Does Vinegar Help Dandruff?

Does Vinegar Help Dandruff?
Does Vinegar Help Dandruff? (Image: ClickArt by Broderbund)

Causes of Dandruff

Dandruff may be caused by dry skin, oily skin, diet or stress, but most likely, it is caused by malassezia, a yeast-like fungus. The fungus feeds on the oils from the hair follicles causing skin irritation. The result is dead skin cells that clump together with the oil from your hair and scalp. Little is known why the fungus causes problems for some and not others. It may be stress related, hormonal changes, illnesses or just sensitivity to the fungus. It is known that people with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease tend to develop dandruff as well as people recovering from heart disease.


Dandruff is chronic, so persistence is imperative. Simply washing the hair every day with a gentle shampoo may be enough to control the dandruff. If that doesn't work, there are a number of dandruff shampoos on the market. Experiment with the different shampoos, for some may irritate the scalp. Head and Shoulders contains zinc pyrithione, an anti-fungal that works well for mild dandruff. Neutrogena T/Gel is a tar-based shampoo that uses coal tar to slow down the cell turnover. Scalp scrubs help eliminate scale but can lead to more flaking. Selsun Blue works on slowing cell turnover and may reduce the malassezia fungus. It may discolor blonde and gray hair, though. Nizoral is a strong anti-fungal shampoo that may work when others do not. It can be purchased by prescription or over-the-counter. You can also see a dermatologist who may prescribe a dandruff shampoo.

Shampooing every day may be enough to control dandruff.
Shampooing every day may be enough to control dandruff.

Home Remedies

Lifestyle changes may help too. Avoid stress, shampoo often, cut back on styling products, take B vitamins, add zinc to your diet and avoid the sun. If you do not want to use dandruff shampoos, consider apple cider vinegar. Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. Mix apple cider vinegar with a ratio of one part vinegar and two parts water. Apply the mixture to the scalp and let dry. There is no need to rinse it out. Try this once a week, and if it doesn't work, try mixing the ratio half vinegar and half water. You can also put the cider vinegar on the scalp without diluting it. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it out.

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