Last Modified on May 14, 2013
Dandruff flakes are embarrassing, over the counter remedies don't work, and a doctor's dandruff cure is expensive - fortunately natural dandruff remedies beat them all! Itchy scalp, flaky skin, inability to wear anything black. Dandruff is miserable. The fact that this skin condition is common is no comfort at all, but our alternative remedies and holistic treatments can offer exactly the comfort you're looking for!
Now, everybody sloughs off some dead skin cells. It's happening all the time, and if you only see a few flakes then perhaps all you need is more shampooing or hydration, or perhaps a different hair cleaning regimen altogether. Those with true damage also experience reddened and perhaps itchy or inflamed skin in patches or all across the scalp.
Holistic Treatments: Lemon juice, aspirin mixed into shampoo, and salt are other home remedies often used for dandruff conditions. These mostly remove the flakes rather than address the itchiness, though increased acid levels on the skin can reduce itchiness as well (the skin's mantle is naturally a bit on the acidic side).
If your dandruff condition is more serious, also check out our seborrheic dermatitis page for more complementary and alternative health cures.
|Apple Cider Vinegar||22 YEAS|
|Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide||7 YEAS|
Table of Contents
- POPULAR REMEDIES
- 15 Second Rinse
- Antibacterial Liquid Soap
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil
- Baby Shampoo
- Candida Cleanse
- Coconut Oil
- Cold Shower Therapy
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Iodine and Borax
- Jojoba Shampoo and Tea Tree Oil
- Multiple Remedies
- Mustard Oil, Mild Shampoo, Coconut Oil
- Oil of Oregano
- Rain Water
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Skin So Soft
- Tea Tree Oil
- Vitamin B Complex
- Water Only Wash
- White Vinegar
- Zinc Pyrithione Shampoo
15 Second Rinse
[YEA] 12/31/2011: Annette from Fairbanks, Alaska: "Dandruff remedy -- According to this BBC News Health article, dandruff and itchy scalp are caused by overactive Malassezia fungus. This fungus is naturally found on human skin, but if it's overactive it causes a fast turnover of skin cells. In other words, Malassezia produces flakes faster in dandruff sufferers than in people without dandruff.
If you have oily hair (like me) then you're more susceptible to dandruff, since Malassezia feeds on sebum, the oily matter produced by the sebaceous glands in our skin.
This is the real secret. When I tell most people they just think it's gross and don't hear me out. :)
When I hop in the shower in the morning I give my scalp a vigorous 15 second rinse under the water. This gets the visible oiliness out of my hair, but doesn't actually strip my scalp of any oil.
It's washing without washing.
When you first do this you'll notice that your hair might feel a little "sticky. " Don't worry, you have to give it time to adjust.
The interesting thing is after a few days my scalp seemingly stopped producing so much oil. I don't know the science behind it, and I haven't been able to find conclusive studies about it, I just know it works.
Some people use baking soda and vinegar. Or lemon juice. These products don't strip your hair of its oils.
Good luck to all of us suffering from... I call it: "shampoo-itis""Replies
01/01/2012: Francisca from Zug, Switzerland replies: "Annette, how long is your hair, dyed or not? I would like to ask Lardiver the same questions. My hair if shoulder length and dyed so many times methods which work for short, or natural hair don't work for longer, dyed hair. I don't have dandruff but I am looking for ways to make my hair healthier!"
02/12/2012: Jennywren from Perth, Western Australia, Australia replies: "Hi there, just wondering if you ever actually use shampoo, or do you just do this every day? I have oily hair too, with itchy scales and mild hair loss."
07/21/2012: Annette from Fairbanks, Alaska replies: "Hi, this is six months later and my hair has improved so much. Partially due to not shampooing, and partially to using the hydrogen peroxide with a mild (organic) shampoo. I initially went six weeks without using any shampoo and by doing that it had reduced the oiliness tremendously. I did miss the nice scents that some shampoos come with and the lathering, therefore I use shampoo once or twice a week, not everyday. The shampoo I use is made from carrots and it smells like a baby product, it's very gentle, organic, and it works nicely with my hair. I think my hair/scalp has improved a lot.
My hair is short or shoulder length now, and not permed or color treated. I apply the hydrogen peroxide after I wet my hair, then I added a small amount of shampoo, and lather up. This is very simple, because I keep a spray bottle full of H2O2 in the shower. My dandruff is 75% better, but not fully cured. I will add apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil to my regiment. Will post back in another six months!"
01/07/2013: Florie from Henly, Texas, Usa replies: "Doesn't the peroxide bleach your hair?!"
Antibacterial Liquid Soap
[YEA] 04/13/2011: Rw from Tazewell, Va: "Antibacterial liquid soap has worked wonders for my daughter's dandruff. She no longer has the problem. You can buy the large refill size to save money."Replies
11/07/2011: Yoli from Houston, Tx replies: "Only problem with anti-bacterial soaps is all the pesticides used in them and then applying to a warm (pores open) child's head. Not to mention the superbugs it helps create. I don't even use anti-bacterial soaps on my hands."
Apple Cider Vinegar Remedy for Dandruff
Home Remedy Ingredients
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Dilute apple cider vinegar 1:1 with water. Use this mixture just like shampoo to clean your hair and scalp. By killing off the yeast that cause dandruff, this treatment should cure the itch instantly and help to get rid of dandruff within a few days of applications.
[YEA] 04/01/2013: Anonymous from Ridgefield , Ct: "I have been diagnosed with all sorts of sensitive skin and dermatitis problems over the past 6 years. I cannot believe after only one use of the apple cider vinegar/ water mixture sprayed on my scalp for 20 minutes, my flaky scalp and the itchiness is almost gone. I even used regualr shampoo and conditioner for the first time in 6 years after using the vinegar treatment. I will absolutely keep using it. I have been suffering for so long emotionally and physically, I am so thankful for your suggestions and reader comments. I cannot believe after years of buying endless hair treatments and medications, a natural non toxic $0.99 bottle of apple cider vinegar worked!! Thank you, thank you!!"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 12/31/2012: William from San Luis Obispo, California, Usa: "Mild case of dry scalp and dandruff.
Following the advice posted I tried a 1:1 ACV and tap water mix. 1 cup in total, no pre wash. I wet my hair then slightly dried then poured half the solution over the back of my scalp while rubbing it in. It stung a little where I had been scratching perviously but it was a good "this is working" sting. I let the solution soak in for - 10 min. Then poured the other half on my head just before I stepped into the shower. I rinsed my hair well but did not wash with shampoo.
It has been a few hours since this treatment and I already feel a huge difference. My scalp is not itchy and the dandruff I had this morning is now non existent. And on a side note my hair feels conditioned and soft after the treatment a double win .
It is currently winter here in California and that seems to be the time I am most prone to a mild case of dry scalp with a slight itch and small but noticible amounts of dandruff. Lucky for me this solution worked wonders and will be my go to from now on.
Many thanks to the Earth Clinic community."
06/30/2012: Sophie from Berlin, Germany: "Hello, is it normal that ACV worsens the condition in the beginning? I have severe dandruff since last year, I just know that it is NO fungus, but the rest is unclear to me. At the moment the worst areas are the ones over my ears and at my forehead. There, a very dry flaky condition even reaches into my face. But on my scalp, I am not even sure if it is a dry dandruff, the flakes are crusty and stick to the scalp, white and yellowy. I now tried ACV for the first time, I diluted it with water 1:1 and put it in a spray bottle, sprayed it on my dry scalp, waited for 15 minutes, went into the shower and washed it out. Now, the condition seems even dryer, the flakes are more visible, is it a bad or a good sign? Shall I proceed? Am I doing it right? Would love to hear about your experiences!"
[YEA] 02/18/2012: Southernarc from Durham, Nc, Usa: "Looking for a natural cure for dandruff is what led me to this site. I've had dandruff all my life, but not the bad flaky kind. I've had sores/scabs in portions of my scalp, and the last few years I've had problems even with my eyebrows. I've tried dandruff shampoos but have only been able to control things, and even then the control has not been that good.
I've found that a 1:1 mixture of ACV and plain tap water works! I mixed 1 ounce of ACV with 1 ounce of water, and for good measure added in 20 drops of teatree oil. Thoroughy moisten hair in the shower with the concoction and massage in for a few minutes. I noticed results after the first application. I used it twice more a few more days apart and by the third application it appears the scabs are all gone. Even my eyebrows are cured (I made sure to apply the concoction).
Using tea tree oil also helps with the smell. It counteracts the smell of the ACV quite a bit, and I'm thinking of increasing the amount to 25 drops per 2 ounces.
The only other change I made was to switch to a baby shampoo instead of my regular "dry hair" shampoo. But I'm convinced it's the ACV. I've used teatree oil before and I think it helped a bit, but it didn't cure. I know it's not hurting, and since I had some on hand I included it. And I've also gone against conventional wisdom I've read on this site and used regular filtered ACV that I picked up from the supermarket for $.99 If it didn't work I was going to try the organic kind, but since I'm now cured of this ailment I won't have to buy any more ACV.
I know that the baby shampoo must be helping, since I've always had a dry scalp and dry hair and now it's much better. Yet the first time I used the ACV concoction I decided to try my regular shampoo, and even then I could swear that my hair was less dry and more manageable when I was done. So the concoction alone is good. But I'm sticking with the baby shampoo just to be sure, plus I really like the results."
[YEA] 12/24/2011: Tara from Baton Rouge, La: "I'm 24 years old, and I've had dandruff for several years. Often I would get build-ups of cells and scabs on the back of my itchy scalp. I started mixing one part raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar with one part filtered water in a spray bottle and spraying it all over my scalp, massaging briefly, and rinsing before I shampoo. My dandruff was completely gone within the first two treatments and has been gone for months now. I do it a few times a week. Although the smell was hard to handle at first, I'm now in love with apple cider vinegar. It's still not exactly pleasant, but the benefits are so worth the smell and taste, which don't last very long anyway. I use it for many other things, which I'll report later! :)"
[NAY] 08/11/2011: Courtney from Lewisville, Tx: "Ok so I have been keeping up with my treatment of the ACV and water for my scalp, and although the mixture feels really good on my scalp.... My flakes and dandruff have increased a lot! Before the flakes would be somewhat visible but mostly just to me.... Now when I brush my hair my shirt/shoulders are covered! I think this is great for people that it works for, but I just don't think that I am one of those people. I do like how soft my hair is, but the flakes getting worse I just can't handle. I did a spin class at the gym today and when I began to sweat I smelled like vinegar :( Oh well, I guess I am on to another product."
[YEA] 06/16/2011: Natalie from Brooklyn, Ny, Usa: "Thank you so much for this REALLY simple remedy that REALLY works! My head was itching a lot, but I use hairgel and hairspray every day, so I thought it might be that. But to rule out dandruff, I tried this method. I put equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water in an empty hairspray bottle. I then shampooed my hair as usual and rinsed it. Then I sprayed (and poured) the mixture on my head and rubbed it in for about 4 minutes (careful not to get it in your eyes! ). Then I rinsed it out. Then I put in some Tea Tree oil conditioner I found at a nearby healthfood store, and rubbed that into my scalp. I let it sit for another 4 mins or so, then rinsed it out. I did this twice, about 2 days apart, and my head doesn't itch AT ALL anymore! and I still use my same hairgel and hairspray. What a wonderful cure! Thank you Earth Clinic for sharing it!"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 04/27/2011: Wendy from Ontario: "Perhaps the ACV works as a preventative, but Ted's other remedies perhaps have to be applied first to get rid of the dandruff? I use and have for years used ACV (raw with mother in, not pasteurized at the grocery store) full strength in a spritzer I keep in the shower. I only use shampoo about once a month but I do use a hypoallergenic scent free conditioner from the health food store as my hair is very long and curly. I spritz with the apple cider vinegar and always leave it in and on my scalp. Perhaps diluting it would be better? I do notice if I put too much in, then it gets 'heavy' and yes, almost greasy like or filmy and weighs down my curls ;-(
I am going to try the Apple Cider Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Will post back! I have done tea tree oil neat (straight) on my scalp a bunch of times in the past and felt 'freaked' out, can't sleep, wicked headache etc. In my 'brain' area- too strong and too much absorbing into the brain? I haven't the nerve to do it quite like that again, so I will try diluting it. I have added it to our shampoos and stuff when I remember. My dandruff is not 'that bad' visually unless I put my head over a black cloth and scratch really good! LOL Mind you my scalp has been really itchy and burning lately- which could be food allergies but or mites/fungus etc. As spring as arrived... Right on cue! Thanks Ted for all your advice ;=)"
11/24/2010: NC from Noveleta, Cavite: "Yes, I do agree with the dandruff treatment here. I am suffering from moderate dandruff as well. I've tried Nizoral and Selsun Blue but got little success with those. I tried mixing Nizoral with hot cream oil and I was dandruff free for a month. But then Nizoral is quite expensive for my budget so I looked for a substitute.
So I tried mixing hot cream oil and apple cider vinegar and my ordinary shampoo. Apply the mixture onto my scalp for 30 minutes and rinse it thoroughly. Tried this 3 times a week and it works for me."
[YEA] 10/22/2009: Ascha4 from Springfield, Il: "I didn't suffer from severe dandruff or have any scalp conditions but just had bad, very visible dandruff in my brunette hair. I used one application of half acv and half water, and was cured. I also switched to shampoo without any sulfates in it, that helps too for maintenance."
[YEA] 08/20/2009: Noele from Charleston, South Carolina: "I tried the apple cider vinegar for severe dandruff, and was shocked that it worked so well.
I've had terrible dandruff my entire life--I cannot think of a time when I didn't have severe itching and a dry, flaky scalp. I also had little plaques of flakes all over my scalp, and if I scratched them they bled. It was really irritating.
I had tried every single dandruff shampoo and treatment available, and nothing helped AT ALL. I was at my wits end. When I saw the ACV cure here on Earth Clinic, I figured I would try it. Couldn't hurt!
I went to a beauty supply store and bought an 8 ounce hair dye applicator bottle. I filled it with 4 ounces of ACV and 4 ounces of water and shook it to mix the two. Then, in the shower, I washed my hair with an olive oil soap [I had cut out using shampoo, figuring the sulfates were drying out my hair], rinsed, combed out the tangles, and then applied about 2 ounces of the ACV mixture to my hair and scalp. I left it on for a minute or so and then rinsed.
It worked! When I dried my hair, ALL the dandruff was gone. My head didn't itch at all, and my hair was also very soft and shiny. I have continued to use this method for the past month, and the dandruff has never returned.
This stuff is a godsend. I can't believe how well it worked, and it's so inexpensive. Thanks very much, Earth Clinic!"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 08/14/2009: Bernadette from Hong Kong: "I was surprised at the benefits of using apple cider vinegar for the control of dandruff. It is brilliant. My dandruff issue, while not fully cured, is much, much better."
[NAY] 05/11/2009: Rachel from Toronto, Ontario: "Please help! I am sure that apple cider vinegar actually made my scalp much worse and gave me horrible dandruff. I recently stopped using shampoo and instead tried cleaning with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar diluted with water. Dandruff worsened.
So I added tea tree oil and lavendar and still my scalp got worse. Also, I noticed my thick head of hair getting thinner because of hair loss.
I have stopped using baking soda and ACV - and now have to deal with a dry, itchy scalp. At least my hair has stopped falling out."
05/13/2009: Stacey from Greensboro, NC replies: "Hi. I've had a scalp problem for most of my life in which I would get these little pimples on my scalp that would itch horribly. The itching was getting so bad, it was keeping me up a night.
I've tried EVERYTHING, and only two things have ever worked. One was a gel that was actually a circulation stimulant to increase breast size. My logic (because I feel I should explain) was that most topical creams and gels for scalp circulation were oily, but this gel dried well on my scalp and stopped the itching. Unfortunately, this stuff is really expensive, and I honestly think the company stopped making it.
The only other solution that works is to use Head and Shoulders Extra moisturizing shampoo + conditioner. Use this everyday with no other hair product and it will MINIMIZE the problem, though not completely cure it. I've tried other dandruff products with no success. My hair still falls out, though not as bad, and I still get the occasional hormone related scalp flair-up. But, I really mean when I say, use no other product on your scalp or you will have the problem back.
When I have the occasional hormone realted breakout and itch, I apply baking soda directly to my scalp, and within 10 minutes, the itch is bearable enough to get through what I am doing and then take a shower.
I've not yet found a cure, but my life, or at least my sleep, has significantyl improved with doing this. I hope this helps."
05/13/2009: Jay from Greensboro, NC replies: "Stacey,
Try adding 2tbls of sage and 2tbls of rosemary to 8oz of boiling h20. After it cools way down, use this as a final hair rinse. Let me know how it works. okay"
05/14/2009: Jennifer from Mesquite, Tx replies: "Have you thought about oil pulling for this problem...it has helped my skina nd hair in so many ways! I just think its worth trying. Hope you find the solution for this. Jennifer"
05/15/2009: Stacey from Greensboro, NC replies: "Hi Jay, I've tried a rosemary rinse before as well as rosemary oil with no success. I'll give the sage plus the rosemary a shot and let you know. Thanks for the recommendation!"
03/08/2011: Coregon from Medford, Or replies: "Although ACV is a great scalp tonic for dandruff or dry scalp, it doesn't seem to be effective for chronic scalp problems (scalp eruptions, etc. ) I believe that some of these severe chronic scalp problems evolve into bacterial infections from the constant scratching and need something stronger, and more soothing. Colloidal silver and MSM (sulfur.. As Ted recommends) work very effectively for scalp problems. Add a couple ounces of the silver and then put 4 capsules (1000 mg) in an 8 oz bottle of distilled water and use for final rinse. (leave in) You could additionally add these same ingredients to your sulfate free shampoo for faster results. It's also important to get a shower filter, chlorine and other impurities will keep the irritation going."