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If you’ve smelled an anti-dandruff shampoo, you likely don’t need to be told that most of them contain some pretty tough toxins.
Coal tar is a known carcinogen at high levels, yet it’s the active ingredient in about a dozen popular anti-dandruff shampoos.
Studies show that some of its chemicals might cause cancer if used in very high concentrations and the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends following a regular skin cancer checkup scheduled if you use coal tar regularly. In California, over-the-counter coal tar shampoos are also labeled with the state’s Prop 65 cancer warning.
EWG rates Coal Tar a bright red “7-10” on its cosmetic danger scale, giving it a green flag for developmental and reproductive toxicity, but an orange flag for allergies and immunotoxicity, and a red flag for cancer.
So what’s a girl to do if she’s got dandruff? Well, before you tear your hair out, try these nine natural remedies for getting rid of dandruff.
1. Bathe Your Scalp in Coconut Oil
Renowned for its health benefits, coconut oil is one of the best natural dandruff remedies available. Studies show it to be a good remedy for the treatment of eczema, a dandruff-contributing skin condition. Applying coconut oil to the skin for eight weeks significantly reduced symptoms by an astounding 68%, compared to 38% for mineral oils. Apply coconut oil to your scalp often or occasionally use it in place of your shampoo.
2. Dip Into Aloe Vera
Well known for its healing properties, Aloe Vera is added to a wide range of skin ointments, cosmetics and lotions. The plant secretes a gel-like liquid that, applied to the skin, helps cure dandruff. The gel contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that are also beneficial. Not to mention its multiple bioactive compounds, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the symptoms of dandruff, like that incessant itch.
3. Dowse with Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have a good hair care routine and still experience dandruff, you can always add apple cider vinegar to boost the effects and take care of the fungus. ACV has numerous health benefits and is a popular natural dandruff remedy. Its acidity helps remove dead skin cells on the scalp, balance the skin’s pH and reduce fungus growth. Try adding a few tablespoons of ACV to your shampoo or combine it with other essential hair oils before spraying it directly onto your hair.
4. Bring on the Baking Soda
Baking soda is another quick, reliable and convenient way of treating dandruff. The sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is an exfoliant capable of removing dead skin cells as well as scalp oils. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that allow it to reduce inflammation caused by an itchy scalp. Sodium bicarbonate has antifungal properties allowing it to inhibit fungal growth in about 79% of fungal species after one week. To use baking soda for dandruff treatment, apply a small amount to wet hair and massage it into your scalp. Let it sit for two minutes then continue with your normal hair care routine.
5. Increase Your Intake of Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in your body. Not only do they help make up the cell membranes surrounding your cells, but they are also crucial for the proper functioning of vital organs. They are also important to your skin health because they assist in managing oil production and hydration. Lack of omega-3 fatty acids can cause dryness of hair and skin resulting in dandruff. These fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce the itching caused by the dandruff.
6. Try a Topical Application of Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been known to treat ailments like acne and psoriasis. It also contains powerful anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties suitable for relieving various symptoms of dandruff such as itching. However, applying tea tree oil directly on the scalp can cause inflammation, particularly for those of us with sensitive skin. Start by adding a few drops to your regular shampoo or a carrier oil like coconut.
7. Decompress & Reduce Your Stress Levels
Well that’s easier said than done, thanks. Stress is known to affect multiple aspects of health and can impact everything from chronic conditions to mental health. Stress doesn’t directly cause dandruff but can stimulate symptoms like dryness and itching. If your stress levels are high, your immune system weakens and loses its ability to fight off fungal infections effectively. Take a daily walk, switch up your routine, start a side project or dip out of the house more frequently for a start.
8. Power Up On Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in supplements and fermented foods and are good for your health. Probiotics comes with many benefits including protection against allergies, weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. These beneficial bacteria can also help boost your immune function and help the body fight fungal infections that cause dandruff. They also have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce symptoms of various skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
9. If All Else Fails, There’s Always Aspirin
Aspirin contains salicylic acid with anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the symptoms of dandruff. (Salicylic acid is also found in most anti-dandruff shampoos and helps to get rid of scaly skin while loosening flakes so that they can easily be removed.) Try crushing two tablets of aspirin and adding the powder to your shampoo before you start washing your hair.