Check Up: Dandruff is giving her hell

January 03, 2018


Jonique emails 'Check Up' about her scalp condition. She is 19 years old and has bad dandruff.

She is tired of repeating prescriptions from her doctor, and asks Check Up if there are any home remedies which she would find useful to try.

Dandruff is a common scalp condition in which the skin on the scalp flakes off. It is not contagious but can be embarrassing.

The flakes are grey-white in colour, oily, itchy, and tend to flake off into the hair and on to the shoulders.

Cases can be mild to severe, and some of the more severe cases may require medicated shampoo and even oral medication.

It is caused because the person is not shampooing the hair often enough or the scalp has become colonised by Malassezia furfur, a fungus which normally colonises the body but which under certain conditions can overgrow and build up, causing dandruff on the scalp (and Tinea/Pityriasis versicolor on the trunk).

It can also be caused by having dry skin or sensitivity to certain hair products being used. Adults with Parkinson's disease or who are HIV-positive or immunocompromised are also more likely to develop dandruff.

Shampoos which work to treat dandruff include:

• Head and Shoulders Janson shampoo, which contains antibacterial and antifungal agent zinc pyrithione.

- Tar-based shampoos, for example, Neutrogena T/Gel.

- Shampoos containing salicylic acid, for example, Neutrogena T/Sal.

- Selsun Blue shampoo containing Selenium sulphide

- Ketoconazole shampoo, for example, Nizoral shampoo.

These shampoos should be used daily or alternate days at first, then use can be cut back.

Natural treatment for dandruff would include the following:

- Aspirin which contains salicylic acid. Crush two aspirin and add to regular shampoo whenever washing hair.

- Wet hair and rub in baking soda into the scalp then rinse out (skip the shampoo). This reduces scalp fungi.

- Tea tree oil.

- Spray a cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water on to the scalp and wrap head for 15 minutes-1 hour, then wash hair as usual. Do this twice weekly. This changes scalp acidity and makes it hard for fungus to grow.

- For bad dandruff, wash hair with regular shampoo, rinse with alcohol-based mouthwash, follow with regular conditioner. It will prevent scalp yeast from growing.

- Massage three spoonfuls of coconut oil into the scalp and leave in for an hour before rinsing scalp and hair, then shampoo normally.

- Mix crushed garlic with honey and massage into the scalp before washing as usual.

- Massage olive oil into the scalp overnight and cover scalp with a shower cap. Shampoo as is regular in the morning.

Jonique, hope you get rid of the dandruff soon!

Write Lifeline: PO box 1731: KGN 8. Email AJM

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