How to Get Rid of Dandruff

April 25, 2018

5 Ways You Can Reduce Dandruff 

Most everyone’s dealt with a flakey scalp at some point (cue the rotation of white shirts, hats, and deep side parts to hide the embarrassing suckers). Dandruff, which is actually a harmless yeast that sits on scalp causing skin to shed, tends to pop up with the change of the seasons, but it’s possible to avoid the itch, irritation, and yep—unsightly snowflakes—with a few changes to your haircare regimen and daily routine, says Pureology Artist Jamie Wiley. Here’s how to get your scalp in shape and dandruff-free. 

1.  Get a Super-Deep Clean

Dandruff likes to feed on hair sebum (a lovely mix of oil and dead skin), but you can cut off its food supply by washing with a clarifying shampoo every two to three days for a deeper clean. Pick a shampoo with natural antibacterial properties like baking soda, witch hazel, and tea tree oil (try Purify Shampoo) to cut through pesky oil and bacteria that’s built up in the scalp, and you’ll wipe out those pesky flakes without resorting to stinky chemicals. Working with colored hair? Double-check to make sure the shampoo formula’s gentle enough that it won’t strip your color, says Wiley.


2. Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

“Apple cider vinegar is amazing for getting rid of dandruff because the acid in the vinegar balances the PH on your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow,” says Wiley. A vinegar rinse can also lift and nix dirt and product buildup, all of which can prolong a battle with flakes. Look for an apple cider formula with moisturizing properties to protect softness and shine, and aim to work it through hair after shampooing once or twice a week. After rinsing your shampoo out, give hair a quick squeeze to get rid of excess water, then apply the vinegar rinse from the root to the end of hair. Leave it in for two to three minutes before rinsing out with water.


3. Don’t Forget to Hydrate 

Now that you know dandruff feeds on sebum, you might be tempted to temporarily toss moisturizing products out the window, but that’s a mistake, says Wiley. In fact, anytime you use a clarifying shampoo or vinegar rinse, you’ll want to follow up with a conditioner to seal in moisture and avoid over drying the scalp. (While it’s true that excess oil isn’t good for dandruff, dryness can exacerbate irritation and flaking, too.) Stick with a lightweight, gentle conditioner (Hydrate Sheer Condition quenches hair with Jojoba, green tea and sage but won’t weigh it down) and give hair a good rinse after working it through your scalp.


4. Chill Out

Anyone who has gotten a big pimple right before a job interview knows: stress and anxiety have a knack for showing up on the skin (and usually at the most inopportune times). Reason being? When you’re tense, a surge of the stress hormone cortisol travels throughout the body, and the immune system takes a hit, triggering skin flare-ups in a number of places, including the scalp. And because dealing with dandruff—especially on days when you want to wear a cute black dress—can be stressful, it’s a tough cycle to break out of. When possible, make time for adequate sleep and relaxation to calm your system down, and your scalp will likely benefit from the extra Zen, too.    


5. Chow on Healthy Foods

While it’s true that the products that touch our hair can make or break a healthy scalp, the foods that go inside our body matter, too, says Wiley. Cutting back on excess sugar, alcohol, and fried or fatty foods can minimize inflammation in the body, upping the odds for healthy, happy skin and fewer battles with flakes. Replace sweets and fats with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies (think: strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, and dark leafy greens) along with healthy omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, nuts, olive oil, and avocados) and your skin and scalp will show you the same love.