Dandruff is an incredibly common skin condition that causes flakes of dry dead skin to fall from the scalp. Although it doesn’t pose any particular health risks, dandruff can be embarrassing and can sometimes cause the scalp to become itchy. In normal cases the skin on our scalp is naturally renewed and dead skin falls away slowly so that it is hardly noticeable. However for dandruff sufferers, this natural process of skin renewal becomes speeded up and thus significantly more dead skin cells are produced which have to be shed from the scalp via the hair.
It is not known exactly what causes dandruff, but the speeding up of the natural cycle of skin renewal may be attributed to a number of factors:
- Seborrhoeic Dermatitis – this is a condition which causes skin to become oily and can cause the skin on the scalp and other parts of the body to become dry, flaky and itchy.
- Malassezia – this is a type of fungus that lives naturally on the skin, normally being completely un-noticeable. However in some cases its growth can become out of control which in turn can accelerate new skin production.
- Other factors – there are a number of other factors that anecdotal evidence suggests can play a role in causing dandruff. These include stress, washing your hair too much or too little, using hair styling products and either very hot or very cold climates.
So what can you do to treat dandruff?
There are a number of commercially available anti-dandruff shampoos that can be bought over the counter from most pharmacies or supermarkets. These can contain ingredients such as zinc pyrithione (which acts against the malassezia fungus), salicylic acid (which helps to soften and shed dead skin cells) or selenium sulphide (which slows the production of skin cells whilst also acting against the fungi). In more extreme cases, or those which are as a result of seborrhoeic dermatitis, prescription treatments can be sought from your GP.
However, what if you would prefer to take a more natural route to treating dandruff? In that case a little of our amazing rosemary essential oil may be able to help. Rosemary oil will not only stimulate your scalp, helping to get rid of and flakes of dead skin, but it also has an anti-fungal effect which can work against the malssezia. We do not advise you to use rosemary oil neat, however it can prove very effective (and very pleasant) when added to a regular shampoo or used to create a healing hair oil. Simply mix 10 drops of rosemary essential oil to 100ml of a carrier oil (coconut is good as it is very beneficial for the hair itself) and massage into your scalp. Leave this on for at least 5 minutes before shampooing out.