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5 effective home remedies to clear your dandruff fast

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Flakiness, itching, and dryness are signals that you have the dreadful dandruff. Some estimate that about half of the world’s population have had dandruff at some point in their life.

This was a surprising statistic to me.

While dandruff is not a condition that hurts physically, it can be embarrassing when you unexpectedly see those flaky particles on your clothes at the most inappropriate times

Many people believe that only unclean people have dandruff which is not true. The truth is, it can grow on any scalp irrespective of gender, cleanliness, or health.

I have had my fair share of dandruff problems until I decided to do whatever it takes for a permanent solution.

Through my journey of trial and error, I was able to identify some natural items (as you know I always prefer the natural option) that work.  So let us explore the problem and its lasting solution.

How dandruff Happens?

The most common dandruff that we experience is from a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia globosa or from a mild form of “Seborrheic Dermatitis”. Simply put, Malassezia yeast is harmless and commonly found on our skin.

It feeds on the sebum that is naturally secreted on our scalp. By feeding on the sebum, it produces omega-9 fatty acid which irritates the scalp.

Therefore, the scalp tries to get rid of this irritation by renewing the skin cells more rapidly. These excess skin cells clump together and flake off the scalp as dandruff.

There you have it. knowing the cause and process of this embarassing problem will take us closer to its remedy

Causes of dandruff

The accurate cause of dandruff is not clear but many believe that the following play a factor in its development:

  • Sensitivity to hair care products
  • Irritated, oily scalp
  • Not washing your hair for long periods can boost the growth of the yeast


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Symptoms of dandruff

Dandruff known for its dryness tends to flare/worsen during cold seasons, dry seasons, increased stress levels in the body, etc. Its typical symptoms are:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Flaky particles in the hair, scalp, eyebrows, beard etc.
  • Scaly or crusty scalp

It is interesting to be reminded on Mayo clinic that dandruff is not limited to the scalp. It can be found in the eyebrows and beards. This is something I think we tend to forget.

They also claimed that men are more likely to have dandruff than women. Another interesting claim.  What do you think of that?

Home remedies for dandruff

At best, dandruff is embarrassing and annoying and at worst, it can be inflammatory, itchy, and cause much discomfort. Finding a lasting solution to dandruff doesn’t have to break the bank or be difficult.

We have countless shampoos, creams, and other products that are touted to be the one solution we need to say goodbye to this fungal growth forever. However, most of them are not as effective as they portray in their advertisements.

We have all had that experience.

Below are Simple, cheap, and easy options for you to choose according to what is most suitable and convenient for you.

I have tried many other home remedies and some shampoos in my struggle against dandruff but these are the ones that have solved the problem or helped me in curing it forever.

Let us dive in:

Neem leaves

One of the most common plants found in Africa and India is the Neem plant. One cannot speak enough on the uses and importance of this plant. So today we will only be using it for dandruff. In particular, we will be using the leaves.

Neem is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial plant which makes it ideal for dandruff. It can also prevent the regular occurrence of dandruff on your head as explained on the Head and Shoulders website

How to use

You can use either fresh leaves or the powdered leaves.

  • Make an adequate paste of the powdered neem leaves with water and some lemon juice if you wish. Just enough to make it moist and sticky. For fresh leaves, pound/blend an adequate amount for your scalp into paste with some water.
  • Massage the mixture into your scalp
  • Leave for about 20-30 minutes
  • Rinse off
  • Shampoo and condition your hair.

Alternatively, using the neem water extract:

  • Boil 2 hand-full leaves In just enough water to rinse your scalp or 2 tablespoons of the powder.
  • After it boils once 
  • Turn off the heat
  • Allow it to cool down until it is just warm to the touch
  • Sieve the water extract and massage it into your scalp and do not rinse until about an hour later.
  • You can also let it dry by itself
  • Or pour the extract into your spray bottle and dampen your hair with it about three times a week.
  • You can wash your hair after every round with it but its not necessary
  • Keep the neem water refrigerated to prevent it from going bad

Where to get neem leaves:

They are easily available in Indian shops and online stores. There you will probably get the dried neem leaves powder. Don’t worry, it works just as well as the fresh leaves.

The dried neem leaves are available on Amazon. It is organic and costs less than $10 for 227g/8oz.

Aspirin tablets

We usually know this as a pharmaceutical drug mostly used for pain, fever or inflammation but today we are going to be using it differently.

I included aspirin in the remedies because it contains salicylic acid which is effective against the yeast-like fungus of dandruff. It is also added in some anti-dandruff shampoos.

How to use:

  • Crush two tablets of uncoated Aspirin and add them to your shampoo
  • If you are not using one,
  • Mix it with water and massage it into your scalp.
  • Leave for about 10-20 minutes and rinse.
  • Style your hair as usual.

Hair oil:

Neem/Tea tree oil

Tea tree is often recommended for people with dandruff because of its proven effectiveness. Neem oil also has similar effect and it works just as well

To hasten clearing out the dandruff, we are going to need tea tree or neem oil (or any other anti-fungal oil) as a hair oil while using these remedies to wash and rinse the hair.

With the combination of the washes/rinses and an anti-fungal oil, dandruff has nowhere to go but away.

A combination of both oil and hair mask remedies can rid you of dandruff in 2-3 weeks.

Yes, thats right! Hooray! (pardon my excitement haha)

Where to get them:

In health stores and natural products stores.

Fushi has a good quality organic cold-pressed neem oil that costs less than $10 for 50 ml. I will recommend this product because it is affordable and of high quality which means most of the good compounds that clear dandruff are still in the oil. You can get it on healthclick.com

Tea tree oil by Now Foods is available on Vita Springs at $13 for 2 oz/55 ml and $20 for 4 oz/110 ml depending on the size that you want.

This is not an essential oil because it has already been diluted for immediate use.

If you find the concentration is too high for you (which will probably not happen), you can simply further dilute it with a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, etc.

Baking soda

Using baking soda for dandruff is not really the best option simply because it can cause an allergic reaction of extreme itching on the scalp for some. Dryness is another factor that also exacerbates dandruff.

Also, if you are not careful you might hurt yourself. This is because, baking soda by itself is a strong acid that if used carelessly, can burn you literally and damage your scalp so be careful when using this remedy.

Nevertheless, it worked for some and making it an option for clearing dandruff..

Despite the caution that one must take while using baking soda, baking soda exfoliates dead skin on the scalp and has anti-fungal properties. As mentioned earlier, the dead skin cells are one of the major issues of dandruff.  

In other words, it can be the solution you have been looking for!

How to use:

  • Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water about half a liter.* you can dilute it further if it is too concentrated for you.
  • Massage the mixture into your scalp.
  • Leave for 10 minutes then rinse and condition your hair as baking soda can really cause dryness as it strips the hair of its natural oils.
  • Repeat about twice a week (not more than that) or even once a week and notice your results.

The best remedy that I have used for dandruff is: *drum roll*

Apple cider vinegar

Just like coconut oil, apple vinegar has a wide range of uses from food, skincare, medicine, insecticide, etc. One thing I can add is that it is very effective for dandruff.

When I first started using it, I was not expecting much as I was in my trial and error phase of the dandruff elimination journey. I didn’t even stick to the regimen as I should.

About 7 days after I started using it for dandruff, I was very surprised to find so little flakiness or itching on my hair. That was when I knew that I have found the real thing.

There are two ways of applying it which are while washing your hair and in-between hair washes. It is important that you know what concentration of the apple vinegar-water mix works best for you else, if it is too diluted, it will not be effective.

How to use:

  • Mix apple vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:3. you can further dilute it if it is too concentrated for your scalp. You will know this if you can feel tingling on your scalp/skin.
  • After you finished washing your hair, rinse your hair with the water-vinegar mix. Make sure everywhere on your scalp is included in the rinse. Massage it well into the scalp.
  • Leave it for 10 minutes on your scalp then rinse you are done
  • Dry your hair and style it as you usually do.

As for the treatment between hair washes

  • Make a vinegar/water mix as you did previously
  • Store it in a spray bottle for no longer than a week.
  • The spray bottle can be bought or recycled from other bottles you have at home.
  • Dampen your scalp not the hair with the apple vinegar mix
  • Towel dry your hair.
  • You can just let your hair air-dry also.
  • Alternatively, keep the vinegar/water mix in a bottle/jar if you don’t have a spritz bottle.
  • Use it at least 4 times a week. That will be every other day.
  • Every day will get you faster results though if you can.

*Note: I will recommend that you use the apple vinegar during the hair washing method and while your hair is styled between washes method. Using both methods will hasten in clearing the dandruff.

Continue with this process for about 1-3 weeks depending on the severity of your dandruff and see for your self!

*Take note:

  • Close your eyes while rinsing your hair both in the shower and between hair washes as the vinegar will irritate your eyes.
  • Remember to complete this treatment until all the dandruff is gone or else if you stop while it remains even a little left, it will re-populate on your scalp and you are back to square one. Take note!

*Note: Remember to buy the raw unfiltered Apple vinegar that has the mother because it is more effective than a refined Apple vinegar where many of its properties have been lost.

But, you can buy whatever one you available if that was all you could get. It will work too maybe just not as fast.

A quick tip

Generally, from my experience, I have learned that when treating dandruff it is important that you take quick and consistent action because the fungus grows fast and can be very stubborn.

A very committed and rigorous 2-weeks treatment of dandruff is better than a 1-month relaxed one.

10-day dandruff elimination treatment

To cure dandruff, you need focused and consistent action for atleast 7-10 days. This period can be more or less depending on the severity of the dandruff and your consistent efforts. Based on the remedies outlined above, Here is what you need to do to cure your dandruff fast:

  • Select either the neem or apple vinegar treatment. These two are the best, safest, and healthiest options from the list of 4 remedies above
  • Use them as directed both the rinse and the hair mask as often as you can. Preferably every 2-3 days with the rinse/spray being applied every day.
  • Stop using other hair oils and creams you might be using and use only the neem/tea tree oil. Or a neem/tea tree-based oil.
  • That should do it. Do let me know how it worked out for you 🙂

Common questions on dandruff

  • Is there a difference between dandruff on men and women
    • No. They are the same. What will work for women to clear their dandruff will also work for men with dandruff. In fact, it is easier for men to clear their dandruff because their hair is usually shorter.
  • Can you pass dandruff to another person?
    • While some say that it is not communicable, I believe that it is based on my experience. I noticed that people can get dandruff when sharing items with someone that has dandruff such as combs, head wraps, etc.
  • Does dandruff cause hair fall/balding?
    • No. As much as I know, dandruff doesn’t cause hair fall or balding. Hair fall and balding are a whole different topic altogether but dandruff to my knowledge is not a factor. Maybe one can say that it can impede hair growth and is detrimental to a healthy scalp.
  • If I just wash my hair regularly will my hair dandruff go away on its own?
    • No. I am afraid dandruff will not go away on its own without treatment.  Washing your hair regularly will only reduce the amount of skin cell being produced as explained above but not the dandruff growth itself.
  • Do DIY protein hair masks cause/boost dandruff growth?
    • I do not have much evidence for this but there is a likelihood that yes DIY protein hair masks might increase your dandruff or introduce dandruff to your hair based on some testimonials that I have heard from people.


To have an effective solution that will banish dandruff from your head forever, that remedy must have an anti-fungal/anti-yeast property as they are the main cause of dandruff growth. This can be a natural product, a food item, oil, hair cream, etc.

Other options people use are shampoos and hair creams especially the hair creams that contain sulfur such as Dermatol, the ever-popular soul mate cream, etc. I know some of the recommended remedies do not have the best smell but remember, you can use them to get rid of dandruff forever, and then you do not have to go through this ever again. So try and be patient.

A holistic approach is needed for a more permanent solution or else it will comeback and continue to live comfortably on your head (may that never be). So take care of your environment, your diet and general health. I believe you can have the permanent solution that we are all vying for. Good luck!

Share with us in the comments below your experience with dandruff and your recommendations. If you have tried any of the mentioned remedies before, do to let us know if they helped/didn’t help you.

I hope you learnt something from this post that will be the final nail in the dandruff’s coffin. Thank you for stopping by. Kindly rate this article down below so that I can know how to serve you best.

Bye for now!

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