We tend to like flakes that snow us in and sweetly fill our cereal bowl. But if you’ve got dandruff, you usually aren’t thrilled.
These flakes are the result of an inflamed scalp, and from a fungus called Malassezia furfur (formerly, Pityrosporum ovale). This fungus loves the dark, warm jungle that is your head of hair.
So what is the best dandruff treatment? Begin by washing daily with medicated shampoo that helps with scaling. This stops your immune system from overreacting, so your scalp doesn’t itch, and you don’t scratch off the epidermis. Look for antimicrobial and antifungal shampoos with tar, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole or ciclopirox.
Do not use these if you’re pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive. Herbal and home remedies can have side effects, especially if taken with traditional medications and even certain foods.
Definitely run these medicines by your pharmacist or doctor. Another solution is applying green tea to your scalp. This contains a polyphenol (called EGCG), but won’t work if mixed with other chemicals. Therefore, shampoos with EGCG might not be the answer.
First cool it — you don’t want to burn the fungus and your scalp. Like many herbal remedies, studies have not shown that tea shampoos make a difference.
Note: If psoriasis is the source of your scalp flaking, minimize shampooing so you don’t dry your scalp further.