Saturday, March 25, 2006

Natural Treatments For Dandruff

Dandruff, known to science as seborrheic dermatitis, is one of the most common conditions of the hair and scalp. In a classic case of dandruff, there is inflammation of the top layers of the skin, which causes scales on the scalp and other parts of the body. This mild inflammation of the scalp is caused by the reaction of the body to both the pityrosporum yeast and to products that break down oils.

Many holistic health practitioners feel that dandruff can be a manifestation of other health problems, particularly problems with the digestive system, and that it is necessary to treat the underlying problem in order to treat dandruff effectively.

Dandruff often develops slowly, with white or yellow flakes appearing on the hair and scalp, sometimes accompanied by redness and itching. More severe forms of dandruff may be accompanied by yellow or red scaled pimples along the hairline, in the ear, behind the ears or even in the creases beside the nose.

There are a number of factors that can worsen dandruff. These factors include:

Ø Genetics – dandruff has a definite genetic component

Ø Emotional and physical stress

Ø Climate – dandruff is generally worse in the winter time

Dandruff may also be associated with psoriasis, another common skin condition. In addition, those with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease may experience severe dandruff or other types of seborrheic dermatitis.

Conventional forms of dandruff treatment include special shampoos containing such ingredients as zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid and sulfur. For severe cases of dandruff, hydrocortisone cream or ketoconzole cream are often used.

There are natural ways to treat dandruff as well, and these natural cures can be remarkably effective. A combination of dietary changes, vitamin supplements and topical treatments can help cure dandruff problems and keep them from coming back.
Diet And Dandruff

Those prone to dandruff should avoid fried foods and reduce their intake of fats, sugars, chocolate, dairy products, seafood and peanuts. At the same time, intake of green leafy vegetables and raw foods should be increased.
Vitamins And Nutritional Supplements

Biotin is widely used to treat dandruff. Biotin is a water soluble member of the vitamin B family, and it helps to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. A typical dosage of biotin for treating dandruff is 3000 mcg twice a day. In addition to biotin supplements, foods rich in biotin include brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast, nuts, whole grains, egg yolks, liver, sardines, cauliflower, mushrooms and bananas.

Other nutritional supplements used in the prevention and treatment of dandruff conditions include:

Ø Vitamin A

Ø Vitamin B complex vitamins, particularly vitamin B1 and B2

Ø Omega fatty acids, particularly omega-6

Ø Zinc
Natural Topical Treatments

There are a number of effective topical treatments for dandruff, including:

Ø Grapefruit Seed Extract - A few drops of extract should be added to your regular shampoo.

Ø Tea Tree Oil - Look for a special tea tree oil shampoo, or add a few drops of pure tea tree oil to your favorite shampoo.

Ø Apple Cider Vinegar - Pour the vinegar directly onto your hair and scalp, then wrap your hair in a towel for one hour. Remove the towel and wash hair normally.

Ø Selenium - Use a selenium based shampoo. Selenium works as an anti-fungal agent.

Ø Flaxseed Oil or Vitamin E Oil - These oils should be applied to the scalp each night and then washed off in the morning. These oils can help soothe and nourish the scalp. An old sheet or a towel should be used to protect the pillow from stains.