Dandruff is a pesky problem that can attack almost everyone! From adults to children, everyone can be a victim of this scalp disorder. If unbearable itching is one side of the issue, the embarrassing white scales falling over your shoulder is another! Before you slather your scalp with harsh chemical products, we recommend you try these safe Home Remedies for Dandruff!

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Along with that, we shall also guide you on why your scalp is prone to dandruff and what triggers this problem, along with types and stages. Gaining an understanding of this can lower the chances of flaking in the future. So, if you are keen on attaining a squeaky clean, flake-free scalp, read along with us!

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a scalp condition in which scaly patches appear on the upper layer of skin. It is caused by a fungus called Malassezia and involves noticeable symptoms like white flakes, itching and inflammation (1). Along with the scalp, if this problem impacts other areas of the body like eyebrows, chest or eyelids, it is called Seborrheic Dermatitis.

What Causes of Dandruff?

It is a misconception to state that dandruff is caused due to poor hygiene. Instead, it is caused by numerous factors like lifestyle, diet, products and medical conditions. Here are the main culprits behind this flakey problem:

Microbial Factors:

1. Yeast Infections: One of the main reasons for dandruff is a type of fungus called Malassezia. They thrive on the sebum of our scalps and break it down into Oleic acids. If you have a sensitivity to this by-product ie., Oleic acid, the cell growth doubles up to remove the irritant. This leads to dead flakes on the scalp, called Dandruff (2)

2. Bacterial Invasions: Recent studies show that bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis are the greatest contributors to dandruff than fungus. The imbalance in the levels of the organism causes white flakes on the scalp (3).

Other Factors:

3. Scalp conditions: If your scalp falls in either ‘too oily’ or ‘too dry’ types, the likelihood of dandruff increases.

4. Irregular Shampooing: Not washing your hair regularly can leave your scalp clogged with unwanted impurities, dead cells, and excess oils. This can form a perfect environment for the organisms to grow and multiply.

5. Stress: Stress is an in-direct contributor to Dandruff. Feelings of anxiety and nervousness can weaken your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight foreign invasions.

6. Sensitivity to Products: If your scalp is allergic to haircare products, there is a high likelihood of falling prey to dandruff. Also, product buildup on the scalp can clog pores, leading to scalp infections and flakes.

Types of Dandruff:

There are two major types of dandruff, each caused by a specific condition of the scalp. Learning about these will help you take the right action to treat your problem.

1. Dry Dandruff:

It is caused by the depletion of moisture levels on the scalp, which leads to greyish-white flakes on the scalp. In this itchy condition, the scales keep falling all over the shoulder, whenever you scratch your head or brush your hair.

2. Oily Dandruff:

This dandruff is caused when the scalp produces excess sebum, which reacts with the yeast residing on the scalp’s skin. The result is greasy, sticky, and mild yellowish-coloured flakes which can form a layer on the scalp. To get quick relief from these symptoms, you must only use a product specially designed for the condition.

Is Dandruff Treatable?

Dandruff is not a dangerous problem and will not pose any significant health hazards. It is treatable if you take corrective measures at the right time. This includes,

  • Identifying the symptoms of dandruff.
  • Diagnosing the type of dandruff.
  • Choosing the right shampoo, lotion, or hair care product for your condition.
  • Using home remedies to control the growth of yeast on the scalp.

10 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Dandruff:

There are many ways to treat dandruff, with natural methods being the safest option. These procedures are made with everyday ingredients to offer quick relief from itchiness. We recommend you try these first, before moving on to harsh chemical products. Read along to learn about each of them in detail:

1. Lemon for Dandruff:

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Lemon is one of the potent home remedies for dandruff. The citric acid in lemon helps the scalp skin to restore its pH level. This helps in controlling oil production on the scalp to inhibit the growth of yeast cells. Lemon is also a rich source of Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals that cause oxidative damage and encourage the formation of healthy scalp skin. Adding coconut oil, which is a natural anti-fungal agent can increase the efficiency of lemon juice.

To Use Lemon for Dandruff,

You Will Need:

  • Lemon Juice – a few drops.
  • Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp.

Preparation Time: 2 Minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Mix Lemon Juice with Coconut Oil.
  • Apply it evenly on the affected areas.
  • Massage well for 2-3 minutes.
  • Leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Use a mild anti-dandruff shampoo to wash off the residue.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water.

How Often Should I Use: Twice or Thrice a week?

2. Fenugreek To Remove Dandruff:

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Fenugreek is an age-old anti-dandruff natural remedy known to many Indians. According to a study, a topical application of germinated fenugreek seeds was found to be very effective in bringing down the growth of Malassezia Furfur (4). These seeds also contain Lecithin, which is an essential fat that can hydrate your scalp and strengthen the hair follicles. The high amounts of amino acids in Fenugreek can prevent dryness and hair fall due to dandruff.

To use Fenugreek for Dandruff,

You Will Need:

  • Soaked Fenugreek Seeds: ½ Cup.
  • Lemon Juice: 2 tbsp.

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes (excluding overnight soak).

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Grind the overnight soaked fenugreek seeds with a little water.
  • Add lemon juice and mix well.
  • Section your scalp and apply it evenly on the affected areas.
  • Leave it on for 45 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water, without leaving any traces of the product on your scalp.

How Often Should I Do This? Once a week.

[ Read More: How to Use Fenugreek for Dandruff ]

3. Yoghurt to Get Rid of Dandruff:

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Another commonly used home remedy for dandruff is Curd or Yoghurt. This dairy product is very effective in controlling the inflammation on the scalp and offers soothing relief from itchiness. Although there is no solid evidence to prove that Curd cures Dandruff, experts believe that it could be the presence of Lactic acid which breaks down the dead cells and clarifies your scalp skin. Curd can also smoothen your hair and nourish your follicles by preventing dryness.

Here’s how to use this natural remedy for Dandruff:

You Will Need:

  • Curd – 1 cup.
  • Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp.

Preparation Time: 2 Minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Mix curd and lemon juice to form a smooth paste.
  • Apply it evenly on your scalp.
  • Leave it for 20-25 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with a mild cleanser.
  • Wash off with water.

How Often Should I Do This? Once a week.

NOTE: If you have a very dry scalp, avoid using lemon juice.

4. Baking Soda for Dandruff:

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Baking Soda is often used as a cheaper alternative to medicated anti-dandruff formulas. It is a drying agent that can absorb excess sebum on the scalp to leave it squeaky clean. Baking Soda also has anti-septic properties to control infections caused by microbes (5). However, you also need to know the hazards of using this agent. Experts suggest that excessive use of Baking soda on hair can cause brittleness.

Here’s one way to use Baking Soda for Dandruff.

Things You Need:

  • Baking Soda – 2-3 tbsp.
  • Lukewarm water – 1 Cup.

Preparation Time: 2 Minutes.

How to Prepare and Use?

  • Mix baking soda with lukewarm water to form a smooth paste.
  • Apply it all over the affected area on the scalp.
  • Leave it for 5-10 minutes.
  • Shampoo with a gentle hair cleanser, followed by a conditioner.

How Often Should I Do: Once or twice a month.

NOTE: Always do a patch test of the Baking soda mask before applying it to a larger area. If you experience irritation or a burning sensation, avoid this remedy.

5. Multani Mitti for Dandruff:

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Multani Mitti or Fuller’s Earth is a natural clay with oil-absorbing properties. It can soak in excess sebum, dirt, and impurities that increase your chances of dandruff. This agent can also offer a cooling sensation on the scalp to get immediate relief from itchiness and irritation. Multani Mitti is also known to improve blood circulation for better oxygen supply to your follicles and strengthen them from within.

To Use Multani Mitti for dandruff,

You Will Need:

  • Multani Mitti – 1 Cup.
  • Lemon Juice – 3-4 tbsp.
  • Water – To Mix.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Make a thin paste with Multani Mitti, Lemon juice, and water.
  • Apply it all over the scalp.
  • Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  • Wash with a mild cleanser.
  • Rinse with water.

How Often Should I Do This? Once or twice a week.

NOTE: If you have a dry scalp, replace lemon juice with aloe vera or olive oil.

6. Aloe Vera for Dandruff:

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Aloe vera is an excellent natural solution for getting rid of dandruff. According to a study, Aloe vera is loaded with many anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents which prevent the multiplication of yeast or bacterial cells (6). The anti-inflammatory properties of this ingredient can aid in better wound healing to offer quick relief (7). Aloe has high water content and proteolytic enzymes, which can prevent dry dandruff by keeping your scalp moisturized.

Follow these steps to use Aloe for Dandruff.

Things You Need:

  • Natural Aloe vera Gel – 1 Cup.
  • Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Add lemon juice to freshly extracted aloe vera gel.
  • Blend it well to prevent lumps.
  • Apply this mixture evenly on the scalp.
  • Leave it on for 25-30 minutes.
  • Wash off a mild hair cleanser and rinse with water.

How Often Should I Do This: 1-2 times per week.

[ Read More: How to Use Aloe Vera for Dandruff ]

7. Tree Tea Oil for Dandruff:

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Tea tree oil is a powerful solution that can treat even the most stubborn dandruff. According to a study, Tea tree oil contains many anti-fungal properties, which have a strong effect on a particular fungus called P Ovale, which causes dandruff (8). The same study states that using a 5% tea tree oil shampoo has shown significant improvement in the reduction of scales and oily scalp. You can also use a diluted version of pure tea tree essential oil to achieve similar benefits.

To do that,

You Will Need:

  • Tea Tree Oil – 3-4 Drops.
  • Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp.

Preparation Time: 2 minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Mix tea tree oil with coconut oil.
  • Apply it all over the scalp.
  • Leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash it thoroughly using a mild anti-dandruff cleanser.
  • Rinse with water.

8. Olive Oil for Dandruff:

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Olive oil is an excellent home remedy for treating dry dandruff. While it does not treat the problem directly, it works as a vehicle to support other anti-dandruff ingredients like lemon, curd, etc. Even studies suggest that Olive oil enhances the efficacy of many herbal agents like honey, eggs, and castor oil to treat scalp-related disorders (9). Applying it directly on the scalp can reduce split ends, dryness, and hair fall.

Here’s one of the best home remedies for dandruff:

You Will Need:

  • Olive Oil – 3 tbsp.
  • Honey – 2 tbsp.

Preparation Method: 2 mins.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Mix honey with olive oil.
  • Apply it evenly on the dandruff-infested scalp.
  • Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with a mild cleanser and water.

How Often Should I Do This? Twice a week.

9. Camphor and Coconut Oil:

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A simple, yet effective ayurvedic remedy for dandruff is Camphor-infused coconut oil. Coconut oil contains powerful antifungal agents to prevent yeast infections. It is also an excellent moisturizer due to its emollient properties to treat the dry and flaky scalp. According to a study, adding camphor to any anti-dandruff application can temporarily reduce scalp pruritus, a scalp disorder associated with Sebbohreic dermatitis (10)

Here’s how to prepare and use this natural remedy at home:

Things You Need:

  • Coconut Oil – 1 cup.
  • Pure Camphor – 1-2 tablets.

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • In a bowl, warm some coconut oil on low heat.
  • Add camphor to the hot oil and turn off the flame.
  • Leave it for 3-4 minutes to completely dissolve.
  • Once ready, apply it all over the scalp.
  • Massage well for 5 minutes.
  • Leave it overnight for better results.
  • Wash it off the next morning using a mild shampoo.

How Often Should I Do This? Twice a week.

[ Read More: Coconut Oil to Treat Dandruff ]

10. Apple Cider Vinegar:

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Apple Cider Vinegar is often hailed as an elixir for treating dandruff. It is an acidic substance that can balance the pH of your scalp to prevent the malfunction of sebaceous glands. ACV is also a powerful antiseptic agent which kills infection-causing microbes that lead to scalp problems. Experts also opine that the AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids present in ACV can treat inflammation in the scalp and restore its health. It is also an excellent cleansing agent which can remove product build-ups and dissolve the dead cells and impurities on your scalp.

To use ACV for dandruff,

You Will Need:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 2 tbsp.
  • Water – 1 Cup.

Preparation Time: 2 Minutes.

How to Prepare and Use:

  • Add ACV to a cup of water.
  • Now wash your hair with a mild cleanser.
  • As the last step, use the diluted ACV to rinse your hair.
  • Do not wash it any further.

How Often Should I Do This? Twice a week.

Additional Tips to Prevent Dandruff at Home:

Along with using the home remedies mentioned above, you must also follow these important tips to reduce occurrences of dandruff in the future:

  • Take a balanced diet rich in Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin C, B6, and other nutrients to strengthen your immune system. This acts as your body’s first line of defence against infections.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals, and pore-clogging products like creams and oils on your scalp. These increase the likelihood of dandruff attacks.
  • Wash your hair with a mild anti-dandruff shampoo at least once or twice weekly. Ensure that your scalp is clean and free from impurities.
  • Never apply conditioner to your scalp or roots. The greasy formula sits on the skin and may trigger an eruption.
  • Wrap a cotton stole or scarf around your mane to prevent dust and pollution from sitting on your scalp
  • If home remedies do not work, try going for drugstore medicated shampoos that contain Salicylic acid, Zinc Pyrithione, etc. They are usually safe and effective.
  • If symptoms persist, visit a dermatologist to seek expert treatment.

Signs That Your Dandruff Is Under Control:

To test if your scalp is responding to the anti-dandruff home remedies, you can watch out for these signs:

  • Less itchiness on the scalp than before.
  • Decrease the severity of flakes and dead skin.
  • Controlled sebum on the scalp.
  • Redness and inflammation are under control.

Final Thoughts:

If you have noticed these results, then it is a clear indication that you are on the right path. Dandruff can be easily treated if you identify and take timely action. Unless it is very severe, where you need medical help, most cases of dandruff can be treated at home. You must follow the remedies and tips regularly to notice a visible difference and permanently get rid of the “flakey” problem!


About Suvarna

Suvarna is a freelance content writer with over 8 years of professional writing experience. She specialized in developing research-based content on Beauty, Skin, and Hair Care. Suvarna believes that beauty is one of the key factors for every personality. She always strives to bring more authenticity and credibility to her articles.