The presence of white flakes and an itchy scalp means you have dandruff. As soon as you notice these symptoms, use an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo to stop the itching, soothe your scalp and make the flakes dissipate. Follow a strict daily hairwashing routine and you'll know whether a stronger, prescription-strength shampoo is needed within a couple weeks. Otherwise, a daily dose of over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo should get you out of this hairy situation rather quickly.
Face the Facts
Reach for a dandruff shampoo when your scalp feels itchy or you see specks of yellowish-white flakes on your clothing. Seborrheic dermatitis, otherwise known as dandruff, may result from imbalanced hormone levels, a compromised immune system, sensitivity to yeast or a lack of certain nutrients in your diet. Use the shampoo every day when flakes are noticeable. Once the scalp is soothed and the dryness dissipates, alternate between regular shampoo and dandruff formula.
Hone in on Ingredients
Buy shampoos with active ingredients such as salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcin, ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. These work to fight fungus and reduce the number of yeast micro-organisms on the scalp. If an over-the-cover dandruff shampoo isn't working, visit a board-certified dermatologist for a medicated shampoo containing selenium, ketoconazole or corticosteroids. A cream featuring an immunomodulator, something that suppresses the immune system, may also be prescribed.
Get a Daily Dose
To get the most out of a dandruff shampoo, use it daily until the flakes stop and the itching ceases. Wet your scalp thoroughly in the shower. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients and pour a dollop into your palm. Part your hair in several sections and massage the shampoo directly into the scalp. Leave it on for two to three minutes or as directed, then rinse well. Repeat the shampoo process, but this time leave the shampoo on for five minutes before rinsing.
Daily Home Remedies
Sprinkle a handful of baking soda onto your scalp and rub vigorously before rinsing with cool water, or mix about 5 drops of tea tree oil into a regular shampoo. Mix mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and water together in a spray bottle, then saturate the scalp with the mixture for 15 minutes before shampooing. Decrease the amount of gel and hairspray you use, because these products can dry out the scalp.
- MedlinePlus: Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Total Beauty: 8 Best Dandruff Shampoos
- University of Michigan: Dandruff
- Health Central: Dandruff Shampoo (Selen Sulf) Top Uses and How to Use
- Huffington Post: Testing: 8 Weird Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff
- Reader's Digest: How to Get Rid of Dandruff: 11 Natural Treatments
- Latest-Hairstyles.com: All About What Causes Dandruff ( & How to Fix It)
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images