DIY: Dandruff

Dr Yadav was recently quoted by PREVENTION Magazine on home remedies for dandruff. Here are the tips she shares with the team.


The scalp can be itchy and flaky most commonly due to dry skin and overgrowth of specific fungi. At the same time the hair becomes dry and frizzy at the ends and oily, with skin flakes showing at the roots.

If your roots get oily the day after washing, hair falls flat and limp, scalp is sensitive or itchy, you would benefit from the following tips from Dr S.


Keep the scalp skin hydrated and clean. Do ask your doctor for a prescription anti dandruff lotion if the scalp/brows/beard region are itchy/flaky. I prefer medicated leave on lotions for overnight use (which get a longer contact time on skin and work better) - instead of anti dandruff shampoos (which do not work as well, and often dry out the hair).


My top DIY hack for dandruff and itchy scalp is to use a gentle shampoo (baby products are okay too) then to rinse once with a capful of vinegar mixed in a large mug of cool water (regular white vinegar found in your kitchen, or apple cider vinegar will do). Then rinse off with plain cool tap water.

Do this once or twice a week when washing hair. Use a mild sulfate free shampoo that protects, and a heavy duty conditioner. Avoid dry shampoos.

I would further add a deep conditioning mask treatment or some oil for the roots, to pamper them twice a week. Warmest coconut / mustard / olive oil with a squeeze of lemon are good, gently massaged into the roots and left for an hour (bonus: hot towel wrapped on head)


White vinegar contains acetic acid, a gentle acid, generated by the fermentation of simple grains/fruit. While it has been used for this particular remedy for ages, there is now new scientific proof for efficacy:

"The acetic acid and its pro-drug diethyleneglycol diacetate (Ac-DEG-Ac) effectively suppressed the growth of C. parapsilosis in vitro and impeded the fungal expansion in the human dandruff. We demonstrate for the first time that S. lugdunensis is a skin probiotic bacterium that can exploit mPEG-PCL to yield fungicidal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The concept of bacterial fermentation as a part of skin immunity to re-balance the dysbiotic microbiome warrants a novel avenue for studying the probiotic function of the skin microbiome in promoting health."

You may also find the following useful:

"The use of vinegar to fight infections and other acute conditions dates back to Hippocrates (460-377 BC; the father of modern medicine), who recommended a vinegar preparation for cleaning ulcerations and for the treatment of sores. Oxymel, a popular ancient medicine composed of honey and vinegar, was prescribed for persistent coughs by Hippocrates and his contemporaries, and by physicians up to modern day."