?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dandruff and a dry scalp can usually be treated with anti-dandruff shampoos and some types of natural home remedies. Adding certain vitamins to your regular diet can also be helpful in preventing dandruff. Causes of dandruff can often be similar to the causes of a dry scalp, including both internal imbalances and environmental factors. Treating dandruff and a dry scalp successfully involves using a remedy that will clear away shed skin flakes and restore your scalp's normal pH.

Common dandruff remedies include shampoos containing medicinal additives such as Nizoral, which is a patented ingredient designed to control a naturally occurring fungus known as pityrosporum ovale. While this fungus is normally present on the skin's surface, certain environmental and hereditary factors can cause it to become overactive. This can result in excessive shedding of the scalp flakes that characterize dandruff. Nizoral shampoos and other scalp treatment products are among the remedies most commonly prescribed by dermatologists as a long-term anti-dandruff option.

Some cases of dandruff and a dry scalp may also result from lack of certain nutrients such as B vitamins. Diets that are heavy in starch and refined sugar can also contribute to the problems of dandruff and a dry scalp. Adding supplements such as fish oil or omega-3 capsules can be an effective way to lessen the effects of a dry scalp in particular. Dandruff can also result from the use of dry indoor heating during the winter or from build-up of hair products on the scalp. Using a clarifying shampoo with a good moisturizing conditioner can help reduce this type of externally caused dandruff.

Although dandruff and a dry scalp are usually associated with one another, dandruff can also co-occur with an oily scalp. This condition usually results from excessive sebum secretion on the scalp along with the uncontrolled pityrosporum ovale fungus. When oil mixes with the shed skin flakes, patches of thick, yellowish dandruff can form. People with both oily scalps and dandruff are generally advised not to scratch or scrape their scalps; doing so can slough off too much skin and possibly lead to a bacterial infection.

Using a shampoo containing salicylic acid is a common treatment for serious cases of dandruff with an oily scalp. This ingredient is generally effective at removing excess sebum, making the oily dandruff patches easier to wash away. Salicylic acid shampoos are usually used only under a dermatologist's supervision because they can often react with other types of medications. Natural dandruff remedies that can help an oily scalp include white vinegar, lavender extract, and jojoba oil.

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Discussion Comments
By discographer — On Jun 29, 2012

@anamur-- I haven't used it but I know my sister did a couple of times. It shouldn't burn your scalp because you don't apply the vinegar directly. You're supposed to dilute vinegar with water and rinse your scalp and hair with it. I think it does smell kind of odd afterward, but you can probably mask that by using a hair conditioner on the ends of your hair.

I get dandruff sometimes and I think it happens because I use the same shampoo for a long time. A friend told me to switch shampoos every once in a while. I have been doing that and it seems to help. I think shampoos have a lot of chemicals in them and using one for a long time makes those chemicals build up on our scalp and hair. Using a clarifying shampoo once in a while and switching shampoos often seem to help.

I don't know if these will help you. But if your dandruff persists, you should see a dermatologist. Sometimes a fungal infection can cause dandruff and you might need topical medication for it.

By serenesurface — On Jun 28, 2012

Has anyone used the vinegar rinse method for dandruff? Does it work? Does your hair smell like vinegar afterward?

I have an oily scalp and dandruff and I can't seem to treat it. I heard about using vinegar for it some time ago but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. I feel like the vinegar might burn my scalp and my hair might smell bad later.

Just wondering, has anyone used it?

By burcinc — On Jun 28, 2012

Anti-dandruff shampoos don't work for me. In fact, they make things worse by irritating my scalp. I prefer using natural remedies for dry scalp and dandruff instead.

The remedy that has completely treated my dandruff and dry scalp problem is coconut oil. Coconut oil is an excellent oil. It not only moisturizes but also has anti-microbial properties. So it both treats scalp conditions and nourishes the skin.

What I do is I use one hundred percent natural coconut oil as a leave-in treatment several times a week. I apply the oil to my scalp and gently massage it for a few minutes with my fingertips. Then I leave it for at least thirty minutes and then shower.

Since I've started doing this, I have no had dandruff or dry scalp. So I recommend everyone to give this a try. It's an all-natural, safe solution.

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