Avoid dandruff with these DIY treatments that are dermatologist-approved.

By Renee Cherry
June 12, 2020
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woman checking her scalp for dandruff
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When you think about dandruff treatments, odds are your mind goes to a very clinical shampoo. But home remedies actually have a place in dandruff treatment, and might just be the extra step that's missing in your fight against flakes.

The tricky thing about treating dandruff is that it can crop up in numerous scenarios. Some people have flakes accompanying a dry scalp, which is straightforward enough. But some people have an overgrowth of yeast that causes flakes and feeds off of skin's natural oils, also leading to a dry scalp. Dandruff can also accompany skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

Because dandruff has multiple causes, there's not a one-size-fits-all treatment that's best for everyone. But a good starting point is to tweak your shower routine—and that's where these home remedies for dandruff come in. (Related: How to Combat the Effects of Winter On Your Scalp)

"The first step you should take if you notice you have dandruff is to increase the number of times per week you wash your hair and apply a mask to get rid of the flaking," advises Marina Peredo, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist. Additionally, using an antifungal shampoo like Selsun Blue Moisturizing Shampoo with Aloe (Buy It, $7, target.com) might help. If that strategy doesn't work, you might need a medicated shampoo and should head to a doctor, says Dr. Peredo. In some cases, even the best home remedy for dandruff won't prevent it.

You might as well experiment with home remedies for dandruff, especially if you have a few avocados that are about to turn. If you're used to buying all your hair products to fight dandruff, you might be surprised at how a few ingredients from your kitchen can make a difference.

Homemade Scalp Mask for Dandruff

The below recipe is one of Dr. Peredo's favorite DIY scalp masks for dandruff. Egg nourishes skin while oatmeal and avocado help loosen and remove flakes, she says. (Related: Try These DIY Hair Masks to Treat Dry, Brittle Strands)

Oatmeal Scalp Mask


1 ripe avocado, mashed with a fork

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons oatmeal


Combine ingredients, then apply mask to scalp. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse off with cold water.

Homemade Scalp Scrub for Dandruff

A weekly scalp scrub is also going to be your friend, since it can help remove flakes and excess oil. You don't have to buy one off of a shelf if you don't want to. (Although, if you do just want to buy one, try any of these Best Scalp Scrubs for Your Hair-Care Routine.)

"Dandruff often flares up when the seasons change, so I recommend my patients start using a homemade scrub of baking soda and coconut oil before the weather starts to change," says Dr. Peredo. Baking soda works as an exfoliant and has anti-fungal properties, and coconut oil helps to moisturize the scalp and prevent oil build-up, she says.

Baking Soda Scalp Scrub


1 tablespoon baking soda

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted


Mix baking soda and coconut oil to create a paste. Before shampooing in the shower, massage scrub into hair and rinse thoroughly.

Homemade Scalp Rinse for Dandruff

If you've explored DIY beauty, you've likely already heard about the wonders of apple cider vinegar (ACV). (Case in point: Here's a recipe to make an ACV toner for your face.) If you're prone to dandruff, consider adding ACV to your routine as a scalp rinse. "Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and it can be used as a gentle exfoliant," says Dr. Peredo. "It helps remove and cleanse product build-up left on your hair." Fair warning: ACV has a high acidity and can irritate your skin if you go overboard. Dr. Peredo recommends using this rinse no more than once or twice per week.

Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Rinse


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 cup water


Mix apple cider vinegar and water. Distribute and massage onto scalp. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.