Dry Scalp / Psoriasis / Seborrheic Dermatitis
Dandruff is not life threatening or even a serious health concern, but it can cause damage to your selfesteem. Skin cells on the scalp generally die and fall off every month or so, which rejuvenates the scalp. But in cases of dandruff, the skin cells turnover at an accelerated rate, resulting in the unsightly white flakes in your hair and on your shoulders. Certain types of dandruff itch and the scalp can be irritated.
What Causes Dandruff?
Dandruff is usually caused by a fungus or bacteria. But different types of dandruff have different causes:
- Fungus: The fungus known as Pityrosporum ovale is the principal cause of most cases of dandruff. This fungus is present in most people, and can grow out of control, causing dandruff. If you have dandruff but your scalp does not itch, it is most likely caused by this fungus.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: When your scalp is itchy, red, flaky, or when you have rashes or redness around your nose and eyebrows, you may have seborrheic dermatitis. This condition can be aggravated by cold air and stress.
- Dry scalp: Contrary to popular belief, dry scalp is not the cause of dandruff. In fact, most dandruff sufferers have oily scalps, along with topical fungal infections. Drying out the scalp can actually help reduce dandruff flakes by helping to kill the fungus, which thrives on moist environments.
- Psoriasis: Most likely a mild type of autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is difficult to diagnose and more difficult to cure, and it can be the cause of dandruff and other skin problems. See Autoimmune Disorders for more information.
- Anxiety: Stress and emotional anxiety have been linked to skin and scalp problems, and are known to make dandruff worse.
Treatments for Dandruff
A great herbal cure for dandruff: Mix equal amounts of the dried herbs, dandelion root, chamomile, burdock root, horsetail, chaparral, rosemary, coltsfoot, and lavender, and two parts nettle. Boil sufficient water for a hair rinse in a saucepan, then remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the mixture of herbs over the top and let cool. (Do not add the herbs while the water is boiling.) Strain the herbs and pour the decoction over your hair after shampooing. Many people don’t wash their hair with shampoo at all (it causes dryness) and exclusively use the hair tea daily. Bye, bye dandruff!
Here are some other things you can try:
- Supplements: Zinc has been found to reduce dandruff in some people. Vitamin A (2500 IU) and B complex are also effective against dermatitis. Also, take selenium and vitamin E for better overall skin health. Selenium can also be used topically.
- Herbs: You can combat fungal and bacterial infections that cause dermatitis and yeast infections with apple cider vinegar, oregano oil, and tea tree oil (all topical). Johns wort is also an antifungal and antibacterial. Some people claim to have cured their dandruff and dermatitis using apple cider vinegar baths and rinses.
- Reduce antihistamines: Antihistamines can exacerbate dandruff problems, especially in cases of seborrheic dermatitis.