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10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Dandruff Naturally – Healthline

Tea tree oil, crushed aspirins, baking soda, and aloe vera are some of the many natural remedies you may try for dandruff. If they don’t work after 2 weeks, consider consulting a healthcare professional.
Dandruff is characterized by itchy, white flakes of skin on your scalp that may be uncomfortable.
Nearly 50% of the global population will experience dandruff at least once in their life.
It may be caused by multiple factors, including:
Though there are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) products designed to treat dandruff, these 10 simple home remedies may be just as effective.
Historically, tea tree oil has been used to help treat skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.
It may also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which could help alleviate symptoms of dandruff.
One older review suggests that tea tree oil is effective at fighting Malazessia, which may cause both seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
Another study found that applying placental tissue soaked in tea tree oil to the skin was more effective than a prescription antifungal treatment for healing lesions caused by this fungus.
Despite these studies, more high quality research is needed to fully claim tea tree oil’s benefits.
Tea tree oil may also cause irritation in those with sensitive skin. Therefore, it’s best to dilute it by adding a few drops to a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil before applying it directly to your skin.
Renowned for its multiple health benefits, coconut oil may be used as a natural remedy for dandruff.
Research suggests that it may improve skin hydration, prevent dryness, and decrease inflammation when applied as a moisturizer.
One older, 8-week study found that applying coconut oil to the skin reduced symptoms of atopic dermatitis by 68%.
In a 16-week study of 140 women, applying coconut oil to the scalp may have helped improve the scalp microbiome and certain markers of dandruff. However, further research is needed.
Coconut oil and its compounds have also been shown to have antimicrobial properties in some test-tube studies. That said, researchers have not yet examined the effects of the specific strain of fungus that causes dandruff.
Aloe vera is a succulent that’s often added to skin ointments, cosmetics, and lotions.
When applied to the skin, it may help treat skin conditions like burns, psoriasis, and cold sores.
An older review suggests that aloe vera’s antibacterial and antifungal properties may help protect against dandruff.
Similarly, test-tube studies suggest that aloe vera may be effective against several species of fungi and may help control certain fungal infections.
Other test-tube studies suggest that aloe vera may reduce inflammation, which could relieve dandruff symptoms.
Despite these promising results, additional studies are needed.
Stress is believed to affect many aspects of health and wellness, influencing everything from chronic conditions to mental health.
While stress itself doesn’t cause dandruff, it may worsen symptoms such as dryness and itching.
One older analysis suggests that long-term high stress levels may also alter or suppress your immune system’s activity. This may impair your body’s ability to fight off fungal infections and skin conditions that contribute to dandruff.
In another older study of 166 people with seborrheic dermatitis, approximately 28% reported that stress was a trigger for dermatitis symptoms.
Many different types of techniques may help you keep stress levels under control, such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
Apple cider vinegar has been associated with a variety of health benefits and may be used as a natural remedy for dandruff.
The vinegar’s acidity is believed to help stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells on your scalp. Apple cider vinegar is also said to balance the pH of your skin to reduce fungal growth and thus fight dandruff.
However, no studies support these claims. Many of the supposed benefits of apple cider vinegar for dandruff are based on anecdotal evidence.
One small study of 22 people found that applying diluted apple cider vinegar to the skin topically didn’t improve eczema or skin barrier integrity. It even worsened skin irritation.
That said, older test-tube studies suggest that apple cider vinegar and its compounds may prevent the growth of certain types of fungus.
If you’d like to try using apple cider vinegar, add a few tablespoons to your shampoo or combine it with just a few drops of essential oils and spray directly onto your hair.
Salicylic acid is one of the primary compounds found in aspirin that’s responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.
This acid is also an ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos. It may help to get rid of scaly skin and loosen flakes so they can be removed.
In an older 4-week study, 19 people with dandruff used two shampoos containing either piroctone olamine and salicylic acid or zinc pyrithione. Both shampoos decreased dandruff, but the one containing salicylic acid was more effective in reducing the severity of scaling.
Another small study showed that a shampoo containing salicylic acid significantly improved irritation and itching in 10 people with scalp inflammation.
For an easy dandruff remedy, try crushing two aspirin tablets and adding the powder to your shampoo before washing your hair.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in your body.
Not only do they make up the cell membranes that surround your cells, but they’re also crucial for the function of your heart, immune system, and lungs.
Omega-3s are also important for your skin health since they help manage oil production and hydration, promote wound healing, and prevent premature aging. A deficiency may cause a scaly, itchy, or rough rash to appear.
Although more research is needed, omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce inflammation, which may, in turn, relieve irritation and dandruff symptoms.
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include:
You could also take a fish oil supplement to help increase your intake.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that have been linked to numerous health benefits, including allergy protection, lower cholesterol levels, and increased weight loss.
These bacteria may also enhance immune function, which might help your body fight the fungal infections that cause dandruff.
One study suggests that taking probiotics for 56 days significantly reduced dandruff severity in 60 people.
Probiotics have also been shown to help treat and prevent skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis, especially in infants and children.
Probiotic supplements are widely available. They may also be found in fermented foods, such as kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Baking soda is a quick, convenient, and readily available dandruff remedy.
It may act as a gentle exfoliant to help remove dead skin cells and reduce scaling and itchiness. It also has antifungal properties that may benefit dandruff treatment.
An older test-tube study measured the antifungal effects of baking soda on some of the most common strains of fungus that cause skin infections. It suggests that baking soda completely inhibited fungal growth in 79% of specimens after 7 days.
Another older study looked at the effects of baking soda on 31 people with psoriasis. Treatment with baking soda baths significantly reduced both itchiness and irritation after just 3 weeks.
However, more research is needed, as one study found that baking soda had no effect on psoriasis, skin hydration, or skin redness.
For best results, apply baking soda directly to wet hair and massage it into your scalp. Let it sit for 1–2 minutes, and then continue shampooing your hair as usual.
Some people may find that limiting the consumption of certain foods could help relieve inflammation, which might help improve scalp health. However, more research is needed on the relationship between diet and dandruff.
Dietary modifications may prevent fungal infections by controlling yeast growth and improving the gut microbiome, which may aid in the treatment of dandruff.
Some foods that you may want to limit are:
Additionally, certain foods may also trigger flare-ups of skin conditions such as eczema, which may contribute to dandruff.
While specific trigger foods vary from person to person, some of the most common are white flour, gluten-containing products, and nightshades such as eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.
Additional treatment methods may be necessary if home remedies don’t help treat your dandruff.
Many OTC medicated shampoos and scalp treatments contain antifungal or antibacterial ingredients designed to decrease dandruff.
If these products don’t work after 2–3 weeks, you may want to consult a doctor to determine whether other prescription shampoos or medications would be beneficial.
Healthcare professionals may prescribe topical antifungal medications, corticosteroids, or immunomodulators to help treat dandruff and other skin conditions.
The best approach to manage dandruff is to use specialized shampoo and scalp treatments.
Ingredients in dandruff shampoos that help eliminate dandruff include zinc, selenium, and ketoconazole. If the cause is a fungal infection, you may need specialized medicine.
Using things like baking soda, probiotics, or some oils like coconut oils can help reduce dandruff naturally. Sometimes changing your diet or reducing your stress levels may also help.
Some types of dandruff may come and go, but dandruff caused by a fungal infection will need medication to treat.
Dandruff can be an itchy, irritating problem to deal with. However a variety of natural remedies may help reduce symptoms and provide relief.
If these natural remedies don’t help treat your symptoms of dandruff, speak with a doctor to find out whether other treatment options may be necessary to provide long-lasting relief.

Last medically reviewed on September 12, 2023
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Current Version
Jan 29, 2024
Written By
Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD
Edited By
Alina Sharon
Copy Edited By
Copy Editors
Sep 12, 2023
Medically Reviewed By
Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN
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