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Dandruff can be an embarrassing problem: A few home remedies for healthy hair

Dandruff is a common problem that is not only irritating but also embarrassing. Our beauty expert, Shahnaz Husain, shares a few remedies.

Dandruff is a common scalp condition. In its mild form, it consists of loose white flakes, which fall off and may be noticed on the shoulders and back. Sometimes, the flakes may be yellowish in colour. Even mild dandruff may be accompanied by itching. Sometimes, the scales, along with oily secretions, tend to stick to the scalp, which people commonly refer to as "sticky dandruff." In winter, due to lack of moisture, the scalp may become dry and flaky. This kind of dandruff is the loose kind, which does not stick to the scalp.

Hot oil therapy

Hot oil therapy is a useful home treatment for the prevention and control of common dandruff. It also relieves dryness of the scalp and prevents clogging of the pores of the scalp. Heat olive oil and apply on the scalp with cotton wool. Rub gently to dislodge the flakes. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Leave the oil on overnight. The next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on the scalp and wash the hair after half an hour. This can be done once or twice a week.

Keep hair clean

The hair should be washed at least three times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing well with water. Take half teaspoon for short hair and one teaspoon for long hair. Dilute with a little water and use. One application will do, unless oil has been applied. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons vinegar on the scalp and massage it lightly into the scalp. After shampoo, add two tablespoons of the vinegar to a mug of water and use as a last rinse. Try to get apple cider vinegar, or use the vinegar that is used in food and pickles.

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Baking soda to the rescue

Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, can also be used to massage the scalp. Leave it on for 5 minutes and wash off with water. It is said to discourage fungus. In fact, salt can also be used to rub the scalp gently. This helps to dislodge flakes and also cleanses the pores. Wash well with water.

Methi seeds can help too

Grind one tablespoon of methi seeds coarsely and soak in two cups of cool water. Leave it overnight. Strain and use the water as a last rinse. A paste of methi leaves can also be applied. Wash off well with water.

Don't ignore neem leaves

Add two handfuls of neem leaves to four to five cups of hot water. Let it stand overnight. Next morning, strain the liquid and use it to rinse the hair. It relieves itching and keeps the scalp healthy and free from infections. It is useful in dandruff. Make a paste of the soaked neem leaves and apply on the scalp, rinsing off with water after half an hour.

A few other tips

Other than using home remedies to get rid of your dandruff, you must also take care of a few other things.

  • For severe dandruff, combs, brushes, pillow covers and towels should be washed daily, in warm soapy water, adding a few drops of an antiseptic solution. Severe dandruff can lead to acne on face, shoulders and back.
  • Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts, green vegetables and yogurt in the daily diet.
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning.

(This article is authored by Shahnaz Husain, a Padma Shri Award recipient and pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty movement and the head of a global network of franchise ventures and 375 formulations.)

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