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How to Get Rid of Dandruff Without Shampoo | 7 Methods

Dandruff is a stubborn scalp condition that often does not respond to dandruff-marketed shampoo. Learn how to get rid of dandruff without shampoo by using research-backed natural remedies.

Getting Rid of Dandruff Without Shampoo: A Summary

If you have dandruff, you know that the scalp condition can be very stubborn and difficult to treat, and may not even respond to dandruff shampoo.

Some studies claim that dandruff is one of the most exploited conditions in the beauty care industry, and other studies show that some remedies do not even require shampoo to offer relief of the condition.

The Simple Steps:

  1. Natural Oils 
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar 
  3. Increase Vitamin & Mineral Intake 
  4. African Black Soap 
  5. Aspirin 
  6. Lifestyle Changes 
  7. Visit a Dermatologist 

The Detailed Answer

Many factors cause and impact dandruff. Most people notice dandruff flare-ups when the temperature starts to drop, especially in the fall and winter months.

Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather, and the average person can’t get up and move to warmer climates. So, that leaves us with what we actually can control, and the truth is, dandruff has a variety of root causes.

From medical research, we know that dry skin, dermatological conditions, sensitivity to hair products, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and even scalp fungus relate to dandruff. 

Fortunately, many remedies exist that tackle the above instigators. For example, some oils and at-home items prevent fungal growth, infuse nutrients into your scalp, and relieve the itchy nature of dandruff.

Even simple supplements and feasible lifestyle changes can help. Also, if you suffer from dandruff, know that you’re not alone! Research estimates that about half of the global population struggles with dandruff post-puberty. 

You wanted to know how to treat dandruff without using shampoo. Now, you’ll learn what vitamins and minerals fight off dandruff, what natural oils effectively treat it, some odds and ends to apply on your scalp, and finally, lifestyle changes you can make to relieve dandruff. 

Since dandruff often has a variety of root causes, you’ll want to take a holistic approach and combine a few of these treatments.

Your dandruff will not disappear immediately, but you should see improvements when using shampoo alternatives and watch it disappear in the long run!

7 Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff Without Shampoo

Know how to treat dandruff without shampoo because you deserve to have a healthy, non-itchy scalp and wear dark shirts without embarrassment from flakes.

While you treat your dandruff with the following alternatives, you will learn what natural oils and at-home topicals work best for your scalp.

Combine topical remedies with lifestyle changes and nutrient intake, and you will be good to go. Keep reading and take note of what sounds ideal for you to use. 

Natural Oils 

At least one natural oil will relieve your dandruff, and every oil on this list has been subject to medical research studying its role in dandruff relief. 

  • Tea Tree Oil is one of the most highly researched essential oils for dandruff relief. The oil consists of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that treat dandruff symptoms. More so, tea tree oil attacks the strain of fungus that leads to seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
  • Lemongrass Oil underwent a clinical trial for dandruff treatment that vouched for its treatment capabilities. In the trial, lemongrass oil hair tonics reduced dandruff significantly when applied twice a day, and the positive effects displayed even more with prolonged use. 
  • Peppermint Oil is great for those that suffer from oil-related dandruff, and the oil’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties provide instant relief from an itchy, irritated scalp. The oil also clarifies the scalp and removes dirt, dandruff, and build-up.
  • Coconut Oil is famous for its health benefits, and the benefits extend to scalp care. Studies show that coconut oil provides moisture to the skin, reduces skin inflammation, and effectively treats dandruff. 
  • Olive Oil research shows that the oil removes flake buildup from your scalp while effectively moisturizing your skin. To remove scaly dandruff patches, apply olive oil to the area and live it there for about an hour. After, take a comb and gently remove the flakes.

If you use tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, or peppermint oil, make sure you dilute them with coconut oil, olive oil, or another carrier oil. Some properties of the oils may irritate your scalp, and carrier oils prevent irritation. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar provides many well-researched health benefits because of its high acidity and probiotics. Some may even argue that it is a miracle treatment for all medical conditions, and dandruff is no exception. 

Apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for hair and scalp health, like vitamin C and B.

The vinegar also contains alpha-hydroxy acid that exfoliates scalp skin and has anti-inflammatory properties, both of which treat dandruff. The high acidity of apple cider vinegar may also regulate the PH balance of one’s scalp.

Read Next: What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse?

Increase Vitamin & Mineral Intake 

Ensuring you have a healthy vitamin and mineral intake is simply vital for a healthy life, and your scalp will reap the benefits. The Cleveland Clinic argues that certain vitamins and minerals are vital for healthy hair and scalp, both of which prevent dandruff. 

  • B Vitamins like biotin, B12, B6, and folate promote healthy scalp and hair. Deficiencies in biotin and B6 can cause dandruff. 
  • Omega-3s are necessary for any well-rounded diet, and not getting enough can harm your skin. They help regulate oil production, reduce inflammation, and deficiencies in Omega-3s can cause dandruff. 
  • Zinc, like B vitamins, influences dandruff. Deficiencies of zinc in the blood increase the chances of developing dandruff. Zinc also naturally inhibits the growth of yeast, which is the main cause of dandruff. 
  • Iron deficiencies contribute to stubborn dandruff. Iron deficiencies can even manifest through cracked skin that is itchy and dry. 
  • Probiotics are not vitamins or minerals per se, but carry loads of healthy nutrients. Probiotics have healthy bacteria and microorganisms that boost your immune system and contribute to dandruff treatment. Fermented foods are full of probiotics. 

Taking multivitamins and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will lead to healthy nutrient intake and help your body heal from dandruff. Make sure you are truly deficient in these areas. Too much of these vitamins can harm organs and overall health.

African Black Soap 

True African black soap comes in a bar made from ash from cocoa pods, plantain skins, shea tree bark, and palm tree leaves that have first sun-dried. The ash combines with carrier oils like palm or coconut oil before forming into a bar. 

By word of mouth and research, African black soap became a well-known remedy for dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and even psoriasis.

The soap has natural anti-fungal properties and A and E vitamins, all of which are necessary for skin regeneration and health. The soap reportedly gently purifies and exfoliates the scalp. 


When you think of aspirin, most people think of medication tablets taken orally. If you’re trying to treat dandruff, think again. Taking aspirin orally will provide little if any relief from your dandruff. 

This suggestion is probably the weirdest on this guide, but it has medical research to justify it. Aspirin consists of zinc pyrithione and salicylic acids, both of which work wonders in dandruff treatment.

Study after study show that both compounds reduce scaling, loosen flakes, heal irritation, and overall decrease dandruff. To use aspirin as a dandruff remedy, finely cut up two tablets into powder. Incorporate the powder into your shower routine by applying it to your scalp. 

Lifestyle Changes 

Chronic stress, untreated depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues contribute to dandruff flare-ups. The link is so noticeable for some people that they can predict when they will have dandruff outbreaks based on their stress levels. 

If you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression, seek treatment through therapy, medication, or calming activities like yoga or meditation. Take care of your physical health alongside your mental health.

According to research, foods high in refined carbs, red meat, fast food, and products high in sugar influence dandruff outbreaks. Always make sure you have a healthy water intake. Dehydration leads to dry skin that will exacerbate dandruff. 

Visit a Dermatologist 

If your dandruff doesn’t improve or worsen after using a variety of at-home treatments and improving your overall health, it’s time to go to the dermatologist.

If your dandruff worsens or doesn’t improve and you notice red, scaly patches on areas besides your scalp, you likely have an underlying skin condition that requires professional help.

Your dermatologist will be able to prescribe you anti-fungal creams or steroids to take care of your skin. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman that needs to learn how to get rid of dandruff without shampoo because her scalp is flaking

New Africa/Shutterstock

Despite dandruff being so common, many people are ill-informed on the issue. People often google the following questions when attempting to understand the nature of dandruff:

What causes dandruff?

Most dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis, a condition caused by yeast and oil overgrowth on the scalp. More so, stress, dry and cold weather, unhealthy diets, and certain hair care products cause dandruff.

Is dandruff contagious?

No, dandruff isn’t infectious or contagious, even if your dandruff largely stems from an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast.

Why won’t my dandruff respond to treatment?

If your dandruff is not improving, you’re likely suffering from psoriasis, eczema, or seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. While these conditions relate to dandruff, they usually require professional help. See your dermatologist so they can prescribe you anti-fungal ointments or steroids.

Why are my flakes large and yellow?

If your flakes are large, yellow, and oily, you probably have an advanced form of seborrheic dermatitis. The condition differs from simple dandruff, but many of the symptoms overlap with dandruff symptoms. You may even develop seborrheic patches on the chest or face.

Should I be concerned about dandruff?

No, dandruff isn’t a serious medical condition. If you suspect that an underlying medical condition instigates your dandruff contact your doctor.

So, How Do You Get Rid of Dandruff Without Shampoo? 

Dandruff sucks and some shampoos marketed towards dandruff relief don’t even work as well as other remedies. Fortunately, other options exist that medical data and professionals support. 

In short, take care of your dandruff without shampoo by: 

  • Utilizing natural oils researched to treat dandruff 
  • Applying aspirin, apple cider vinegar, and African black soap to your scalp 
  • Prioritizing your well-being and overall health; both mental and physical 

After you’ve done all you can to treat your dandruff and are still not seeing any results, don’t be afraid to go to the doctor! You deserve to live comfortably and dandruff free, and it’s OK to require medical treatment.

Don’t fret though— most people don’t require medical attention and can manage their dandruff and symptoms with any combinations of shampoo alternatives on this list. Enjoy the road to a happy, healthy scalp! 

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