What causes dandruff? The natural dandruff cures you should try

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  • Dandruff is a very common skin condition, where white flakes can fall from your scalp. Those affected can struggle to control the condition, but there are many natural remedies to help you get rid of dandruff.

    Reportedly, 1 in 5 people suffer with dandruff, meaning it’s a common condition. However, it can be embarrassing, as well as irritating – though it’s important to remember that dandruff isn’t harmful.

    How to tell if you’ve got dandruff

    Normally you can tell you’ve got dandruff when your scalp becomes very dry and itchy. Patches of dead skin will sprinkle your hair and sometimes fall onto your shoulders.

    What causes dandruff?

    According to the NHS, dandruff can naturally come about when the cycle of your skin producing new skin cells and shedding the old ones happens too quickly, which is common. But dandruff can also caused by a number of skin conditions.

    Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a condition that causes oily skin and people with this condition will probably also experience flaking on other parts of the body, such as the eyebrows, nose and anywhere where skin folds together, such as the armpits. It can affect almost half of all adults, but many won’t even realise that they have it. It’s caused by a harmless overproduction of yeast, which can lead to a flaky scalp.

    It’s also common in babies, and is more widely known as cradle cap.

    Credit: Getty

    Another possibility is the condition malassezia – a type of fungus that can live harmlessly on skin, unless it becomes extreme and then speeds up the skin renewal process.

    Allergic contact dermatitis can also result in a flaking scalp, and is caused by a range of external factors, which, on your head, could well be the products you use on your hair – such as mousses, shampoos, conditioners and hairspray.

    Sufferers may also notice that common skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, which produce flaky, scaly, irritated skin, can result in dandruff on the top of your head.

    What causes dandruff can vary though. The NHS also state that there are many other factors that could be contributing to the appearance of dandruff, including:

    • Emotional stress
    • Not washing your hair properly
    • Over using particular hair products
    • Obesity
    • Very hot or cold climates
    • Other skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema
    • Or if you have weakened immune system

    While it is hard to pin point the exact cause of dandruff, there are many natural remedies which can help you manage it.

    Dandruff home remedies

    Olive Oil

    When it comes to dandruff home remedies, soaking your hair in olive oil overnight can be great. But if you don’t fancy sleeping in olive oil, you can leave it on for half an hour after thoroughly washing it with shampoo. Rinse thoroughly to make sure all of the oil has come off and then dry. There is no need for conditioning, as olive oil is said to be a great conditioner for the hair too.

    However, Head & Shoulders note that while olive oil can give you a great relief from the itch and irritation of dandruff, it doesn’t quite tackle the root cause – so that is still worth investigating.


    Credit: Getty

    Garlic is normally known for getting rid of colds, but can apparently be great for getting rid of dandruff too – the antimicrobial in the garlic helps to eliminate the bacteria which causes dandruff. Crush a clove of garlic and add it to some honey, so the smell doesn’t put you off, then rub it into your scalp, before washing your hair as normal. Just beware of how the smell may potentially linger…


    It might sound unlikely, but salt can great for scrubbing out the dry flakes in your hair before you shampoo. Simply shake some salt into your hair and work into your scalp, then shampoo the excess salt out of your hair thoroughly – but be gentle! However, as with the olive oil, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t address the root cause of your dandruff.


    The acidity in lemons helps to rebalance the PH levels in your scalp. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to a cup of water and rinse your hair with it, making sure it drenches the scalp. This is a daily remedy which should be repeated until your dandruff is gone.

    Coconut oil

    Coconut oil seems to have many uses and one is getting rid of dandruff. Before you shower, massage 2 teaspoons of the oil into your scalp and leave for an hour. Wash it out of your hair thoroughly and repeat every time you wash your hair until you see results.

    Baking soda

    Baking soda helps to reduce the overactive fungi that produces the dandruff. Wet your hair and rub a handful of baking soda into your hair and then rinse it off. Don’t shampoo as you’ll wash it out. Your hair may feel a little dry at first, but after a couple of weeks using the baking soda you’ll see a visible difference.