What’s Your Best Advice for Dandruff? Here’s Mine…
By Dr Mercola.com
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a very common condition that can be cause for some embarrassment. By the age of 20, about 50 percent of Americans have suffered an outbreak.
A small amount of flaking is normal as skin cells do die and flake off your scalp, but some people experience an unusually large amount of flaking, either chronically or as a result of certain triggers. Dandruff may also be accompanied by redness and irritation.
Dandruff is believed to be caused by a fungal infection, specifically a species called pityriasis capitis. Another yeast-like fungus, malassezia globosa, has also been implicated. The fungi live on your scalp, feeding on skin oils.
The malassezia globosa fungus uses enzymes called lipases to metabolize the oils, creating a by-product called oleic acid. The acid penetrates your skin and triggers skin cell shedding.
How to Safely and Effectively Treat Dandruff
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that everything you slather on your skin or put on your scalp goes into your bloodstream, and can affect your overall health and internal balance. Virtually all of your regular shampoos and conditioners contain harmful chemicals that can create skin irritation, contributing to dry scalp and excessive dandruff.
I recommend buying organic personal-care products that do not contain parabens, sodium laureth or lauryl sulfate. The latter two are known eye and skin irritants, which could worsen your dandruff.
There are many solutions for this condition, but the typical strategy will be some type of medicated shampoo. However, there are safer and more effective ways of using them that do not require repetitive use.
Two shampoos that work well are Selsun Blue and Head & Shoulders. I’ve used both in the past with good results.
Selsun Blue contains a form of selenium sulfide, whereas Head & Shoulders has zinc as the active ingredient. Both are toxic to the fungus.
The most effective way to use them is to lather your scalp with the shampoo at night before you go to bed, and keep it on overnight. Wear a shower cap so you don’t ruin your pillow case. Then wash it off in the morning.
If needed you can repeat this treatment once a week, but typically you’ll only need one or two treatments to permanently eliminate the fungus. This seems to be a much safer alternative to using the shampoo daily for many years.
Alternatives to Medicated Shampoos
Other options include using oil of oregano or tea tree oil on your scalp. Both have natural antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that can reduce inflammation and effectively treat infections.
Aside from topical solutions, you’ll want to pay attention to your diet because it’s one of the primary reasons why you have dandruff to begin with. It’s a sign that your body has developed an imbalance in its ecology, which allows the fungus to thrive.
Sugar will increase the growth of fungus and yeast, and processed grains also break down to sugar very rapidly. Even juices or consuming lots of fruit can perpetuate the growth of the fungus.
The types of fats you ingest are another important component.
Make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, which are really important for reducing inflammation.
You also need to choose your omega-6 fats wisely, eliminating all trans fats, cyclic- and processed fats. Processed oils like corn, soy, canola, safflower, and sunflower oil can be extremely detrimental to your system. By integrating into your cell membranes, they can increase your susceptibility to cellular damage and inflammation, as well as overgrowth of fungal and yeast type infections.
Paying attention to your diet and eating according to your nutritional type are key principles for solving nearly every single health condition, and dandruff is no exception.