Dandruff is a condition that involves dry, itchy, flaking skin on the scalp. Its cause can be as simple as dry skin, the kind you might get in the winter because of the cold weather. Other times more complicated skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema or the fungal infection fungus malassezia are responsible. No matter the cause, dandruff generally responds to treatment. It is not curable, only controllable, so you may have to treat it repeatedly.
Wash your hair using a gentle over-the-counter shampoo every day. This removes oil and skin cell build up and is often sufficient if your case is not too serious, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Use a special over-the-counter dandruff shampoo if regular shampoos do not solve the problem. Such products may include any of several active ingredients such as zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole and coal tar. To give the shampoo time to work, leave it in your hair for at least five minutes. Use it ever day until you see results, the Mayo Clinic recommends. Then, to keep your dandruff at bay, continue a regimen of using the shampoo once or twice a week.
Apply an alternative therapy of tea tree oil, which reduces dandruff if you shampoo with it every day, according to the Mayo Clinic. It has antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal properties and is an ingredient in some shampoos sold in natural-food stores.
See a doctor or dermatologist, who can prescribe a prescription-strength shampoo or such other aggressive treatments as steroid lotions. Dermatologist Audrey Kunin recommends a “cocktail” of various therapeutic agents because interrupting the physiology of the dandrufcf condition at multiple points is more successful. Nizoral 2 percent shampoo and Capex, a steroid-based shampoo also known as FS shampoo, can be components of such treatment.
Reduce your use of styling products, such as hair sprays, gels mousses and waxes. They can accumulate in your hair and cause oiliness, contributing to dandruff. A bit of sunshine can also be helpful because of its drying effects, according to the Mayo Clinic. But do not overdo it because ultraviolet rays can be damaging to your skin. A diet with adequate levels of B vitamins and zinc can also help to mitigate dandruff.