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Dandruff is often regarded as a sign of bad hygiene, causing a crisis of confidence in young people. However, the truth is that it is a very common and obstinate condition, affecting a wide range of the population. 

It usually occurs due to an underlying skin condition; most common fungal infections or allergies and could be really difficult to get rid of.

If you too are tired of that itching in your scalp and want to don your favourite black dress without worrying about scalp flakes, read on to know some easy and effective solutions to get rid of dandruff forever.

  1. What causes dandruff?
  2. How to get rid of dandruff?
  3. How often should you use anti dandruff shampoo?
  4. Precautions to take while using medicated shampoo
  5. When to see a doctor?

Before jumping into the solutions of this condition, let's know a little about its causes so that it would be easier for you to understand the reasons behind dandruff on your scalp and how to get rid of it.

Skin from all parts of your body sheds its topmost layer and regenerates without being noticed. Scalp skin also follows the same rhythm. However, when this rhythm gets disturbed, shedding of skin increases and you get to see the appearance of flakes on your scalp.

Some conditions that may be responsible for dandruff are:

  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis: It is the most common cause of dandruff in the general population and is caused by excessive growth of yeast or fungus on the skin. Due to this, your skin becomes red, scaly and itchy, leading to the production of yellow or white flakes on scalp, face and other areas of the body. When the same problem occurs in infants or babies, it is called cradle cap.
  • Tinea capitis: This is a fungal infection of the scalp that causes dandruff. It is also known as scalp ringworm.
  • Eczema: It is an inflammatory condition of the skin, making it dry, red, itchy and flaky.
  • Psoriasis: This condition similar to eczema in appearance, producing dry, red itchy flakes over the affected area.
  • Contact dermatitis: This is an allergic condition caused due to exposure to some allergens like hairspray, dye or creams.
  • Poor hygiene: It is not directly associated with causation of dandruff, but if you don't wash your hair for a long interval, it will cause accumulation of dirt and dead cells leading to dandruff.

After reading all the causes for dandruff you may have developed a vague idea about its production. Now let’s move on to some easy and natural ways to get rid of this condition. 

Home remedies for dandruff

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is produced from apples by the process of fermentation. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which makes it effective in eradicating dandruff from your scalp if used regularly. Furthermore, the acidic content of this vinegar makes it hard for yeast to grow on your scalp. Here is how you can use apple cider vinegar to get rid of dandruff:


  • 1 quarter cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 quarter cup of water


  • Mix both the ingredients in a mug or bowl
  • Apply it all over your scalp and other affected areas, if any
  • Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Rinse it thoroughly with cold water

How frequently you should do it?

  • Apply this twice a week to clear all dandruff from your scalp


Lemon is rich in ascorbic acid or vitamin C. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can utilize all these benefits of lemon juice to get a dandruff free scalp Just follow the given method to banish your obdurate dandruff:


  • ½ lemon
  • A bowl


  • Take the lemon and squeeze it to extract the juice out of it in the bowl
  • Apply it all over your scalp with the help of a cotton pad
  • Leave it for 30 minutes and then shampoo your hair


  • You could also mix lemon juice with some hair oil like coconut oil or almond oil. Just apply the mixture on your scalp, leave it for at least 2 hours and shampoo afterwards.
  • Another way of using lemon is after shampooing. Use regular shampoo, then give your hair a final rinse with a mug of water mixed with lemon juice.

How often should you do it?

  • Repeat this twice a week until you get a dandruff free scalp

Egg hair mask

An egg is a rich source of dietary protein, using it for your hair will help you to clear dandruff. Furthermore,  it will give you that shiny and lustrous mane that you have always desired. Who doesn't want a bonus, eh? Let’s learn how you could make the best use of eggs for your scalp and hair:


  • 1 or 2 eggs, depending upon the length and volume of your hair
  • A bowl
  • Lemon juice (optional)


  • Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk it thoroughly, add lemon to it
  • Apply it to your scalp and hair
  • Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes, no more than that, otherwise, it will be difficult for you to wash it out
  • Rinse it and wash your hair with a regular shampoo


  • You could use yogurt or curd or honey to your egg hair mask. This will enhance its potential to combat dandruff

How frequently you should do it?

  • Apply this hair mask twice a week until your dandruff goes away.

Baking soda

Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate. This is a common item that can be found in every household. It is often used for various cooking purposes but did you know that it could help you to fight dandruff too? Well, now you know. Baking soda halts the growth of fungi on your scalp, thus preventing it from producing flakes. Moving further let's quickly reveal how to use it on the scalp?


  • Two tablespoons of baking soda


  • Wet your hair thoroughly with water
  •  Take adequate amount of baking soda and rub it over your scalp
  • Leave it for few minutes and rinse thoroughly

How often you need to do this?

  • You can apply this every time before shampooing your hair. After a few weeks of repetition, your dandruff will hopefully go away


Aspirin is basically a pain reliever but it can also be a great ingredient for combating dandruff. You must be wondering how a pain killer could get rid of dandruff. The reason behind this is that aspirin contains salicylic acid, a key ingredient found in various anti-dandruff shampoos. Salicylic acid helps in reducing flakes, prevents excess oil production and reduces inflammation of the scalp. So, it could be a useful alternative for you to eradicate flakes from your scalp. Here is how to use aspirin for scalp:


  • Take two tablets of aspirin


  • Crush the tablets to form a powder
  • Mix it with your regular shampoo to wash your hair

How often should you use it?

  • As long as your scalp is producing flakes, use this aspirin mixed shampoo to wash your hair


Garlic is rich in sulphur compounds and selenium, which provide it with potent antifungal properties. Hence, it could be one of the key ingredients that might help you to get rid of your stubborn dandruff. Here is what you need to do in order to get its benefits:


  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of honey


  • Crush garlic cloves and mix them with honey
  • Apply the mixture on your scalp and leave it for 5 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly with your regular shampoo

How frequently you should use this?

  • Repeat this twice a week to banish all dandruff from your scalp

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from the tea tree. Along with its divine smell, it's loaded with various medicinal properties. This oil has proven antifungal activity, which is definitely helpful for your dandruff treatment. You can get its benefits in two ways:

  • There are shampoos available in the market with 5% tea tree oil as one of the main ingredients. You could buy these shampoo to wash your hair regularly
  • Another way is to mix 5% tea tree oil to your regular hair oil, like coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil and massage your hair with this concoction to get rid of stubborn dandruff permanently

Anti dandruff shampoo

If natural remedies are not working for you or you are someone who doesn't have time to make all the efforts to prepare the remedies, you can still get rid of dandruff easily. There are various shampoos available in drugstores, that contain some key anti-dandruff chemical compounds to help alleviate the underlying causes of dandruff and provide you respite from the flaky scalp.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is one of the key ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos, usually used in a concentration of 2%. Salicylic acid suppresses excess proliferation of keratinocytes (a type of hair cells) thereby reducing production of scales and flakes on the scalp. In a comparative study that was done to assess the effectiveness of salicylic acid and zinc pyrithione against dandruff, salicylic acid won the battle emphatically. So, next time when you are going to buy anti-dandruff shampoo, make sure you check the ingredients list.


Ketoconazole is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent that is indicated in several fungal diseases. Since dandruff is usually caused by a fungal infection, this chemical compound could help you to fight against it. 2% ketoconazole is usually incorporated in anti-dandruff shampoos and hair lotions. Often it is used for a few weeks, repeated 2 to 3 times a week to get rid of all dandruff. It can also be used prophylactically once in a week to prevent dandruff from recurring. However, there is one caveat; you should never apply ketoconazole containing products on irritated, broken or cut skin.

Sulfur and Selenium

Sulphur is another key ingredient that you might see patently if you go through the section of anti-dandruff shampoos in a drug store. Sulfur is a non-metallic element that inhibits excess production of flakes. It also antimicrobial activity when used in a concentration of 5%. However, the antimicrobial action of this element is mediated by the normal skin flora, which covert it to pantothenic acid.

Usually, sulfur is mixed with selenium to extend its range of action as the later is also an antifungal agent. Selenium sulfide is used in the concentration of 1% to bring out anti-dandruff action efficaciously. This combination reduces both itching and flaking of scalp along with decreasing the chances of recurrence of dandruff.

Zinc pyrithione

This is a commonly found ingredient in over the counter products and also incorporated in many non medicated anti-dandruff shampoos that you would find in beauty or general store. Zinc pyrithione is usually applied in a concentration of 1% when used as an antidandruff agent. It has a strong capability to inhibit excess oil and scales production thus preventing dust accumulation and providing relief from dandruff.

This depends on how severe your dandruff is. Usually, anti-dandruff shampoo is used 2 to 3 times a week and continued for a few weeks. You could also use anti-dandruff shampoo to prevent dandruff from reoccurring by using it once a week or alternatively with your regular shampoo.

  • All medicated anti-dandruff shampoos are meant for external applications only
  • Make sure that these preparations do not come in contact with your eyes. In case a solution contacts your eyes rinse immediately and thoroughly
  • Avoid exposure of cut, broken or irritated skin to any over the counter preparation
  • If you develop itching or rashes, stop using the product and seek medical consultation
  • If the condition does not improve after the use of the above remedies or products for 2 to 3 weeks. However, some home remedies may take a longer time to show results
  • You develop thick and flaky patches on the scalp
  • You develop rashes on scalp, neck or forehead


  1. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Dandruff and itching scalp
  2. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Dandruff.
  3. Abdel Naser Zaid et al. Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine . BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17: 355. PMID: 28679382
  4. Biljana Bauer Petrovska, Svetlana Cekovska. Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic . Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jan-Jun; 4(7): 106–110. PMID: 22228949
  5. C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer, T. V. Riley. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties . Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1): 50–62. PMID: 16418522
  6. S Ranganathan, T Mukhopadhyay. DANDRUFF: THE MOST COMMERCIALLY EXPLOITED SKIN DISEASE . Indian J Dermatol. 2010 Apr-Jun; 55(2): 130–134. PMID: 20606879
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