The production of itchy white flakes from a very dry scalp is called dandruff, these white flakes are sometimes greasy or waxy to the touch, and on the other hand a dry and itchy scalp is caused by dandruff. There may be inflammations' signs possibly on the scalp and hairline, sometimes the eyebrows, the inflammation may spread right down to the face and the chest, in some cases, and if the condition is serious. However hair loss is very rare in even the most severe of cases and this is not one of the symptoms of dandruff. A condition similar to dandruff is called cradle cap, which may be quite a popular problem in infants, the child probably feels nothing, but it worries many parents.
An impaired circulation or blood flow in the scalp and unclean and unkempt hair produces a scaly and dry scalp, as even cleaning hair by brushing is good protection against many forms of illnesses of the scalp. The itching and scaling of the region of the scalp can often come about because of the repeated use of drying shampoos on oily hair and scalp. However, it is some form of seborrhea, which is brought on because of an unbalanced production of a substance called sebum, which is a greasy matter excreted by glands in the scalp, this condition is the underlying reason in the majority of cases of dandruff and cradle trap. An imbalance in the essential fatty acid content of the body is responsible for this very mild type of eczema. A fungal infection is sometime the underlying reason for dandruff, the condition called psoriasis can be a probable cause of the condition if the drying of skin affects the lower back, the knees or the elbows.
Supplements and herbs
During a severe affliction from dandruff, there is often depletion in the reserves of the EFA (essential fatty acids) within the body; patients need supplements rich in essential fatty acids. A natural product is the oil of the evening primrose, which abounds in (GLA) gamma-linolenic acid, this fatty acid is an essential component in the fight against dandruff and very easily absorbed into the body. Dandruff may also be brought on by the deficiency in the body of certain B complex vitamins like the B6 or pyridoxine vitamin. Theses can be consumed in the form of B complex vitamin tablets, which has the entire range of B vitamins. The health of the skin and the scalp is also improved by the vitamins A and E. Scalp health and the condition of the skin can be greatly improved if the mineral silica is used as a supplement. There are two ways to take silica, either for external application in a gel form, or as internal supplements in capsules from a vegetable source.
The maintenance of a healthy scalp and hair is encouraged by many vital nutrients found in herbs:
Among the many important minerals found in the horsetail herb, and two particularly important for healthy scalp and hair are the minerals silica and zinc. Daily dosages of the herb over two moths at a time can include about 10 drops of tincture of horsetail herb mixed in water or one tbsp. of juice of horsetail. Topically silica can also be used on the hair and the scalp, by dissolving about two tbsp. of bulk organic vegetal silica in a cup of water; this mix may be added to your normal shampoo, alternately, you can open 25 capsules of vegetal silica aqueous extract and dissolve them in water to be used as a kind of hair wash solution, when bathing. The juice made from the roots of the stinging nettle herb can be drunk in dosages of about 10 tincture drops in water; alternately the juice can be used as a rub to massage the scalp. The improper circulation of blood can be improved and stimulated by the herb rosemary which also has antiseptic and astringent powers. Especially in cases of psoriasis, this herb is a good treatment option. Dosages can include the addition of a tbsp. of rosemary to half a cup of shampoo and using this for two weeks as a shampoo, the extracts of many other herbs can be used as rinsing liquids; these herbs include tea made from the stinging nettle or tea from burdock, tea from chaparral, tea from yarrow or red clover. Use can be made of the aloe vera herb as a direct and natural shampoo, by rubbing some of the fresh gel into the scalp, and lathering and rinsing the hair with clean water. It is important to massage the scalp with herbal oil, made from rosemary or burdock after the hair has been dried as aloe vera has the property of drying the skin. To disinfect the scalp, and to loosen the dandruff flakes while stimulating circulation, use can be made of birch leaves, and herbal oils from gentian and St. John's wort, and oils and extracts from lavender and calamus. In order to heal the scalp and to open blocked hair follicles, use can be made of about five to ten drops of oil of tea tree, which can be added into a mild shampoo or rubbing a few diluted drops of the oil onto the scalp; this can greatly help eradicate dandruff.
Commonly used essential oils for dandruff:
Additional things you may do
It is important to avoid and abstain from scratching the region of the scalp, as this may spread dandruff. Before taking bath and shampooing, it is important to brush hair vigorously to loosen scales in the scalp. If the cleaning and washing of the hair is a daily and regular ritual, recourse may be taken to baby shampoo, which is mild. Since the scalp dries after shampooing, some of the harsh shampoos can make the glands to overcompensate for the dryness by producing more oil than is necessary in the scalp. It is always important to exercise daily and regularly out in the fresh air to improve health and circulation. Vital nutrients are brought to the scalp by this increased circulation and the fresh oxygen will depress fungal growth in the scalp. Scaling and itching of the scalp result form the use of hair dryers, this must be avoided at all cos. Soaps that have sulphur in them, can be used to wash the hair once a week. Hair products with alcohol content must be avoided as they cause dryness. An effective, old, traditional and country remedy is the common onion, which is high in its sulphur content. This can be rubbed onto the scalp after being halved.
- Evening primrose oil, two 500 mg capsules 3 times a day.
- Silica, 1,000 mg, two 500 mg capsules a day.
- Vitamin A, 10,000 IU (avoid during pregnancy).
- Vitamin B complex, 50 mg two times a day with food.
- Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate, 50 mg two times a day.
- Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU.
Other beneficial herbs