What is Dandruff: Symptoms, Treatment and Naturally

What is Dandruff: Symptoms, Treatment and Naturally

  • 2023-07-31
  • What is Dandruff, Dandruff Symptoms , Dandruff Treatment, Dandruff Causes

Dandruff is a common scalp condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by the presence of white or greyish flakes on the scalp and hair, often accompanied by itching. While dandruff itself is not a serious medical concern, it can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment for those who experience it. Understanding the causes and effective treatment options for dandruff is essential in managing this condition and achieving a healthier, flake-free scalp.

Table of content

What is Dandruff?

Millions of individuals all around the world suffer from the widespread scalp ailment known as dandruff. It is characterized by the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp in the form of white, flaky particles. These flakes can be visible on the hair, shoulders, and clothing, causing embarrassment and discomfort to those who experience it.

Causes of Dandruff

Dandruff, a common scalp condition, can cause discomfort and embarrassment for many individuals. Understanding the causes of dandruff is crucial in developing an effective dandruff treatment plan. 

Malassezia Fungus Overgrowth: Dandruff often occurs due to the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia on the scalp. This fungus feeds on the natural oils produced by our hair follicles, leading to irritation and excessive shedding of dead skin cells, which appear as white flakes.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by red, inflamed, and oily skin. In cases where it affects the scalp, dandruff may develop. The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is still unknown, but factors like genetics, stress, and certain medical conditions may contribute to its development.

Dry Scalp: A lack of moisture in the scalp can lead to dry skin, causing dandruff. Cold weather, excessive use of harsh shampoos, and frequent hot water showers can strip the scalp of its natural oils, leading to flakiness.

Sensitivity to Hair Care Products: Some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients in hair care products like shampoos, conditioners, or hair styling products. This sensitivity can trigger an inflammatory response, resulting in dandruff.

Poor Hair Hygiene: Inadequate or infrequent washing of the hair can lead to the accumulation of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells on the scalp, creating an environment conducive to dandruff development.

Diet and Nutrition: While the direct link between diet and dandruff remains uncertain, certain dietary deficiencies, such as a lack of zinc, B vitamins, or omega-3 fatty acids, may influence scalp health and contribute to dandruff.

Symptoms of Dandruff

Millions of individuals all around the world suffer from the widespread scalp ailment known as dandruff. It exhibits the symptoms listed below:

White or yellow flakes: The most apparent sign of dandruff is the presence of white or yellowish flakes on the scalp and hair. These flakes may be visible on clothing, especially when brushing or scratching the scalp.

Itchy scalp: Dandruff can lead to an itchy and irritated scalp. Constant scratching can worsen the condition and even cause small red patches on the scalp.

Dry scalp: People with dandruff often experience dryness of the scalp, making it more susceptible to flaking.

Greasy scalp: Surprisingly, some individuals with dandruff may notice a greasy or oily scalp due to excessive production of sebum, the skin's natural oil.

Scalp redness: The presence of dandruff can lead to inflammation of the scalp, resulting in redness in some cases.

How to Get Rid of Dandruff?

Permanently getting rid of dandruff can be challenging for some individuals, but there are several effective strategies you can adopt to minimize and control it. Keep in mind that individual results may vary, and it's essential to be consistent with your chosen approach. Here are some tips to help you manage dandruff:

Use Medicated Shampoos: Start your dandruff-fighting regimen with medicated shampoos containing active ingredients like ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc, selenium sulphide, or coal tar. These ingredients combat the root cause of dandruff by controlling the yeast responsible for flaky scalp conditions. Use the shampoo at least twice a week for effective results.

Natural Remedies: Incorporate natural remedies into your hair care routine to nourish your scalp and reduce dandruff. Tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can alleviate itchiness and flaking. Regularly apply these natural treatments to your scalp to see significant improvements.

Brush and Exfoliate: Regularly brush your hair to remove loose flakes and distribute the scalp's natural oils. Additionally, exfoliate your scalp gently to eliminate dead skin cells that contribute to dandruff formation. Use a soft-bristled brush or a dedicated scalp exfoliation tool to avoid scalp irritation.

Maintain a Healthy Diet: A balanced diet plays a crucial role in scalp health. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (B, C, and E), and zinc to promote a healthy scalp environment. These nutrients nourish your hair follicles and help combat dandruff from within.

Manage Stress: Believe it or not, stress can worsen dandruff. Engage in stress-relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, or hobbies to reduce stress levels. Managing stress can help prevent dandruff flare-ups and promote overall well-being.

Avoid Harsh Hair Products: Certain hair products can exacerbate dandruff by irritating the scalp. Avoid using harsh styling products, excessive hairspray, or gels with high alcohol content. Opt for gentle, scalp-friendly products that are labelled as "dandruff-control" or "scalp-soothing."

Regular Scalp Massages: Regular scalp massages improve blood circulation and promote a healthy scalp environment.Every day for a few minutes, softly massage your scalp in circular strokes using your fingertips. This simple practice can reduce dandruff and make your hair healthier.

How to Remove Dandruff Naturally?

It can be uncomfortable and unsightly to deal with dandruff. Instead of resorting to expensive commercial products, why not try these 10 easy and effective dandruff remedies at home? These natural solutions can help you achieve a healthy, flake-free scalp without breaking the bank. 

Tea Tree Oil Treatment: Tea tree oil's natural antifungal and antibacterial properties can combat dandruff-causing yeast on the scalp. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil (like coconut or olive oil) and gently massage it into your scalp. Let it sit for the entire night for the best results.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: Apple cider vinegar helps restore the scalp's pH balance, reducing dandruff. After shampooing, massage your scalp with a solution made of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Rinse thoroughly after a few minutes.

Aloe Vera Soothing Gel: Aloe vera's soothing and hydrating properties can alleviate itchiness and irritation associated with dandruff. Your scalp should be treated with fresh aloe vera gel. After 30 minutes, rinse it off.

Lemon Juice Therapy: Lemon juice's citric acid helps exfoliate the scalp, removing dead skin cells and reducing dandruff. Mix fresh lemon juice with water and apply it to your scalp. Before rinsing, leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes.

Baking Soda Scalp Scrub: Baking soda's gentle exfoliating action can help remove excess flakes and control dandruff. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste and massage it into your scalp. Rinse thoroughly after a few minutes.

Yogurt Hair Mask: Yogurt contains probiotics that can promote a healthy scalp and reduce dandruff. Apply plain yogurt to your scalp and hair, leave it on for 30 minutes, and then rinse it off with a mild shampoo.

Neem Leaf Paste: Neem leaves possess powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties that can tackle dandruff at its source. Grind neem leaves with water to form a paste and apply it to your scalp. After 30 minutes, wash it off with water.

Coconut Oil Massage: Coconut oil's moisturizing properties can nourish the scalp and reduce dandruff. Apply warm coconut oil and gently massage your scalp. After leaving it on all night, shampoo your hair the next morning.

Fenugreek Seed Infusion: Fenugreek seeds are rich in antioxidants and can help combat dandruff. Fenugreek seeds should be soaked in water overnight and then ground into a paste. Apply the paste to your scalp, leave it on for 30 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

Rosemary Essential Oil Treatment: Rosemary essential oil improves circulation and stimulates hair follicles, promoting a healthy scalp and reducing dandruff. Massage your scalp with a mixture of carrier oil and a few drops of rosemary essential oil. Before washing your hair, let it sit for at least 30 minutes.


Treating dandruff effectively requires a combination of good hair care practices, proper hygiene, and targeted products. Regularly washing your hair with a mild shampoo and using anti-dandruff formulations can help reduce flakes and soothe the scalp. Avoiding hot water and excessive use of hair products can maintain the natural balance of oils on the scalp. Additionally, a well-balanced diet and stress management can contribute to overall scalp health.

Frequently Asked Questions (Dandruff)


Q: What is the main cause of dandruff?
The main cause of dandruff is often attributed to a combination of factors, with the most common one being an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia on the scalp. This fungus is naturally present on the scalp, but in some individuals, it can become excessive and lead to dandruff. Other factors that may contribute to dandruff include an oily scalp, dry skin, sensitivity to hair care products, and certain skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis.

Q: How can I remove dandruff from my hair?
To remove dandruff from your hair, you can follow these steps: Use an anti-dandruff shampoo, Wash your hair regularly, Avoid excessive use of hair products, Maintain a healthy diet, Manage stress.

Q: How to remove dandruff naturally?
If you prefer natural remedies, there are several options you can try to remove dandruff: Apple cider vinegar, Tea tree oil, Aloe vera, Lemon juice, Baking soda. Remember that natural remedies may not work for everyone, and some people may experience skin sensitivity or irritation. 

Q: Can I get rid of dandruff permanently?
While it's challenging to get rid of dandruff permanently for everyone, you can manage and control it effectively through consistent hair care practices and the use of appropriate anti-dandruff products. Regularly using anti-dandruff shampoos and following a healthy scalp care routine can significantly reduce dandruff symptoms. However, keep in mind that dandruff may recur over time, especially if you have predisposing factors like an oily scalp or skin conditions.

Q: Why is dandruff harmful?
Dandruff itself is not harmful in a medical sense; it is primarily a cosmetic issue and doesn't pose any serious health risks. However, dandruff can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for those experiencing it. It can lead to an itchy scalp, dryness, and visible flakes, which can be socially distressing.

Share the post

About Author

Dr. Nisha Sharma

Studied at Red Roses Sr. Sec. School, D-Block, Arya Samaj Mandir; she has established herself into a renowned personality. She received her degrees (both BDS and MDS) in dentistry. She received her fellowship at the Pierre Fauchard Academy (FPFA). She has also received her certifications for full mouth rehabilitation and cosmetic dentistry. Currently, she practices her medicine of dentistry at Dr. Chopra Dental Clinic in Ramesh Nagar, Delhi.

Comments ( 1)

  • Mansi

    Thanks for the valuable information.

    2023-01-05 00:00:00

Leave Comment