How to Get Rid of Dandruff: 11 Natural Treatments

Skip the dandruff shampoo and try these homemade dandruff treatments to banish those pesky white flakes.

Adapted by Alyssa Jung from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things (Reader's Digest Association Books)
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    What gets rid of dandruff?

    Dandruff may be the result of a dry scalp, or a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. It could also be caused by eczema, psoriasis, or, very commonly, an overgrowth of a yeastlike fungus called malassezia. Drugstore remedies might include shampoos with zinc pyrithione, which targets fungus and bacteria; ketoconazole, which also fights fungus; coal tar and selenium sulfide, which slow the growth and die-off of skin cells on your scalp; and salicylic acid, which loosens flakes so they can be washed away. For natural treatments, read on.

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    Aspirin

    Aspirin contains the same active ingredient (salicylic acid) as many medicated dandruff shampoos. Keep flaking in check by crushing two aspirins to a fine powder and adding it to the normal amount of shampoo you use each time you wash your hair. Leave the mixture on your hair for 1-2 minutes, then rinse well and wash again with plain shampoo.

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    Tea tree oil

    One study showed that shampoos with just 5 percent tea tree oil significantly improves the severity of dandruff. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your favorite shampoo as you wash normally.

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    Baking soda

    Your kitchen could hold the key to an itch-free, flake-free scalp. Wet your hair and then rub a handful of baking soda vigorously into your scalp. Skip the shampoo and go right to rinsing. Baking soda reduces overactive fungi that can cause dandruff. Your hair may get dried out at first, but after a few weeks your scalp will start producing natural oils, leaving your hair softer and free of flakes.

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    Apple cider vinegar

    Dr. Mehmet Oz swears by apple cider vinegar as a dandruff treatment, as the acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix a quarter cup apple cider vinegar with a quarter cup water in a spray bottle and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week.

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    Mouthwash

    To treat a bad case of dandruff, wash your hair with your regular shampoo, then rinse with an alcohol-based mouthwash. Follow with your regular conditioner. Mouthwash's anti-fungal properties help prevent dandruff-causing yeast from growing.

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    Coconut oil

    Crunchybetty.com says coconut oil is a "tried and true" dandruff treatment, and it smells nice too. Before showering, massage 3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil into your scalp and let sit for about an hour. Shampoo normally. You can also look for a shampoo that already contains coconut oil.

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    Lemon

    Dandruff relief may be no farther away than your refrigerator. Just massage 2 tablespoons lemon juice into your scalp and rinse with water. Then stir 1 teaspoon lemon juice into 1 cup water and rinse your hair with it. Repeat this daily until your dandruff disappears. Lemon's acidity helps balance the pH of your scalp, which helps keeps dandruff at bay.

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    Salt

    The abrasiveness of ordinary table salt works great for scrubbing out dandruff flakes before you shampoo. Grab a saltshaker and shake some salt onto your dry scalp. Then work it through your hair, giving your scalp a massage. You'll find you've worked out the dry, flaky skin and are ready for a shampoo.

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    Aloe vera

    Stop yourself from scratching by massaging aloe vera into your scalp before shampooing. The cooling effects of aloe vera will soothe the itch.

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    Garlic

    Garlic's anti-fungal properties are perfect for eliminating dandruff-causing bacteria. Crush garlic and rub it into your scalp. To avoid that potent smell, healwithfood.org suggests mixing crushed garlic with honey and massaging into the scalp before washing as usual.

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    Olive oil

    An overnight olive oil soak is a folk remedy for dandruff. Massage about 10 drops into your scalp and cover with a shower cap overnight. Follow your regular shampoo routine in the morning. For a quicker cure, look for a shampoo that contains olive oil.

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    Your Comments

    • Troll4life..

      I have dandruff around the hairline really bad. Any suggestions?

    • roselyn

      Is it can’t affect a rebonded hair ..henever i used one of those treatment?

    • Raging Light

      I had dandruff for about 5 years and Im 12

    • Raging Light

      Why is it that I take showers every night and every next morning, I feel my hair so dry and see dandruff?

    • myth

      Hey guys I have a problem with dandruff too, except it seems like my hair gets very wet in spots and then starts to itch and burn? It happens more often when i get hot.

    • shy.tack

      Some labs actually use olive oil to culture the yeasts that cause dandruff, so it might work if you just have dry skin flakes as opposed to dandruff.

    • shakti

      i had been dandruff problem since last 2 years,i take many treatment and i used many anti dandruff shampoo’s but it cant help me to get read of it and my hair fall problem is continue now what should i do?

      • yogaman

        In many cases, dandruff is caused by chlorine in the water. Many people have a naturally dry scalp and the chlorine just exacerbates that condition causing dandruff. These treatments are more for fungi based dandruff so they may not be effective.

    • tayb

      Oatmeal is good for the hair follicles and soothes them as well as hydrates them. You are welcome.

      • abundeur

        nice

      • Amy O.

        Really? Oatmeal? Its been sitting in my food cabinet forever and I suffer from acute dandruff…feel like cutting off my hands right about now. Huge sigh..

    • bella k

      Article?? BTW if u have oatmeal take oatmeal baths and let oatmeal sit in Ur hair! :) your welcome – I smiley

      • lily

        how does that help?

        • shalini

          use egg white for your hair before u bath..
          do oil massage regularly..
          keep your scalp wet dont make it dry..
          bec of dandruff dont cut your hairs then it takes long time to grow.
          Dont change your shampoos offen use only one..
          dont use oil which has more perfume..