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9 Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff

Can’t seem to shake those unsightly white flakes? Here are expert-approved strategies to get rid of dandruff for good.

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Dandruff solution #1: Wash your hair with a medicated shampoo

Although there are several different types of dandruff shampoos on the market, all with different ingredients, Nizoral is our recommendation. When washing your hair, leave the medicated shampoo on your scalp for at least five minutes before rinsing. 

Why Nizoral? One of the few studies comparing several of the most common dandruff shampoos found that Nizoral, which contains the antifungal ingredient ketoconazole, was most effective at killing the fungus responsible for dandruff, particularly at the 2% prescription strength. Even the over-the-counter 1% strength was 10 times more effective than the other shampoos tested, which included Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue.

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Dandruff solution #2: Let your hair air-dry

Skip the hair dryer. Hair dryers not only dry the hair, but also the scalp, increasing flakiness-which, of course, you’re trying to avoid. 

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Dandruff solution #3: Brush your hair (a lot)

Several times a day, brush your hair firmly for 100 strokes with a natural bristle hair brush. Brushing distributes the oils from the top of the hair shaft down the length of the shaft, removing oil from the scalp and thereby decreasing irritation. The yeast-like fungus that causes dandruff, Malassezia ovalis, feeds on skin oil, so this should also decrease the fungus on your scalp.

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Dandruff solution #4: Stress management

Stress definitely makes dandruff worse. Sleeping well and getting exercise work to reduce stress; you can also try yoga, going for walks or meditation.

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Dandruff solution #5: Vinegar or lemon juice

Rinse your hair with .25 cup (50 millilitres) of either of lemon juice or vinegar mixed with 1 cup (200 millilitres) water once a week after washing with dandruff shampoo to reduce flakes, improve your scalp’s resistance to fungus and ensure a neutral pH, which helps you resist fungal infection.

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Dandruff solution #6: Essential oil therapy

Once a week, massage a solution of 2 to 3 drops each of lavender and rosemary essential oil mixed with 1 ounce (25 millilitres) of almond or grapeseed oil into your scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap overnight. Wash with a medicated shampoo the next morning. These oils are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

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Dandruff solution #7: Follow an anti-inflammatory diet

Do your best to avoid foods that contain or promote the production of inflammatory chemicals. The main culprits are saturated fat (the kind in meat, poultry, and dairy), most vegetable oils and trans fats. Stay away from processed foods whenever possible, or at least check labels for the word “hydrogenated” and avoid buying products that contain it.

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Dandruff solution #8: Limit hair products

The less gel, spray and mousse you add to your hair, the better. All of these are drying and can cause irritation. 

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Dandruff solution #9: Topical steroids

In severe cases of dandruff, your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid like triamcinolone solution or Luxiq (betamethasone valerate) once or twice daily to relieve itching and inflammation.

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