Anti dandruff shampoos – which ones work, which are toxic, and how to choose a good anti dandruff shampoo.
If you’re sick and tired of scratching your dry scalp or itchy scalp until it’s red, raw and burning, then you need to know that one of the worst things you can do is run right out and buy an off-the-shelf dandruff shampoo…
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anti dandruff shampoos often contain “masking chemicals” to stop flaking. This means they don’t address the cause. Some are anti-fungal, which is good if you have a fungal infection of the scalp.
But the problem with masking symptoms is that you never treat the underlying problem. It’s like mowing weeds-your yard looks nice temporarily, but those weeds will just come right back up next week and you’ll still have problems.
Then there’s the little known scientifically proven fact that many of the anti dandruff shampoos we use actually contain the very ingredients that have been shown to cause itchy flaky scalp or dry scalp conditions & rashes in the first place.
Now for the good news, there are many natural alternatives to the chemical anti dandruff active ingredients which can aggravate your scalp that natural shampoo manufacturers use in their shampoos. There are many which are just as good for getting rid of your dandruff with none of the side effects that can come from using shampoos. Some of these side effects (and dandruff causes) come from exposure to irritating ingredients such as oil stripping degreaser based cleansers like they use in garages. Yes really! The original cause of your dandruff might just have been under your nose the whole time.
So what are the natural dandruff treatment ingredients that blow away the synthetic competition so to speak:
Here are just a few to get you started:
Salycylic Acid: This is a really common one added to anti dandruff shampoo s. It if found naturally in willow bark (in some organic shampoos). It’s great for killing bacteria – problem is the synthetic version can cause irritation making dandruff worse. So go for the natural version or a melaleuca oil based shampoo (more on that soon).
Zinc Pyrithione: First synthesized in the 1930′s, this is the most widely used active ingredient in anti dandruff shampoos from a natural source. It’s used to treat dandruff and numerous other skin and scalp disorders … It has strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Tea Tree Oil: This is one of the strongest known natural antiseptics. It also has skin penetrating capacity as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, germicide and fungicide. The scientific name for it is Melaleuca Alternifolia. Got fungal infection? Get Tea tree oil or a tea tree oil shampoo. There are many around that pack a powerful dandruff fighting punch.
New Zealand Manuka: Amazingly, this stuff is even stronger than Tea Tree Oil. It’s antibacterial properties are at least 5 times more potent than Melaleuca Oil. It gives a high level of antimicrobial activity, particularly against gram positive organisms such as staphylococcus and streptococcus. It also has a wide range of antifungal activity. Leptospermum Scoparium is the scientific name for this plant.
Guava: Guava is an herbal analgesic. It’s also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. If you’ve scratched your itchy dry scalp until it hurts, this is what you need.
Wild Cherry: You may have heard of this as a cough syrup flavoring, but this has been used for years as a natural root bark extract astringent. It’s wonderful for keep your pores tight and closed, even if you have scalp inflammation.
Chamomile: A natural herbal anti-inflammatory (great anti dandruff shampoo ingredient). Makes a soothing and calming tea, too, if you’re upset about your scalp sores orscalp lesions.
Horsetail: This baby is a positive herbal storehouse of vitamins and minerals, and revitalizing properties. If you want to give your dry,i tchy scalp a makeover, this is the stuff.
Nettle: If you’ve got scalp inflammation, this is the one you want. It’s an herbal anti-inflamatory, anti-histamine, and it’s rich in minerals.
Aloe Barbabenis: If you’ve got scalp lesions or scalp sores, you’ll want to try this wonderful item, which is a natural anti-irritant.
Neem Oil: Neem ought to be named neat for all the stuff it does. It’s derived from a type of tree bark. Neem is an effective fungicide and insecticide (great for head lice when used with geranium, rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus oils). As for the scent, well, it packs quite a punch, but you simply can’t beat Neem for effectiveness. If you’ve got itchy scalp , neem is what you need. In clinical studies Neem extracts and oil were found to be as effective as coal tar and cortisone in treating psoriasis with none of the usual side effects accompanying the use of Neem as there was with Coal tar and cortisone based treatment or anti dandruff shampoos.
Neem extracts and oil removes redness and itching when applied directly to your scalp, and it’s a great skin conditioner. Dandruff, Itchy scalp , Skin Ulcers and Warts can be effectively remedied with soaps and other products containing Neem oil.
Lavender Oil: Need something soothing? Then you want lavender oil! There are different varieties of lavender and certain ones are favored more than others for medicinal treatments. Lavender is effective to sooth itching from scalp inflammation and insect bites as well as having a powerful calming effect which makes it good to relax you and help you nod off to sleep. In one study of 86 people with alopecia areata (a disease of unknown cause characterized by significant hair loss, generally in patches), those who massaged their scalps with lavender and other essential oils daily for 7 months experienced significant hair re-growth compared to those who massaged their scalps without the essential oils. It is not entirely clear from this study whether lavender (or a combination of lavender and other essential oils) was responsible for the beneficial effects.
Aromatherapists also use lavender as a tonic in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Herbalists treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, and acne, with lavender oil. It is also used externally in a healing bath for circulatory disorders and as a rub for rheumatic ailments (conditions affecting the muscles and joints).
Rosemary Oil: If you love the warm, homey scent of rosemary roasted chicken and potatoes, you’ll love this oil.
Rosemary oil is wonderful for clearing the mind and mental
awareness, while having excellent brain stimulant properties, as well as improving memory. All this good stuff happens because it has a pronounced action on the brain and the central nervous system.
It helps with:
Headaches, migraines, neuralgia, mental fatigue and nervous exhaustion. The antiseptic action of rosemary oil is especially suitable for intestinal infections and diarrhea. Easing colitis, dyspepsia, flatulence, hepatic disorders and jaundice Relieving pain associated with rheumatism, arthritis, muscular pain and gout Arteriosclerosis, palpitations, poor circulation and varicose veins.
Also, rosemary oil is a diuretic so it can help with reducing water retention during menstruation, and also with obesity and cellulite.
Plus, it’s great for respiratory ailments like asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, sinus and whooping cough. Because of its astringent action, it is also effective for countering sagging skin. Its stimulating action benefits scalp disorders and encourages hair growth.
It helps with skin, too, to ease congestion, puffiness and swelling and can also be used for acne, dermatitis and eczema, but a very popular use of this oil is the use in hair care products, as it has a pronounced positive effect on the health of the hair and scalp. It increases the circulation to the scalp and is therefore also effective for promoting hair growth.
Rosemary oil is effective for mental fatigue, circulation problems, pain relief for the muscular system, decongests the respiratory tract and is a skin and hair booster.
So as you can see, its not necessary to expose your scalp to the many side effects of the harsh chemical based ingredients found in hair products (& many traditional anti dandruff shampoos), only to find that your condition returns. Start by avoiding the root of many dandruff causes. Bypass all the supermarket shelves and get down to your local health store (or online) and treat your scalp and hair to a moisture and condition boosting indulgence just by doing a little bit of home work. You can pay the same price (often less) for a quality shampoo that will keep your hair and scalp healthy and flake dandruff free without a constant effort and fear of he dreaded flakes and itchy scalp returning. And you’ll probably be like me – addicted to your favorite natural brand that leaves our hair shiny, full and gorgeous every day!