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Dandruff???? Help!!
by Anonymous
March 31, 2013 at 5:26 AM
I've dealt with dandruff for years now. The only thing I haven't tried is the "no poo" method. I have really long hair and hate that I can't wear it down and am embarrassed to get it cut. Nothing over the counter has worked. Once a few years a rx shampoo worked. But I didn't have refills. I'll go back to the doc if needed but I can't help but think I'm doing something wrong. Literally as my hair dries bad dandruff appears. Like huge flakes. Not little spots. My routine is this:
About twice a week I wash my hair with treseme shampoo and conditioner. Hot showers if that matters.
I don't blow dry, color, or do anything with my hair other than put it in a bun and go. I wash it if I'm going to try and wear it down but that doesn't happen anymore. I gave up. But I want to have my hair cut and wear it down more. Any advice?


  • Sassy762
    March 31, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    Edited by Waited, Jack Herrick, stijn lammens, Travis Derouin and 61 others

    Erin: "David, why do you have this wikiHow article bookmarked? You don't have dandruff." David: "Exactly, Erin. Exactly."
     Erin: "David, why do you have this wikiHow article bookmarked? You don't have dandruff." David: "Exactly, Erin. Exactly."

    Dandruff, a condition characterized by flaking, itchy scalp, is one of the most common dermatological conditions. Fortunately, while the exact cause of dandruff is not known, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of getting it, and effective treatments are available. So if it looks like a winter storm is following you - and only you - read on.


    1. 1
      Eat a healthy, balanced diet. As if you needed another reason to eat right, it turns out that a healthy diet may ward off the flakes. Make sure to get plenty of zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, E and B-vitamins, and avoid excessive yeast and sugar. Research suggests that dandruff is at least in part caused by a fungus that thrives in yeasty, fatty, sugary environments. Though this does not necessarily directly affect the conditions of your skin, your overall health will help with how your body responds to the fungus causing the dandruff.

    2. 2
      Don't worry, be happy. Stress challenges the body's defenses and encourages all sorts of ailments, including dandruff, so relax now and don't worry about wearing a black shirt tomorrow.

    3. 3
      Limit your use of hair styling products. Hairspray, mousse, and gel may contribute to dandruff in some people. They may also cause excessive drying of the skin, which can cause flaking - or trigger allergic reactions. If you notice dandruff soon after you begin to use a new product, chances are the product is to blame. The exception to this would be using a therapeutic styling gel or spray formulated with tea tree oil.

    4. 4
      Wash your hair regularly. Dandruff seems to thrive in oily hair, so regular shampooing can help you fight it off. If you already have dandruff, washing your hair may help you keep the symptoms (the flakes) under control until it goes away. Massage your scalp so that you clean your skin, as well as your hair. This is one time when the "repeat" directions in "wash, rinse, and repeat" may be useful. The first washing breaks up the waxy sebum, and the second washing helps rinse it all away.

    5. 5
      Use a shampoo designed to treat dandruff. If dandruff persists despite regular shampooing, you may need something stronger. Try a shampoo with zinc (look at the label on the back); zinc helps fight off dandruff. There are a variety of anti-dandruff shampoos available at your pharmacy or grocery store, and they usually work. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, and make a little extra time to shower, as most of these recommend that you leave them in for 5-10 minutes and lather twice.

    6. 6
      Oil your hair with herbal oils or use special herbal gels. Gels from India have been known to help. Do this on a regular basis, at least twice a week for improvements.

    7. 7
      Be aware that there are different active ingredients in dandruff shampoos. If one does not work for you try another. Ketoconazole (brand name Nizoral®) is extremely effective against certain types of dandruff that are caused by a fungus. 1% Ketoconazole is available without prescription in the US, 2% requires a prescription. The 2% is available without a prescription in Canada.

    8. 8
      Be patient. While anti-dandruff shampoos may produce results after a few uses, it can take a week or two to see the difference.

    9. 9
      Switch it up.If one type of anti-dandruff shampoo doesn't seem to work, or if it works for a time but then doesn't, switch to a product with another active ingredient (the active ingredient will be labeled on the bottle).

    10. 10
      See your doctor if the problem persists after more than a couple weeks of treatment. There are prescription shampoos available, and prescription steroid creams may also help.


    • Try using a softer shampoo. During an interview, several barbers have said that the cause is often a harsh shampoo which kills or dries out the skin.
    • It's best to get your vitamins from food, rather than nutritional supplements. A quick Internet search will turn up foods you can integrate into your diet that are rich in zinc, Omega-3s, and B-vitamins.
    • Tea tree oil has antiseptic qualities that may help kill the fungus, and keep your scalp moisturized. You can buy a small bottle at many groceries and health food stores, and add 5-6 drops to your regular shampoo. Or just purchase a shampoo that contains tea tree oil.
    • Another possible remedy consists of pouring a generous amount of table salt into your hand before showering and covering your scalp in it. Gently rub it in, covering your whole scalp. Rinse it out in the shower, and shampoo normally.
    • If anti-dandruff shampoos aren't working, or if you notice redness on the scalp or silvery or yellow flakes, you may not have dandruff at all. A number of other conditions can lead to flaking skin and itchy scalp. See your primary care physician or dermatologist.
    • Plain old fashioned Listerine® (the original amber formula) works wonders on dandruff! In fact, up until the 1980s, the label even mentioned that it was effective on infectious dandruff. Daily or several times a week, saturate a cotton ball with Listerine and swab over your scalp. The menthol and methyl salicylate are particularly effective at helping to relieve scalp itch. You may also choose to use Listerine as a shampoo rinse, it has similar effectiveness when used this way.
    • If you have hay fever, eczema, or other skin or respiratory allergies, your dandruff may be caused in part by an allergic reaction. In this situation, you may find it helpful to shampoo LESS frequently, so the natural oils that protect your scalp aren't stripped away. Allergic people may also react to dandruff shampoos by generating more dandruff. If you think this may be the case for you, try washing your hair with conditioner only, or washing less frequently.
    • Leave-in treatments like Scalpicin® may be useful for particularly itchy scalps. They contain either anti-inflammatory ingredients (like hydrocortisone) or one of the active anti-dandruff ingredients. Usually these treatments also contain menthol, which provides a cooling effect that reduces the sensation of itching.
    • Wear light-colored clothing (especially tops) while you have dandruff. Most people won't even notice.
    • Try the condition only treatment first during a vacation or a time when you will be less publicly visible, since your scalp will be very oily at first. It will take two weeks to a month for the balance of oils on your hair and scalp to adjust itself.
    • Buy and use two or three different types of regular shampoo and don't use the same one two days in a row. This way build up is minimized. For some reason this gets rid of lesser cases of dandruff.
    • A quick internet search will turn up all kinds of home remedies for dandruff. While some of these may indeed work, anti-dandruff shampoos are inexpensive enough to be adequate for most people.
    • Rinsing your scalp with a rinse of 1/4 cup white vinegar to 3/4 cup water may help the problem. The natural acids will help loosen any sebum (dead skin and oils) that clings to your scalp and flakes to form dandruff. Rinse thoroughly with WARM, not hot, water. If you don't rinse well, you will smell like vinegar. While white vinegar is the gold standard of home remedies, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice should work as well. Lemon juice may lighten dark hair.
    • Use cold water when you shampoo your hair.
    • Avoid detergent based shampoos.


    • Using more than one anti-dandruff product may cause redness and irritation.
    • If the dandruff doesn't begin to go away within 1 week seek medical attention. There may be a fungus involved. A treatment containing hydrocortisone will feed many topical fungi, which will just make a bad case of dandruff much worse.
    • Some anti-dandruff shampoos, such as those containing selenium sulfide or coal tar* may discolor light or dyed hair.
    • Watch out for shampoos that are packaged to look like dandruff shampoos but only say that they will rinse away loose dandruff. Any shampoo will rinse away loose dandruff.
    • Discontinue use of any anti-dandruff shampoo or medication if the condition worsens or spreads, or if you notice side effects. Consult your primary care physician or dermatologist if the problem doesn't go away.
    • You could pick up a shampoo without SLS (and other potential irritants) from a store like Whole Foods, or Wild Oats.
    • Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). It's a foaming compound that's a mild irritant. Some people find that using specialist soap without SLS as a shampoo for a couple of weeks makes their dandruff go away. You'll probably get it back if you switch back to ordinary shampoo. [1]
    • The FDA and the European Union have declared Coal Tar as a carcinogen. [2] Weigh the benefit of dandruff-free hair against the cancer risk, which is much, much smaller than the cancer risks from smoking or suntanning.[3]

    EditThings You'll Need

    • Shampoo with one of these anti-dandruff ingredients: ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, coal tar extract, or sulfur. If one doesn't work try another.
  • Sassy762
    March 31, 2013 at 5:32 AM

    Does Vinegar Help Dandruff?

    Does Vinegar Help Dandruff? thumbnail
    Does Vinegar Help Dandruff?
    1. Causes of Dandruff

      • Dandruff may be caused by dry skin, oily skin, diet or stress, but most likely, it is caused by malassezia, a yeast-like fungus. The fungus feeds on the oils from the hair follicles causing skin irritation. The result is dead skin cells that clump together with the oil from your hair and scalp. Little is known why the fungus causes problems for some and not others. It may be stress related, hormonal changes, illnesses or just sensitivity to the fungus. It is known that people with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease tend to develop dandruff as well as people recovering from heart disease.


      • Shampooing every day may be enough to control dandruff.

        Dandruff is chronic, so persistence is imperative. Simply washing the hair every day with a gentle shampoo may be enough to control the dandruff. If that doesn't work, there are a number of dandruff shampoos on the market. Experiment with the different shampoos, for some may irritate the scalp. Head and Shoulders contains zinc pyrithione, an anti-fungal that works well for mild dandruff. Neutrogena T/Gel is a tar-based shampoo that uses coal tar to slow down the cell turnover. Scalp scrubs help eliminate scale but can lead to more flaking. Selsun Blue works on slowing cell turnover and may reduce the malassezia fungus. It may discolor blonde and gray hair, though. Nizoral is a strong anti-fungal shampoo that may work when others do not. It can be purchased by prescription or over-the-counter. You can also see a dermatologist who may prescribe a dandruff shampoo.

      Home Remedies

      • Lifestyle changes may help too. Avoid stress, shampoo often, cut back on styling products, take B vitamins, add zinc to your diet and avoid the sun. If you do not want to use dandruff shampoos, consider apple cider vinegar. Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. Mix apple cider vinegar with a ratio of one part vinegar and two parts water. Apply the mixture to the scalp and let dry. There is no need to rinse it out. Try this once a week, and if it doesn't work, try mixing the ratio half vinegar and half water. You can also put the cider vinegar on the scalp without diluting it. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it out.

    Read more: Does Vinegar Help Dandruff? | eHow.com
  • Anonymous 2
    by Anonymous 2
    March 31, 2013 at 5:33 AM
    the only thing I can do for mine is take a bath. I lay in the water and let it soak then massage my scalp like crazy.
  • Sassy762
    March 31, 2013 at 5:33 AM
  • Anonymous 3
    by Anonymous 3
    March 31, 2013 at 5:33 AM

    Maybe try the vinegar and baking soda washes? I have heard that the vinegar can help with dandruff.

  • Anonymous 4
    by Anonymous 4
    March 31, 2013 at 5:37 AM

    I dont know if you have tried this but put mayonnaise all over your hair once a week or so, enriches your scalp with nutrients and oils.  Nothing worked to help my dh and ss who have dark hair and looked like it was snowing or something on their heads, but the mayo has cleared up issues.  STINKS bad and you have to wash it out obviously, but the oils really have helped them.

  • sweetboys4me
    March 31, 2013 at 5:40 AM
    tea tree oil. Add it to your shampoo
  • xtwistedxlovex
    March 31, 2013 at 5:42 AM
    It's likely caused by a reaction to yeast - which naturally occurs but some people are sensitive to. Vinegar can help, but in my experience is not a cure. I use a shampoo with pyrithione zinc and wash weekly, though it recommends twice weekly. Some people have to continuously switch between zinc, selenium sulfide, and salicylic acid shampoos to keep it under control.
  • Anonymous 5
    by Anonymous 5
    March 31, 2013 at 5:42 AM
    Are they littl white dry flakes or larger oily off colored scaley looking flakes?
  • Anonymous 1
    by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster
    March 31, 2013 at 5:45 AM
    Large, white and I'd say dry. They fall apart into more pieces when I try to pick out the visible ones so I can leave the house.

    Quoting Anonymous:

    Are they littl white dry flakes or larger oily off colored scaley looking flakes?

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