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on the black top? Is that dandruff? Oh no! Now what? Is it time for dandruff shampoo for the rest of my life? Isn’t there something better than harsh chemicals that can help me?
First let’s look at what could be the cause of your dandruff? It can be caused by many things. Below are just a few of the causes. 1) Our bodies effort to repair itself: As a normal process our scalps produce a skin oil called sebum. A yeast known as Malassezia also usually exists on most scalps. This fungus eats the sebum secretions by secreting enzymes to break down the skin oil. Sometimes what happens is that our scalp becomes irritated by theses enzymes and as a result it trys to repair itself by secreting more oil, which starts a cycle that leads to dandruff. In plain English this means that instead of shedding the skin cells around once a month, the skin cells start shedding every 2-7 days. As these departing cells are sloughed off before they are dead, they are shed in large, oily clumps instead of small almost invisible cells. Dandruff weakens the roots because the shedding skin cells block free flow of air to the roots. This causes the roots to loosen their hold and the hair starts falling out.
2) Our treatment of our hair can also cause dandruff. The excessive use of hair sprays and
gels, improper use of hair-coloring products, excessive use of hair curlers or curling irons, cold weather, dry indoor heating, stress, infrequent shampooing of the hair or inadequate rinsing of the scalp. It appears to run in families and stress, fatigue, extreme weather conditions, oily skin or skin disorders, and obesity increase the risk of dandruff. It may or may not itch, but if it does be careful, because if scratched excessively it could lead to broken skin and a possible infection. 3) Dandruff can also be a symptom of psoriasis, a fungal infection or from an infestation of head lice.
4) Certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, head injuries and stokes may
also be associated with dandruff. Immuno-suppression also seems to affect dandruff. Drugs and the onset of puberty can also cause dandruff.
5) There is also an internal dandruff that can be caused by hormonal imbalance, poor health,
poor hygiene, allergy to dairy, chocolate, nuts or shellfish, lack of rest, emotional stress, excessive consumption of sugar, alcohol, fat and starch and hereditary predisposition.
6) From a traditional medical approach, dandruff may be the body's way of eliminating
excess protein accumulated, but not assimilated in the system. It may also be a symptom of liver and kidney imbalances. A more stabilizing diet is needed, reducing highly acidic foods such as tomatoes and certain spices. Change your diet by avoiding or a reducting animal proteins, eating mostly whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans and fruit (except for citrus). The medical profession states that dandruff is a chronic (life long) condition that can be controlled, and may have extended inactive periods followed by flare-ups. Allopathic Treatments Simply increasing usage with normal shampooing will remove flakes. However, elimination of the fungus results in dramatic improvement. Regular shampooing with an anti-fungal product can reduce recurrence. Most of us have seen the commercials and buy over-the-counter dandruff or medicated shampoos. Active ingredients in these shampoos include salicylic acid (which removes the dead skin cells and decreases the rate at which these cells are created), coal tar, zinc pyrithione (kills the yeast malessizia), resorcin, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide (which also helps with both the salicylic acid and zinc pyrithioine). If the condition is severe a doctor may prescribe shampoos or lotions containing selenium, ketoconazole, or corticosteroids may be prescribed for severe cases. Selenium sulfide and zinc pyrithione are cytostatic agents. Cytostatic drugs slow down the growth and formation of the top skin layer on the scalp. To get the best result, one should leave the shampoo on for as long as possible. It is recommended that a person lather the anti-dandruff shampoo at the beginning of the shower, leave it on until the end of the shower, then rinse, lather, and rinse again. Don't shampoo in hot water. Try lukewarm showers and rinse with some cool water. Warning: Once you begin using this treatment, stopping will often cause dandruff to return worse than before treatment began. Herbal Treatments According to the "Encyclopedia of Natural Healing" by Siegfried Gursche, nutrition can also play a big part in dandruff control. To counteract inefficient carbohydrates and fatty-acid metabolization, which can cause dandruff, include plenty of vitamin B in your diet. Garlic and oil of oregano are also excellent for fighting dandruff. You can take the supplements in capsule form or throw them into a recipe. You can also cut a fresh onion in half and rub it on the scalp. Add black current or evening primrose oil to your diet. These oils contain gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid hard to get in the diet that helps hair, skin and nails look healthy. Many people who are on low or no-fat diets lack essential fatty acids. Start with 500 mg twice a day. If the dandruff starts to clear up, cut the dose in half. It may take up to two months to begin seeing results. Vitamin E will relieve itching and reduce scaling, rub vitamin E oil into your scalp. Make sure to get plenty of zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, E and B-vitamins, and avoid excessive yeast and sugar. Research suggests that dandruff is at least in part caused by a fungus that thrives in yeasty, fatty, sugary environments. Though this does not necessarily directly affect the
conditions of your skin, your overall health will help with how your body responds to the fungus causing the dandruff. Sugar requires B vitamins in order to metabolize and can cause a deficiency. To compensate take a high potency B-complex to relieve the dandruff. Related to the sugar problem is the fact that diabetes may be the cause of your dandruff. If you have diabetes the high sugar levels result in dehydration of the tissues as the body flushes out fluids in an attempt to rid itself of the sugar. One of the end results is dry skin. Read the food labels carefully. There are many different types of sugar and sweetening agents to look for: sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, corn syrup, molasses, sorghum and maple syrup. Probiotics are dietary supplements containing live organisms (“good” bacteria and yeast) that help your body maintain or restore its balance of “good” and “bad” organisms. They are typically used to treat overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and yeast. Avoid foods that can encourage yeast growth, such as sugar. Reduce or, hopefully, eliminate all foods containing yeast. Examples are: bread and baked goods, cheese, soy sauce, fermented condiments, wines and alcoholic beverages. Even with a yeast-free diet it may take a month or so to relieve the dandruff. In a study, men with dandruff took powdered probiotics (in this case, a type of bacteria called “Lactobacillus paracasei”) every day. They avoided yogurt or other fermented milk products that also contain probiotic bacteria. Within four weeks they had noticeably less dandruff, and after two months, nearly two thirds of the subjects had good improvement or total healing of their symptoms. They had less flaking, redness, itching, and greasiness. They also had significantly less dandruff-causing yeast growing on their scalps.
Home remedies: Over a sink, squirt lemon juice directly on your scalp and gently massage the juice in with the tips of your fingers. Make sure you cover your entire scalp to get best results. Let the lemon juice work its wonders for about 15 minutes, then wash your hair as you normally would. If you used enough lemon juice, your scalp shouldn't itch after the first or second treatment. Dandruff may require multiple treatments to the full effect (keep in mind that this is a temporary treatment, repeat this process if you get dandruff again later). Add 3 drops of tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic, to a small amount of shampoo and then wash your hair. Massage the mixture into the scalp and let it sit for 15 minutes prior to rinsing clean. Tea tree oil has been found effective in one study that involved 126 people with mild to moderate dandruff. They used either a 5% tea tree oil shampoo or a placebo daily for four weeks. At the end of the study, the tea tree oil shampoo significantly reduced dandruff. No adverse effects were reported. Although promising, this was not a double-blind study (which means that the researchers knew which participants were using tea tree oil and which were using the placebo), so it cannot be considered solid evidence that tea tree oil works. Sun exposure is good for dandruff. That's because direct ultraviolet light has an antiinflammatory effect on scaly skin conditions. And it may explain why dandruff tends to be less severe in summer. Don't sunbathe; just spend a little time outdoors. Limit sun exposure to 30 minutes or less per day. And wear your normal sunscreen on exposed skin. You have to balance the sun's benefit to your scalp against its harmful effect on your skin in general.
Apple cider vinegar will help restore the proper acid/alkaline balance of the scalp and kill the bacteria that clogs the pores that release oil to the scalp. The clogged pores result in scales and crusts being formed. Apply apple cider vinegar diluted 50% with water to the scalp and let dry. There is no need to rinse. Another similar remedy suggests pouring two tablespoons into a cup, applying the straight vinegar to the scalp, and leaving it on from 15 minutes to three hours before shampooing. It is the acid in these remedies that helps bring the scalp back into chemical balance. It may have something to do with correcting your hair's PH balance. Rub some pure coconut oil in your hair daily. The dandruff should clear up in a few days. Combine olive oil and ginger root and apply to your scalp before shampooing. If your dandruff is really bad, put the mixture on 10-15 minutes before shampooing. Rub rosemary oil, add 4-5 drops to your normal shampoo to give it an additional boost. Lemon Essential oil is great for the hair as it clears dandruff, removes sebum and acts as a very effective anti-bacterial treatment. Add 4-5 drops to your normal shampoo to give it an additional boost. Precautions: Rashes might develop on sensitive skin. Lemon Essential oil has phototoxic (might turn toxic after UV exposure) properties so try avoid direct sunlight exposure before washing it off. Make a tea of either sage or burdock and use as a rinse after shampooing. Make a rinse by boiling four heaping teaspoons of dried thyme in two cups of water for ten minutes; strain and allow to cool. Massage this tea in your clean, damp hair; do not rinse out. The oil from the thyme has antiseptic properties. After shampooing, use a diluted solution of conditioner, or plain water, to which you've added one or two drops of essential oil of rosemary and rose geranium. Rub into the scalp and leave for 8-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and repeat each time that you shampoo. Researching Further If you are really interested to learn more about essential oils as an alternative treatment for other conditions or for general well-being, you can go to magicalherbology.com and check out our products. Warning: Contact your medical professional if patches of dandruff drain fluid or pus, form crusts, or become very red or painful.
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