Flakes! You’ve seen them, either on your own head and shoulders, or on someone else’s. They’re skin flakes, to be exact. Big, white, fluffy, clingy. If you’ve ever had dandruff yourself, you’ve hated seeing those flakes fly as you comb your hair. And you remember the itchy, irritated scalp that came with the deal. Dandruff knows no cultural, ethnic, or territorial borders, and seems to affect about one 1 out of 5 people in the world.
What Causes your Scalp to Shed More Skin Cells than Normal?
One of the causes of dandruff is overgrowth of yeast-like fungi. Our scalp, like the rest of our skin, hosts panoply of fungi and bacteria which feed on skin oil (called ‘sebum’). Normally, these wee beasties live in a state of symbiosis with us, and don’t cause us much trouble. But when things get out of whack…that’s when dandruff (or worse) befalls us.
Sebum consists of fat and parts of dead cells that produce fat. The scalp, like the rest of our skin, sheds dead cells constantly. Rarely do we think of that, save perhaps when we do our dusting and mopping—a good part of that dust is actually dead skin. When our bodies are weakened or get out of balance—think stress, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, illness, medications—the balance of bacteria and opportunistic fungi get out of control, and microorganisms start to proliferate. Scalp oils keep feeding the growing yeast population, and the oleic acid they generate as a by-product of their oil metabolism irritates and inflames the skin, triggering increased cell shedding.
Dandruff Is Not a Surface Problem
In our culture, we tend to think of dandruff as an aesthetic problem. That’s how TV ads bill it—white flakes on a black evening dress or jacket. “Oh, those embarrassing flakes…” But this shampoo, the ad says…and you’re “cured.”
Not so fast! At best, that new shampoo is a stop-gap remedy. Quit using it, and those flakes will be back in a wink. Dandruff, you see, happens on the surface, but it isn’t caused by anything there. The best a shampoo can do is mask the trouble. And it may do worse, adding a new load of chemical toxins to your body. The word “medicated,” on a shampoo or cream, is also no guarantee of a cure.
If you want to stay dependent on such products, it’s your choice. You have another choice—to go deeper, correcting the imbalance that caused this yeast infection in the first place.
Raw Foods to the Rescue!
Diet is your ticket. Diet goes straight to the heart of the problem. Animal protein, if still present in your meals, will have to go: It promotes yeast and fungus growth. Since saturated fatty acids like vegetable oils will spike oil production in the sebaceous glands on your head, feeding the yeast, best wave good-bye to them as well. In my thirties I often noticed white flakes in my hair. Since I have become a raw vegan not even once have I had dandruff.
Ditto sugar: Yeast and fungi thrive on sugar. Watch how you sweeten your food, and how much sweet fruit you consume. Consider dropping or drastically reducing sweet fruit temporarily, until you get yeast overgrowth under control. Instead, emphasize tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squashes, vegetables, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 acids in walnuts and flax seeds will help strengthen your immune system, as will the beneficial yeast-fighting microorganisms in fermented vegetables. Don’t forget garlic—a natural anti-fungal. Tackling your dandruff problem from the inside and outside at the same time will yield even quicker results.
Try these Topical Applications…
- Mixture of 1 ½ tablespoons of warmed olive oil with the juice of half a lemon. Treat your scalp before bedtime, and wash off the following morning. Repeat a few times.
- Apple cider vinegar. Dilute it with water, half and half. Spray on your scalp and hair. Leave the solution on, cover with a towel, then wash off after 20 minutes or so.
Raw plant-based, living foods, with high mineral content, and the alkaline effect they produce in the body is a sure ticket to bring your personal eco-system back into balance, and take dandruff out of the equation for good.