Scalp skin constantly renews itself by the process called desquamation, wherein the skin cells are formed at the lower levels of the skin and over a period of 28 days it moves towards the outer surface called Stratum Corneum. On their way the cells undergo various dramatic changes and are invisibly shed as single dead cell from the skin surface.
In case of dandruff, this is caused by three fundamental factors-
- Malassezia globosa (fungus) and
- Individual susceptibility to skin reactions.
The turnover in the scalp skin is increased, which can shorten the cycle (cycle of cells being formed to being shed) from 28 days to 5 or 6 days. The most noticeable sign of dandruff is the large skin flakes, which is formed by large number of dead skin cells.
In the present day, almost one in every five individual suffers from dandruff problem, which is mainly caused due to their certain habits or activities which can trigger it like-
- Using too much hot water for washing hair- irritates the scalp and triggers dandruff.
- Washing hair too often with chemical based shampoos- removes natural oils from the scalp and irritates it.
- Postponing a much needed hair wash- allows the excessive collection of sebum and dust over scalp which can further cause the growth of Malassezia globosa fungus.
- Being stressed- causes various hormonal imbalances in the body resulting in triggering of dandruff.
- Smoking- causes dryness and increased sensitivity over scalp.
- Decreased water and nutrients intake- causes dryness and reduced immunity which can lead to severe dandruff.
- Excessive or non application of oil/hair conditioners- excessive oil content can cause fungal growth and non application can cause severe dryness and irritation.
An unattended dandruff condition can lead to severe skin inflammations, blepharitis (eye lid inflammation) etc. Neglecting dandruff may also lead to severe excessive hair fall. Hence, treating dandruff at the earliest should be the immediate concern. But treating dandruff is much easier with Ayurveda and with endless justified home remedies.
Few home remedies mentioned below can be used to treat dandruff-
- Thorough washing of scalp with decoction made from Kodo millet (paspalum scorbiculatum) in the morning hours and application of cotton soaked in gingelly oil over
the scalp during evening hours on the same day.
- Application of lemon juice mixed with coconut oil over scalp for 20 minutes and later applying an hair pack of hibiscus leaf paste.
- Application of activated charcoal made from Indian costus root (Saussurea lappa, also called as “kushta” plant in Ayurveda) with gingelly oil and then applying hair pack of hibiscus leaf paste. Then washing it off after few hours.
- Washing of hair with decoction made with neem leaves.
- Application of curd over scalp and washing it off with plain water after one hour.
The following steps can be followed to prevent dandruff-
- Regular cleaning and brushing of the hair.
- Avoiding chemical based shampoos and other hair products.
- Avoiding very hot water head bath.
- Managing stress and avoiding habits like smoking.
- Avoiding vigorous scratching of the scalp.
- Proper intake of nutritious food and water.
All said and done, dandruff is easily curable with Ayurveda but needs certain lifestyle changes as mentioned above. These home remedies can be well complimented with certain Ayurvedic hair oils and oral medicines.
Dr Sandeep S.
Sri sri college of ayurvedic science and research hospital , Bengaluru