ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Is Dandruff? How to Treat Dandruff?

Updated on April 3, 2020
Vellur profile image

A Botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys researching and writing about topics that interest her.

Hair Affected by Dandruff
Hair Affected by Dandruff | Source

Dandruff is a condition that affects the scalp. It is characterized by the flaking of dead skin cells that are white or gray in color. Dandruff can be found sticking to the scalp or as loose white powder scattered throughout the scalp and hair strands.

Dandruff can be controlled and cured with proper treatment, but this condition can recur again.

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is flakes of dead skin cells that are white or gray in color. Dandruff can be found on the scalp in clumps, or it can be seen scattered on the scalp and in hair strands in a powdery form.

The cells of the scalp keep multiplying forming new skin cells when this happens the old dead skin cells rise to the surface and is pushed out of the scalp. This is a natural process through which the scalp constantly renews itself.

When the rate at which the cells multiply increases, the dead skin cells are shed at a rapid rate and are visible as white or gray flakes of dandruff. When excess dandruff falls on the clothes that you wear or seen on your hair, it becomes an embarrassing situation.

Dandruff becomes clearly visible when you wear dark colored clothes. Dandruff is nothing to worry about, with proper treatment and care dandruff can be controlled.

White Dandruff Flakes Stuck to Scalp
White Dandruff Flakes Stuck to Scalp | Source

What causes Dandruff?

Malassezia is a yeast-like fungus that lives on the scalp and does not affect the scalp in any way but for some people this fungus irritates the scalp causing the formation of dandruff.

Dandruff can also be due to the following reasons -

  • skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis
  • diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's
  • extreme changes in weather conditions
  • exposing scalp to harsh heat or chemical treatments
  • extremely dry skin conditions
  • not washing hair regularly
  • lack of zinc mineral in your body
  • hormonal imbalance

Certain ingredients in hair care products can irritate the scalp and result in the formation of dandruff. Using strong shampoos that totally dry out the scalp can also lead to dandruff.

How to treat Dandruff

Dandruff can be treated by using anti-dandruff shampoos. If anti-dandruff shampoos do not work, you can use medicated anti-dandruff shampoos that you can buy over the counter.

Use the medicated anti-dandruff shampoo every day till the condition is under control.

How to wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo?

  • wet your scalp thoroughly
  • massage the anti-dandruff shampoo gently on the scalp
  • leave on for about five minutes or as specified in the instruction
  • wash off thoroughly
  • repeat once again
  • use a gentle conditioner after using an anti-dandruff shampoo.

Follow the given instructions for the treatment to be effective -

Scratching your scalp with your nails or with a comb to get rid of flakes of dandruff on the scalp will worsen the condition further. When you scratch or use a comb on your scalp, the cells can rupture giving way to further infection of your scalp.

Make sure that you include food from which your body can obtain zinc mineral that is vital to control dandruff.

Zinc can be obtained from pork, beef, poultry, oysters and crab meat. Vegetarians can get zinc from milk, chickpeas, cheddar cheese, beans, almonds, and peanuts.

Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoos to Treat Dandruff

There are many types of medicated anti-dandruff shampoos to treat dandruff.

The following are medicated anti-dandruff shampoos that help to treat this condition -

1. Tar based anti-dandruff shampoos have coal tar as one of their ingredients. Coal tar is a by-product that is produced in the process of manufacturing coal. It helps to treat dandruff by slowing down the flaking of skin cells on the scalp.

2. Anti-dandruff Shampoos containing salicylic acid help to get rid of the flakes of dandruff but leave the scalp extremely dry. Using a conditioner helps to ease the dryness of the scalp.

3. Selenium sulfide anti-dandruff shampoos help to slow down the flaking of skin cells and controls the growth of the Malassezia fungus. Remember that these shampoos can discolor blond, gray or chemically treated hair.

4. Selenium sulfide anti-dandruff shampoos kill any infection on the scalp and control the flaking of dead skin cells. These anti-dandruff shampoos leave a strong odor in the hair. Make sure to rinse the shampoo thoroughly out your hair when you use selenium sulfide shampoos.

5. Ketoconazole anti-dandruff shampoos are broad spectrum anti-fungal agents that effectively treat and control dandruff.

Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, 4 Fl. Oz
Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, 4 Fl. Oz
Effectively removes dandruff due to the presence of Ketoconazole.

Home Remedies to Treat Dandruff

Home remedies help to cure dandruff the natural way. There are many ingredients that you use for cooking that also help to clear dandruff from your scalp.

Here are some of the home remedies that you can prepare and use to control dandruff -

Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix half cup warm water and half cup Apple Cider Vinegar. Massage the mixture into your scalp using your fingers but do not scratch with your nails. Apple Cider Vinegar kills infection on the scalp and controls dandruff.

Yogurt and Fenugreek Seeds

A combination of yogurt and fenugreek seeds help to control and treat dandruff. Yogurt soothes the scalp and reduces the flaking of the scalp. Fenugreek seeds exfoliate and remove dead skin cells from the scalp. It also helps to kill fungal infection on the scalp.

Soak 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in warm water overnight. Grind the fenugreek seeds to a fine paste. Mix one cup of curd with the ground fenugreek paste. Mix well and massage it into the scalp. Leave the mixture on the scalp for about fifteen minutes and then wash off.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel has anti-fungal properties and helps to get rid of any fungal infection. It also helps to sooth and heal the infected skin. Massage the gel into the scalp and leave it on for fifteen minutes and then wash off.

Neem and Lemon

Neem leaves with lemon juice helps to get rid of dandruff effectively. Make a paste of six big Neem leaves. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to this paste and mix well. Massage your scalp with this paste and leave on for about fifteen minutes and then wash off. Neem along with lemon kills fungal infection on the scalp and controls the excessive production of dead skin cells.


Gooseberry is also known as Amla. Mix three tablespoons of gooseberry powder with water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the scalp and leave it on your scalp for about half an hour and then wash off. Gooseberry kills infection on scalp, controls flaking of dead skin cells and acts as a conditioner.

Egg whites

Separate the egg whites of two eggs. Squeeze a small lemon and mix the juice with the egg whites. Apply on scalp and massage gently. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash off to control and treat dandruff.

Coconut Oil with Camphor

Heat three tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan. When the oil is heated, add a small piece of camphor to the oil. Massage the oil into the scalp, leave it on for half an hour and then wash off.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil has anti-fungal properties and helps to kill infection on the scalp. It helps to exfoliate the scalp and get rid of the dead skin cells. Soak a cotton ball in Tea Tree oil and rub on the affected areas. Wait for five minutes before washing off.

Do a patch test to find out if you are allergic to any of the ingredients that you are going to apply to your scalp. If you already know that you are allergic to any of the ingredients mentioned above do not use them on your scalp.

Dandruff in a Glance

  • dandruff is a condition of the scalp characterized by flaking of dead skin cells
  • the flakes are white or gray in color
  • dandruff can be treated with over the counter medicated shampoos
  • home remedies can also get rid of dandruff
  • dandruff is different from seborrheic dermatitis
  • contact your doctor if the condition worsens
  • dandruff can be cured but can recur again

Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis - The Difference

Dandruff is also referred to as Seborrheic dermatitis by some, but they are not one and the same skin conditions.

Dandruff is confined to the scalp and is gray or white in color. It may be found as patches or found scattered throughout the scalp and in hair strands.

In Seborrheic dermatitis, the white flakes turn yellow and greasy in texture. The flakes can build up as raised patches on the scalp. The scalp can also become inflamed and turn into red patches. Seborrheic dermatitis can spread beyond the scalp and infect the forehead, the area behind the ears, nose and chest.

Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that can be treated by using home remedies or by using medicated shampoos. If dandruff persists or increases contact your doctor for further advice.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Nithya Venkat


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 years ago from Dubai

      LadyFiddler thank you for stopping by and yes dandruff is really irritating. Have a great day!

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 

      5 years ago from On Planet Earth

      Very informative vellur :) dandruff can be a really irritating thing to deal with especially when your scalp is always scratching.

      Thanks for sharing :)

      Have a swell day

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Jackie Lynnley glad you got rid of dandruff. Thank you for stopping by and the vote up.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from the beautiful south

      Missed this, sorry. I haven't had dandruff in years, when I did I think it was from mousse and hair spray and junk I stopped using years ago. If I get it again though I will try your suggestions. Thanks! ^+

      Oh; I use dandruff shampoo just now and then for the shine!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      PurvisBobbi44 I hope you are okay now, if you are not allergic to tea tree oil then you can try it, it works miracles. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

      stuff4kids thank you and yes many people do not realize that dandruff can be so embarrassing.

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 

      6 years ago

      I suspect that many people who don't suffer from dandruff or related skin conditions, often don't appreciate just what a debilitating and potentially embarrassing condition it is.

      I hope this interesting and carefully researched information will help cure it for anyone who has this problem.

      A hub that should be of great use to a lot of folks. Bless you :)

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      Barbara Purvis Hunter 

      6 years ago from Florida


      I am so happy you wrote this hub, because it will solve my problem.

      After I broke or shattered my leg; I was in bed for 3 1/2 months and my scalp became dry. I didn't realize what in the world was happening to my scalp since I had little to no experience with dandruff.

      After my sister shampooed my hair I melted Coconut Oil and poured it on my scalp; then I put a shower cap on it for the rest of the day. The next morning I wash it again.

      It really helped, but now I have one tiny patch left and I will try one of your suggestions.

      Thanks so much for the help.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      midget38 thank you for reading again, much appreciated.

      DealForALiving thank you for reading and yes it is indeed amazing.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Nick Deal 

      6 years ago from Earth

      Thank you for writing this hub. It's amazing how some dead skin cells can look so revolting and convey so much. Your graphics are perfect for the article.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Coming in to share again, Nithya!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Suzanne Day thank you for stopping by and the vote up.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      6 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Those photos make me feel itchy! I have heard of the apple cider vinegar remedy but not sure if it works. Trying not to scratch might also help, though it would be hard! Voted useful.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Nell Rose thank you, yes we never know. Thank you for stopping by.

      AudreyHowitt thank you.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Just an excellent hub!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Great advice Vellur, I have had trouble with this in the past, but luckily these days it seems to have gone, no more Dandruff, but you never know! lol!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      midget38 Tea Tree Oil is very effective and keeps off dandruff. Thank you for your visit and share.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      I use Tea Tree Oil when I get it. it's effective!! Shared!!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 thank you and yes dandruff can really get frustrating , thank you for the vote up and pin.

      Janellegems thank you for stopping by.

    • Janellegems profile image


      6 years ago

      Great home remedies and shampoos to treat dandruff. Thanks for sharing this vital information.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Once I got dandruff because my stylist was not sanitizing her hair combs. I changed to another immediately. Great natural remedies for this condition that can frustrate people. Voted up and pinning.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Audrey Howitt thank you.

      rebeccamealey thank you.

      always exploring thank you and yes apple cider vinegar does help to get rid of dandruff.

      travmaj yes medicated shampoos are really harsh, thank you fro stopping by.

      Faith Reaper thank you for your visit and many vote ups.

      Alicia C thank you for taking the time to read and leaving a comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is very useful information, Vellur. Thanks for sharing all the tips and details.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful home remedies you have shared here! Such a useful hub here full of great information.

      Voted up ++ tweeting and pinning

      Blessings always

    • travmaj profile image


      6 years ago from australia

      Great hub. Dandruff affects most of us at some time or another. I like your natural remedies, some of the shampoos are so harsh.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I didn't know that apple cider vinegar was used for dancruff control. Interesting article...

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Drandruff bugs us all from time to time. Your list of causes is interesting, and thanks for some good tips for controlling it.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Great hub!! Very helpful I thought!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      ARUN KANTI thank you.

      FlourishAnyway thank you and yes you are so right dandruff can totally ruin the look.

      billybuc thank your visit and comment.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very useful information for most anyone. Thank you for the remedies.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      This is an extremely thorough hub on a condition that affects many people. It is very off-putting to see, especially when someone is all dressed up in a nice dark suit or dress. It can ruin the effect. Great advice and a nicely constructed hub. Voted up and sharing.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image


      6 years ago from KOLKATA

      Very informative hub. Although I do not have dandruff I suffer from itchy scalp sometimes and I have yet to find any solution. Thank you for the tips.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      DDE thank you for stopping by and glad you do not have this condition.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Helpful tips here on dandruff issues. I don' t have that problem but your ideas sound great.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)