Dandruff can be embarrassing as well as uncomfortable. It is caused by the overproduction of yeast on the scalp, which leads to an itchy, scaly, flaky scalp. Dandruff is more common in the winter, when the cold weather and indoor heating cause dryness and irritation on the scalp. However, dandruff can be a year-round problem for some people.
Getting rid of dandruff isn't always easy if you have aggressive dandruff or if it's a year-round problem. You can try natural remedies and home remedies to treat and control dandruff, rather than constantly reaching for dandruff shampoo that tends to strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle.
What Really Is Dandruff?
In the past, dandruff was thought to be due to a fungus, but we now know that it's caused by a yeast (Malassezia) that feeds on the scalp and excretes an oily and flaky waste product. The flaking is what we see as dandruff.
Dandruff is more common in people with oily hair, which is why some people think that dandruff is caused by excess oil. However, dandruff is actually caused by the overgrowth of yeast on the scalp, which is why it's better to use an anti-dandruff shampoo instead of an anti-oil shampoo.
What Causes Dandruff?
There are several factors that are known to cause or aggravate dandruff, including:
Dry Skin — Dry skin is one of the main causes of dandruff. When your skin is dry, it tends to flake, and the flakes rise to the surface of the skin, where they stick to your hair and scalp, giving you dandruff.
Hormonal Changes — Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy, menopause, and puberty, can cause dandruff. This is because hormonal changes can trigger the overproduction of yeast, which causes dandruff.
Harsh Chemicals — Harsh chemicals, such as those found in shampoos, hair sprays, and other hair products, can irritate the skin and scalp, causing dandruff.
Diet — Diet is another factor in the development of dandruff. Yeast feeds on sugar and starches, so you are more likely to develop dandruff if your diet is high in sugar and starch. The same goes with your hair products, if they have too much sugar, it can aggravate dandruff.
Stress — Stress can cause or aggravate dandruff. As you know, stress can wreak havoc on the immune system, and the immune system affects the yeast population on the scalp, leading to dandruff.
Can Coconut Oil Cure Dandruff?
Yes! Coconut oil is one of the best-known natural remedies for dandruff. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known to inhibit the growth of yeast. It also contains capric acid, caprylic acid, and myristic acid, which are antifungal agents that are effective against the yeast that causes dandruff. Coconut oil also contains antimicrobial fatty acids that help prevent the growth of bacteria on the scalp.
In addition to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, coconut oil is also a very effective moisturizer that can help get rid of dandruff once and for all. Rub a small amount of coconut oil into your scalp and let it soak in for a few hours before rinsing it out. This treatment can be done once a week.
If you have dandruff but you don't want to deal with the mess of an oil treatment, then you can simply use coconut oil in your daily hair or skin care routine. Coconut oil is great for the scalp, especially if you have dry skin. It can be used in homemade shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products, or it can be directly applied to the scalp to moisturize.
If you'd like to opt for a less oily solution, look for a shampoo that has coconut oil as one of its main ingredients. Alternatively, you can make your own coconut oil shampoo at home.
Coconut Oil Dandruff Shampoo Recipe
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (Melt it over the stove)
- 1/2 cup water
- 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)
Heat the coconut oil until it melts. Mix with warm water. Combine all of the ingredients in a bottle and shake well. Apply to your scalp and massage gently. Rinse thoroughly. Coconut oil will solidify in the bottle again, so don’t make too much!
Other Dandruff Treatments
Dandruff medications are the most effective way to treat dandruff. They work by reducing the amount of yeast on the scalp, which in turn reduces the amount of dandruff.
Medications include ketoconazole (Nizoral), selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders), and zinc pyrithione (Head and Shoulders). However, like most medications, these can have side effects, such as redness and irritation. They can also discolor your hair.
2. Harsh Shampoos
The most common treatment is the use of medicated dandruff shampoos, which are very effective at treating dandruff. However, they are generally very harsh on the hair, which is why it's best to limit their use. You can use them occasionally to get rid of a dandruff flare-up, but using them every day will strip your hair of its natural oils and make it dry and brittle.
3. Shampoos with Oils
Shampoos made with natural oils such as coconut oil and jojoba oil are excellent at treating dandruff. It's best to use these shampoos after you shampoo and leave them on the scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
4. Other Natural Remedies
Eliminating stress and getting enough exercise and sleep can help reduce dandruff. You can also use apple cider vinegar or a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water as a hair rinse after shampooing.
Use a gentle exfoliator or a scrub to remove dead skin cells from the scalp. This can reduce the buildup of yeast and improve the condition of your scalp.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also use apple cider vinegar to treat and prevent dandruff. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water and use this on your scalp after shampooing. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing, and then rinse your hair with water.
Conclusion: Should You Use Coconut Oil for Dandruff?
Coconut oil is an excellent treatment for dandruff because it contains anti-fungal properties that can help kill the yeast that is causing your dandruff.
Coconut oil also contains fatty acids that can help nourish your hair and keep it strong and healthy. Coconut oil is a good choice if you have dry, brittle hair.
A Word of Caution — Coconut oil can be hard to wash out of your hair, which means that you need to be careful about how much you use. While a bit of coconut oil can give your hair a nice sheen and help control dandruff, too much coconut oil can leave your hair looking greasy and flat.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.