These Home Remedies for Dandruff are natural and effective, and completely safe for use in children. Fix dandruff without harmful chemicals!
We’ve all seen those advertisements, of men and women getting ready to attend an important event, only to find embarrassing white flakes on their all-black outfits! Yes, dandruff has been a problem for ages, but the fact is that it doesn’t just affect adults who have to attend meetings and weddings – kids are also equally vulnerable!
Dandruff is often considered a hygiene problem, whereas it is actually composed of dead skin cells. These appear as white flakes and can cause irritation and itchiness, among other symptoms. The medical term for dandruff is pityriasis capitis, and it is also referred to as seborrheic dermatitis.
Causes for Dandruff in Kids
Your child probably had her first experience of dandruff when she was a baby, in the form of cradle cap. Cradle cap is seen in 0-3 month-old infants, and affects up to 42% of babies across the world. This usually clears up on its own by the first birthday, but sometimes it may persist as the child gets older. There are many reasons kids can get dandruff; here are some of them:
- Pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis
- Extremely dry skin
- Cold and dry weather
- Contact dermatitis or allergies to skin and hair products
- Product buildup due to improper rinsing of hair products
- Infrequent scalp cleansing
- Diet rich in saturated fat and inflammation-causing foods
- Infection due to Malassezia fungus
- Hormonal changes during puberty
The most common signs of dandruff in kids are:
- White flakes appearing on the scalp or falling on clothes
- Constant itching
- Red patches on the scalp
- Temporary hair loss in patches
- Oily areas on the scalp
Dandruff is generally harmless, and is not contagious, unlike head lice. However, it can affect the quality of life with the constant itching and can cause problems later if left untreated. Most cases of dandruff don’t require medical attention and can be easily treated at home.
While there are many medicated shampoos and OTC drugs for dandruff treatment, we need to be cautious with children as their skin and scalp are more sensitive. Today we’ve rounded up 15 of the safest and most effective home remedies for dandruff in kids, using only natural ingredients.
1. Coconut Oil
In India, the one thing most people reach out for in case of any home remedy is coconut oil. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil helps fight pathogens and keeps the scalp free from infection.
Coconut oil is also known for its moisturizing properties, which help keep the scalp hydrated and prevent the itchiness that arises from dryness. This is particularly true in the case of virgin coconut oil and eczema.
Studies have also shown that coconut oil can heal the scalp microbiome, improving overall scalp health and reducing inflammation. Simply apply coconut oil to the scalp and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. You can also warm the oil for added hair growth benefits.
2. Aloe vera
Since one of the most annoying aspects of having dandruff is itching, most home remedies for dandruff focus on alleviating this symptom. This is where aloe vera enters the picture since its gel is known for its healing and soothing properties.
Aloe vera has long been used for soothing sunburn, and it works just as well on other scalp conditions like psoriasis and dry scalp. Aloe vera gel is rich in anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, which helps to prevent fungal infections of the scalp.
Like coconut oil, aloe vera is also immensely hydrating and keeps the scalp and skin from drying out. To get the benefits of aloe vera, extract fresh gel from aloe leaves, apply on the scalp and leave on for half an hour before washing.
3. Olive Oil
If you find coconut oil too heavy for your child’s scalp, the next best option is olive oil. It is lighter than coconut oil, but is just as hydrating and also provides natural conditioning for the hair strands.
The moisturizing benefits of olive oil ensure that you can prevent those irritating white flakes arising from an extremely dry scalp. Simply massage some olive oil into the scalp, cover with a shower cap and leave it on overnight. Leaving the oil in to work for many hours will ensure better efficacy.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda may seem like an unlikely addition to this list of home remedies for dandruff, but it is here for a reason. Baking soda is an excellent exfoliant for kids’ scalps, being gentle while still being effective against dandruff.
Exfoliating means removing dead skin cells, and doing this for the scalp gets rid of any buildup and clears it up. It also removes excess oil or sebum from the scalp. Baking soda is known for its antifungal properties – just a week of usage reduces fungal infections by 79%.
Baking soda needs to be used with care since too much can damage the scalp. Make a paste of baking soda with water and apply it to the affected areas on the scalp. Leave it in for 10-15 minutes and wash it out.
5. Lemon Juice
Like all citrus fruits, lemons come packed with Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that does wonders for the hair and skin. Vitamin C boosts the production of collagen, which repairs damaged cells on the scalp and also strengthens hair follicles.
What’s more, lemon juice removes any excess oiliness and product buildup, clearing out the scalp. The acidic nature of lemon juice balances the pH of the scalp naturally, which also works in keeping dandruff away.
There are two ways to use lemon juice for kids’ scalps. One is to combine coconut oil and lemon juice and use it as you would any hair oil. The other way is to dilute the lemon juice in water and use it as a final rinse over the scalp after a hair wash.
Yogurt is well known for its probiotic properties, and these aren’t restricted to eating yogurt. You get the benefits of yogurt even when you apply it on the scalp, especially when it comes to getting rid of pesky dandruff.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, which acts as a scalp cleanser and helps reduce dandruff. Moreover, the protein in yogurt helps strengthen hair and keeps it healthy and shiny. Dandruff doesn’t take too well to the friendly bacteria in yogurt, making this a good choice when looking for home remedies for dandruff.
You can apply yogurt on its own on the scalp, or you can improve its efficacy by adding a dash of lemon juice to it. Together the yogurt-lemon hair mask can make a significant improvement with regard to dandruff symptoms.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
One ingredient that can solve multiple hair and scalp problems in one go is apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV. Since it’s vinegar, it’s acidic in nature, which means it balances the pH of the scalp and creates an environment that is hostile to different kinds of fungi.
Apple cider vinegar is a great way to treat dandruff and also improve hair health, making it shiny and bouncy. However, it should never be used undiluted, especially for kids. You can mix a little ACV with your child’s regular shampoo, or you can create a rinse by diluting it with water. Pour over the scalp, leave it in for 15 minutes and rinse well.
Neem has been a part of traditional remedies for centuries, which is why it earns its place in this list of home remedies for dandruff. This is also the reason you’ll find many commercial shampoos and OTC products with neem as the main ingredient.
Neem has antibacterial and antifungal properties, enabling it to keep the scalp clean and clear from infections. The most common way of using neem leaves is to boil them in water, cool and use as a hair rinse. You can also grind the leaves and mix them with other ingredients to create a hair mask.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Each essential oil has its own benefits, and if anyone were to ask about the number one benefit of tea tree oil, it would have to be curing dandruff! This is one essential oil with powerful antimicrobial properties, that doesn’t just prevent fungal infections in the future, but also treats existing dandruff.
Tea tree oil’s powers are thanks to a compound called terpinen-4-ol, which specifically fights the strain of fungus responsible for seborrheic dermatitis. The oil is also anti-inflammatory and reduces extra oiliness on the scalp as well.
As with all essential oils, tea tree oil must also be used with caution, especially for young children. Always dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil before applying it to the scalp. You can also add a few drops to your child’s usual shampoo.
10. Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines, and it is also used as an aromatic in the manufacture of personal care products. But besides tasting and smelling good, lemongrass can also work as an effective home remedy against dandruff!
Lemongrass essential oil has shown to be a good fighter against bacterial and fungal infections, and this applies to dandruff-causing infections too. Studies found that after a mere two-week usage of just 10% lemongrass oil, dandruff was reduced by over 80%!
As with other essential oils, lemongrass oil should never be applied directly on the skin or scalp. It can be diluted with water and used as a rinse or can be mixed into shampoo or conditioner.
If you’d like a tried and tested homemade anti-dandruff hair oil, you may want to try our recipe right here. The oil contains neem oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil, which offer the combined benefits of fighting microbes, boosting hair growth, and improving hair texture.
To make the oil, simply mix equal quantities of neem, coconut, and sesame oils together, and heat till warm. Apply on a dry scalp and leave it on for half an hour before washing as usual. Repeat every week for best results.
12. Egg Whites
We are aware that hair needs protein to stay strong and healthy, and we often turn to eggs for said protein. While it is true that egg whites are complete proteins containing all the amino acids, it is also true that egg whites are a good remedy to fight the bane of dandruff.
Egg whites get rid of excess oil or sebum in the scalp, which if left untreated can lead to clogged pores and breakouts on the scalp. An egg white can cleanse out the scalp environment, getting rid of dandruff at the same time.
To use egg whites as a suitable home remedy for dandruff, combine one egg white with one tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply the mixture over your scalp, cover it with a shower cap and leave it on for an hour before washing it off. Remember to use cool water when washing so you don’t end up with cooked egg on the hair!
Amla, or the Indian gooseberry, is one of the most popular ingredients in Ayurvedic medicines, and they are almost certain to be found in any remedy meant for the hair and scalp. These berries are chock full of Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that promotes collagen growth to repair damaged skin cells on the scalp.
Amla is also known for its ‘purifying’ nature, and it helps balance the scalp’s pH, making sure it’s not friendly to fungi or other pathogens. To include amla in your home remedies for dandruff in kids, you can use amla powder.
Mix amla powder with water to make a paste and apply it over the scalp as a hair mask. Cover with a shower cap and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing.
14. Fenugreek Seeds
If you look at the ingredients for most Ayurvedic hair oils, you’re sure to find fenugreek seeds on the list, and for good reason too! Fenugreek seeds have anti-microbial properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties. This means that they don’t just treat the root problem of dandruff, but they also soothe dandruff symptoms like itching and irritation.
To use fenugreek seeds, they need to be soaked overnight. In the morning, grind the soaked seeds to a paste and apply it over the affected areas. Leave it in for 30 minutes before shampooing. If you like, you can add some lemon juice and honey, which will help mask the smell and add to the benefits of the hair mask.
15. Dietary Changes
One of the causes of dandruff in both adults and kids is a diet rich in saturated fat and sugar, and lacking in other essential nutrients. Even if your diet doesn’t directly cause dandruff to appear, it can aggravate the symptoms.
So ensure your child’s diet has enough fruits and vegetables – studies have found a link between eating more fruits and reduced seborrheic dermatitis. Be sure to include healthy fats too, like Omega 3 fats, from fish, flax seeds, walnuts, and avocado.
Other nutrients to look for are zinc and biotin, both of which contribute to hair and scalp health. You can get biotin from eggs, tomatoes, carrots, and yogurt. Zinc is available in pumpkin seeds and peanuts. Kids should also be consuming fewer foods that are rich in sugar, salt, and preservatives.
Along with these home remedies, it is important to maintain overall hair hygiene. Wash your child’s hair 2-3 times per week, using mild shampoo. Make sure to rinse out the hair and scalp thoroughly, so there is no product residue left on the scalp.
Brush your child’s hair regularly, from top to bottom so that the oils in the scalp are distributed across the hair shaft, and don’t collect in the scalp. Tell kids to avoid scratching their scalps, especially since some kids have a habit of constantly touching their heads.
Please remember that not all these home remedies for dandruff work for everyone – some may work for you; some won’t. If your child has a pre-existing skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, it’s better to speak to your doctor before starting a home treatment.
If you’ve tried these remedies for 2-3 weeks and have not noticed any relief, there could be another issue, or your child may need some stronger medicine. Please take your child to the doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Thick, flaky patches on the scalp
- Extreme itchiness that doesn’t subside
- Rashes on different parts of the body
- Any kind of pus formation on the scalp
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