Q.: I have dandruff and it’s a real embarrassment. Are there some natural ways to treat it and is it curable? Would expensive scalp treatments help? I've read somewhere that it’s caused by a fungus, or excessive heat or cold. Would tea tree oil help? How did I get it? I don't use other people's combs and have excellent hygiene. Cathy
DR SANDI NYE REPLIES:
Dandruff can indeed be a very vexing and embarrassing condition. In answer to the question regarding treatments, I cannot comment on whether ‘expensive treatments’ will help, since I don’t know to which products or treatments you are specifically referring. Tea tree oil may help, but take care as using it in improper dilution may even exacerbate the problem, especially if your scalp has become sensitive. A natural, liquid Castile soap-based shampoo containing essential oils such as tea tree, chamomile and thyme is a safer alternative, and it is one you can learn to make yourself, or perhaps have made for you. Irritation caused by chemicals in shampoo and hair care products can also be a causative factor.
There are several causes of dandruff or excessive flaking of the scalp skin, including fungal infection. The condition may also be a symptom of seborrhoeic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and head lice infestation – all of which can all result in excessive flaking. An inadequate intake of essential fatty acids in the diet, as well as other underlying factors such as your immune status, would need to be investigated to make a definitive diagnosis. The state of your digestion system, including bowels, could also be a factor to take into consideration, along with sugar intake and other dietary factors. If you are not already taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, (including zinc), you may want to consider this, along with some probiotic treatment.
Overall stress levels are another element that impacts on general skin health, so bear this in mind if it is relevant, since the body systems are very interrelated. As to how you got it – besides the possibilities mentioned above, some people seem to have an individual susceptibility, which has little to nothing to do with hygiene levels or comb-sharing.
To establish whether you have dandruff caused by a fungal organism, like the Malassezia yeasts, or another causative agent, your scalp will need to be examined as the natural treatments for dry, flaky scalp and moist, flaky scalp differ to some extent.
I hope this provides you with some options to pursue towards the eradication of this troublesome problem.