By Dr. Rashmi Sharma, Dermatology
Dandruff is a very common skin ailment that affects men, women and children regardless of their age. Dandruff is not a serious health hazard on its own but can affect a person’s self-confidence and be very frustrating to deal with. Possible causes of dandruff include excessive oil production, change in weather, poor hygiene, stress and weakened immune system. Dandruff cannot be cured but it can easily be controlled with a combination of medicated treatments and home remedies.
Medicated treatment for this condition involves the use of antidandruff shampoos, anti-inflammatory creams and lotions. In cases of severe dandruff, steroid creams and oral medication may also be required. However, oral medication is used only in extreme cases.
In cases of mild dandruff, the patient is advised to wash the scalp with anti-dandruff shampoo every alternate day. Most over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide, tea tree oil or coal tar. This shampoo should be massaged into the scalp and left for at least 5 minutes before being washed off. A conditioner may also be used if required. In cases of more severe dandruff, the scalp may be washed more frequently. Massaging a betamethasone solution into the scalp once or twice a day may also help relieve itching.
Dandruff can be controlled without medication as well. Some home remedies to control dandruff are:
- Yogurt – Yogurt increases the production of healthy bacteria that helps fight against yeast and dandruff. Yogurt also helps in curbing inflammation. To get benefit from yogurt, apply a cup of yogurt kept at the room temperature onto your scalp after rinsing off the shampoo. Keep it on for fifteen minutes before washing it off. To keep your hair dandruff free, use this yogurt mask twice or thrice a week.
- Eggs – Eggs are a rich source of biotin that helps treat dandruff. It also keeps the hair healthier. To benefit from eggs, apply the yolk of one egg on dry hair and let it sit for an hour before washing it off. You could rinse your hair with cold black tea or lemon juice to get rid of the odour caused by the egg yolk. An egg yolk hair mask can also give your hair added shine.
- Aloe vera – Aloe vera has a number of antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The proteolytic enzyme in aloe vera helps break down and remove dead skin cells. This helps prevent and manage dandruff. To get maximum benefits from aloe vera, it is best to use the pulp from fresh aloe vera.