Dandruff is a common problem for people of all ages. Dandruff is a general term used to describe the bits of skin that fall from a dry flaky scalp. This can occur as a result of brushing or scratching, or flakes might fall on their own throughout the day.

There are a number of dandruff shampoos on the market, some of which use strong chemicals to prevent flakes. Some also curb itching, so users are less apt to scratch at their scalp and trigger flakes. Unfortunately, some people believe these shampoos are unhealthy.

In 1990, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned 27 ingredients in shampoos it deemed unsafe or ineffective. Currently, there are five anti-dandruff ingredients deemed safe and effective by the FDA, including selenium sulfide, coal tar, pyrithione zinc, sulfur, and salicylic acid. Despite the approval, coal tar is believed to be carcinogenic and is banned in many areas, including regionally in the United States, so not all over-the-counter shampoos containing coal tar are readily available.

If you prefer not to use over-the-counter dandruff shampoos and you are looking for a natural remedy for dandruff, you have several options. These remedies are intended to control mild to moderate dandruff, but some users are able to eliminate severe problems. Since these remedies are affordable and safe, use trial and error to find which works best for you.


Dilute two tablespoons of vinegar (white or apple cider) with six tablespoons of hot water. Apply the solution to your scalp and cover your head with a wrap or shower cap over night. In the morning, shampoo your hair as usual. This remedy is safe to use every night, but it can be effective with just three to five applications per week.


Apply one cup of plain yogurt to your scalp. Let it sit for one hour, rinse clean, and shampoo as usual. Make sure the yogurt you choose contains no flavoring, such as fruit syrup, nuts, or candy.


Warm three teaspoons of olive oil and mix it with an equal amount of fresh, grated ginger. Apply the mixture to your scalp and allow it to sit for 15 to 30 minutes. This is considered one of the most effective anti-dandruff treatments available and it also conditions hair.

Tea Tree Oil

Massage three teaspoons of tea tree oil into your scalp before going to bed. Wear a shower cap or head wrap to sleep, and shampoo your hair as usual in the morning. You can utilize this treatment every night or create a dandruff care routine that includes the oil treatment one to three times per week.

Essential Oils

In addition to tea tree oil, there are several other essential oils that might be effective for treating dandruff. Never apply essential oils directly to your skin because they can irritate or burn. Instead, mix 10 to 12 drops of your chosen essential oils with three tablespoons of a carrier oil, such as almond, apricot kernel, or olive.

Essential oils recommended for dandruff treatment include lavender, eucalyptus, cypress, rosemary, thyme, and basil. If you already have an essential oil collection, try mixing multiple oils to create custom treatment with a pleasant fragrance.

If you find none of the over-the-counter shampoos or natural remedies eliminate your dandruff problem, speak to your doctor about prescription remedies.