Image by Getty Images/John Sommers

Do you suffer from dandruff? This common problem is characterized by an itchy scalp and the shedding of yellowish flecks of dead skin. It is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia furfur. Other triggers, such as allergic reactions to hair products, dry skin, eczema, or seborrheic dermatitis can also cause your scalp to flake an at alarming rate. Sometimes, two or more conditions exist simultaneously, so properly caring for your scalp is important. While ordinary dandruff is harmless, if you feel yours is particularly stubborn or uncomfortable, it is best to consult your dermatologist before trying the recommendations below.

Try the Aspirin Trick

Here is a fast and inexpensive remedy to rid your scalp of flakes and itching. You will need:

  • 1-2 crushed, powdered, uncoated aspirin tablets
  • 1-2 nickel-sized pumps of clarifying shampoo

Mix together the aspirin and shampoo, using one aspirin and one pump of shampoo for shorter hair, and two aspirins and two pumps of shampoo for longer hair, or to wash hair twice. Apply the mixture to your scalp, and massage it in with the pads of your fingers, ensuring you have reached all areas of your scalp. Rinse thoroughly. You can repeat this process every time you wash until your dandruff issue has been resolved. Generally, it will take 1-3 washes.

Starve the Fungus

Sebum, the natural oil that lubricates the scalp and hair shaft, is a favorite food of Malassezia furfur. Keeping your scalp clean, without stripping the rest of your hair is key to getting the yeast under control. To do so, coat your hair with conditioner from the mid shafts to the ends, and then give your scalp a scrub with your favorite clarifying shampoo.

Optimize Your Environment

Is the air in your home excessively dry? Do you have hard water (you can see mineral build-up around your plumbing fixtures, spots on your glasses, and stains in the toilet bowl)? Both problems can be easily remedied. Add moisture to your indoor air with a humidifier. Look for dual mist models that will be comfortable in both winter and summer months. Hard water is best addressed with a shower filter.

Kick Out the Chemicals

While skin is a highly sensitive organ that can react negatively to anything at any time, some sure bets to flare it up include hair dyes, relaxers, bleach, and any other product with harsh ingredients like sulfates, silicones, and parabens. The Curly Girl Method is a great starting point for many of us curlies, and if you need advice on tailoring your products further, curltalk is a great resource for reaching out to the curly community.

Show Your Scalp Some TLC

If you want healthy, bouncy, shiny hair, scalp care is key, particularly if you are battling dandruff. Besides removing environmental and chemical irritants, scalps need to be regularly massaged, exfoliated and provided with nourishment. Try these curly community favorites to get your scalp in tip top shape.

What is your favorite way to ditch the dandruff? Let us know in the comments. For a review of Mizani’s Scalp Care Calming Lotion, click here.