About half of adults, or roughly 50%, experience dandruff globally. Dandruff is a scalp condition that causes the flaking and shedding of dead skin cells from your scalp. The rapid turnover of your scalp cells often causes dandruff. This leads to the shedding of visible flakes.

Normally, when skin cells die, some amount of dead cells flaking is considered normal. However, dandruff is when excess flaking occurs with redness and irritation on your scalp. These dandruff flakes appear small or large, dry or oily, and white or yellowish depending on the severity and other causative factors.

Dandruff can worsen due to overgrowth of fungus, dry skin, stress, sensitivity to hair care products, cold weather, and skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis. Due to higher levels of oils and androgens, men have more dandruff than women. Dandruff, although not a serious condition, can cause awkwardness. It is not confined to your scalp alone but can affect your eyebrows, ears, sides of your nose, beard, mustache, and the hairy part of your chest. Dandruff can appear on any part of your body that has hair follicles. 

It can worsen if left untreated or not properly managed. Homeopathic medicines help treat dandruff and ensure long-term relief. The advantage of using homeopathy for dandruff is that it treats the root cause of dandruff.

Role of homeopathy in dandruff

Homeopathic medicines treat dandruff with a holistic approach. These remedies treat the underlying cause of dandruff and prevent its recurrence. In homeopathy, highly diluted natural substances are used to stimulate your body’s self-healing response. These medications act on a cellular level and slow down the multiplication of scalp cells. Constitutional homeopathic remedies act as immunomodulators and prevent abnormal multiplication of scalp cells.

Top five homeopathic medicines for dandruff

Thuja occidentalis (Thuja)

Common name: Arbor vitae or white cedar

Thuja is indicated in cases of dandruff with oily hair and scalp. It gives good results in white scaly dandruff. There is intense itching of the scalp. Scratching relieves this itching. Often, these people experience a stinging sensation on the scalp after scratching.

Natrum muriaticum ( Nat-m.)

Common name: Chloride of sodium

Natrum mur. is indicated for white, flaky dandruff accompanied by hair fall. The scalp is often greasy and oily. There are dry eruptions on the scalp, especially on the edges of the scalp. Dandruff with an itchy scalp is an indication of this remedy.

Kalium sulphuricum (Kali-s.)

Common name: Potassium sulphate

Kali. sulph. is a homeopathic medicine for dandruff with yellow flakes that are moist and sticky. It is effective for dandruff with scalp psoriasis. Kali. sulph. works well in later stages of dandruff where there is inflammation and swelling over the scalp. This remedy is prescribed for dandruff that worsens under warm conditions and in the evening. 

Graphites naturalis (Graph.)

Common name: Black lead

Graphites is helpful for scaly dandruff with itching and burning on the scalp. Scalp flakiness decreases after hair wash but comes back again. It works well in case of dandruff flakes behind ears, in the mustache area, and on the eyelid margins.

Graphites suited for an itchy scalp that gets temporarily  better after hair wash.

Mezereum (Mez.)

Common name: Daphne mezereum, February Daphne

Mezereum helps in cases of chronic dandruff with thick scabs over the scalp. These scabs are hard to remove and often leave scars behind. Sometimes thick discharge gets collected under these scabs. Gluey discharge from scalp scabs with intense itching is a characteristic symptom of Mezereum.

Causes of dandruff

Fungal infection 

Fungal infection by Malassezia is one of the causative factors for dandruff. Overgrowth of this fungus can worsen your dandruff. This fungus feeds on oils secreted by your hair follicles, leading to skin irritation and other symptoms of dandruff.

Dry skin

When your skin lacks moisture, it becomes flaky and sheds more, leading to dandruff.

  Allergy to hair products

Certain hair grooming products like shampoo, conditioner, and hair oils can irritate your scalp. It can cause scalp flaking and result in dandruff.

Stress

Stress triggers dandruff by increasing the normal balance of oils on your scalp.

Cold weather

Cold weather makes your skin dry and more prone to develop dandruff.

Inflammatory skin conditions

Inflammatory skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis can cause increased skin turnover, resulting in dandruff.

Gender

Dandruff is more common and severe in men than women. 

Hormonal imbalance

Changes in your hormones can lead to an overproduction of skin oil. This creates a favorable environment for yeast causing dandruff.

Hereditary

If you have a family history of dandruff, you can be genetically prone to develop dandruff.

Symptoms of dandruff

Flakes on scalp

Dandruff is characterized by flakes that fall off from your hair on your shoulders. These flakes are noticeable when you wear dark clothes. The flakes are often white or yellow, dry or greasy, and small or large. Dandruff flakes can also manifest like a dry, flaky sheet on your scalp. In severe cases, you might see pinkish or reddish areas of the scalp with swollen skin.  

Patches 

Rash-like patches with crusty scales on your scalp are common in dandruff. These patches make your scalp highly sensitive.

Itching 

Dandruff flakes irritate your scalp, causing dryness. This dryness of the scalp leads to itching, followed by uncontrollable scratching now and then.

Redness

Redness and inflammation of your scalp, forehead, ears, and eyebrow flaking can be seen associated with dandruff.

Seasonal aggravation

Dandruff and associated symptoms get worse, usually in the cold or winter season.  

Hair loss

Hair damage like increased hair breakage or hair loss from scratching can be seen due to dandruff. 

Treatment for dandruff 

Regular cleansing using a mild shampoo can help reduce oil and skin cell buildup in mild dandruff cases. You can use a medicated shampoo twice to three times a week and regular shampoo on other days. You can use shampoo with a moisturizing conditioner if you have dry hair.

Several hair and scalp products, both medicated and non-medicated, are available in different formulations like solutions, foams, gels, sprays, ointments, and oils. Finding the right routine may require experimenting with multiple products. Dandruff shampoos are classified based on their active ingredients; some are available in more potent formulations through prescription. Some common products are:

Pyrithione zinc shampoos 

Pyrithione zinc shampoos are formulated with the antibacterial and antifungal agent zinc pyrithione.

Tar-based shampoos 

Tar-based shampoos contain coal tar, which slows down the shedding of skin cells on your scalp, reducing flakiness. 

Salicylic acid shampoo

Shampoos containing salicylic acid help eliminate scaling and promote a healthier scalp.

Selenium sulfide shampoos 

Selenium sulfide shampoos contain an antifungal agent that helps reduce dandruff.

Ketoconazole shampoos 

Ketoconazole shampoos help kill dandruff-causing fungus that lives on your scalp.

Fluocinolone shampoos 

Fluocinolone shampoos contain a corticosteroid to control itching, flaking, and irritation.

Diet and lifestyle modifications for dandruff

Balanced diet

Ensure your diet includes various nutrient-rich foods, providing essential minerals and vitamins that contribute to overall skin health, and potentially reducing dandruff. 

Hydration 

Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate quantity of water. Adequate hydration supports overall skin health, including the scalp. Dehydration can lead to dryness and worsen dandruff issues.

Reduce sugar and processed foods

Reduce consumption of sugary and processed foods in your diet. High sugar can contribute to inflammation, which can affect the skin, including the scalp. 

Scalp care and hair care

Follow a regular and gentle hair care routine. Avoid excessive heat-styling tools and harsh chemicals that can remove natural oils from your scalp. Apply mild shampoo and hair conditioner suitable for your hair type, and consider alternating with a medicated dandruff shampoo. Regularly massage your hair during shampooing to help improve circulation and reduce chances of flakiness. 

Conclusion

Dandruff is a common problem worldwide. Stress, fungus growth, hormonal imbalance, cold weather, dry skin, and allergy all can contribute to dandruff. Individualized homeopathic treatment for dandruff can help you get rid of those itchy white flakes.

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