Dandruff is the flaking of dead cells from the scalp. This condition is similar to dry skin, and is caused when the epidermal layer on the scalp gets replaced excessively. This replacement occurs as a result of the rapid turnover of dead skin cells, which erupt out and mix with the oil on the scalp. These cells, then dry into gray patches or flakes. This is a very embarrassing condition as the flakes tend to stick on to the hair, the scalp and the clothes. Some people even complain about developing skin allergies such as acne, and itchy skin-spots due to excessive exposure to dandruff.
The acne usually erupts on the forehead, the nape, and especially on the shoulder line and upper back. Others, suffer from allergic reactions such sneezing, itchy and red eyes, and phantom itch on the face and neck. There are many over the counter lotions and hair products that claim to be able to combat dandruff and prevent its recurrence. However, this is a resilient scalp condition which needs more than mere chemicals, in order to deal with it. There are some natural herbs which have proven to be beneficial.
Medicinal Properties of Aloe Vera
- It has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Helps in healing wounds and has antiseptic properties.
- Has moisturizing tendency and helps in preventing the skin from drying up.
- Reduces pigmentation and scars, by removing the dead skin cells, over a period of time.
- Is effective in cleansing the blood.
- Is good for increasing the production of insulin by the pancreas.
Home Remedies for Dandruff
Dandruff is predominantly a fungal infection that affects the scalp. It is caused by the fungi Malassezia yeasts, which metabolizes with the sebum on the scalp to produce oleic acid. This acid, results in inflammation and consequent deadening of skin cells. Since the medicinal uses of aloe vera include antifungal properties, its effect against the fungi responsible for dandruff have been shown to be noteworthy. The following are some remedies, which include mixing aloe vera with other herbs so as to reduce and eventually eradicate dandruff completely.
#1 - Aloe Vera Gel
You may either use natural aloe vera extract or use a commercially available gel instead. All you need to do, is to slice a piece of aloe vera leaf in half. Squeeze the gel and use the leaf itself to spread the gel all over your scalp. Massage the gel onto your scalp and use plenty of gel so as to cover the entire scalp with the gel. Let the gel remain for about 45 minutes to an hour, after which you may wash your scalp under cold running water. Do not use any shampoo to clean your hair after using aloe vera. You may apply this gel 2-3 times in a week. During the other days, try washing your hair with a mild shampoo, preferably a herbal one.
#2 - Eucalyptus Oil and Aloe Vera
Eucalyptus is known for its medicinal properties, and in itself, is effective against dandruff. You may mix eucalyptus oil with some fresh aloe vera extract or gel, to make a paste. Apply this paste and massage it onto your scalp. This concoction may sting slightly because of the minty properties of the eucalyptus leaves. Leave this paste for about an hour and then wash with normal water. The medicinal properties of the two herbs will insure that your hair gets cleansed in the process, which is why you will not need to use a shampoo, post treatment.
#3 - Fenugreek and Aloe Vera
Fenugreek has been used for hair for several generations, all over the world. When mixed with aloe vera, its potency increases, making it an excellent herb for curbing scalp infections while promoting hair growth. You will need to soak the fenugreek seeds in water overnight and then grind the seeds into a fine paste in the morning. Thereafter, you should mix the aloe vera gel with the paste and apply in ample amounts all over the scalp. The objective, is to absorb all the excess sebum and kill the fungus. The results will not be immediate but it will be evident. Follow this therapy twice a week for an entire month and you will see a marked improvement in the condition of your scalp.
#4 - Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera
Tea tree oil in itself is excellent for dandruff. The medicinal properties of tea tree oil extend to being a wonder herb with its amazing potential to kill fungal, bacterial an even viral infections to a very large extent. Mix a few drops of this oil with aloe vera gel. Do not use tea tree oil directly on the skin, as it is very potent and causes a strong stinging sensation. Use this remedy 3 times a week and wash without using a shampoo. The dandruff will reduce considerably or disappear within a few days.
#5 - Lemon Juice and Aloe Vera
Lemon juice alone can also be used against dandruff and has been proven to be effective, to an extent. Mix aloe vera gel with the juice extracted from half a lemon. Apply this concoction onto the scalp. If the concoction stings, you may mix a tablespoon of yogurt or olive oil to it. Yogurt, too has shown to be beneficial in preventing dandruff, as it kills the fungal infection. Apply the pack and let it remain for about an hour, after which you may wash it with a very mild shampoo. If you're using only lemon and aloe vera then you may wash your hair with simple water.
Aloe vera is a wonder plant and has been used as a herb by many civilizations. There are no side effects on using this herb and can be safely used by people of all age groups. The above remedies have been tried and tested for centuries and have yielded beneficial results.