Dandruff can be embarrassing, but it is actually quite common, with 50 million Americans experiencing the irritation. Sufferers experience dryness and itchiness of the scalp, as well as visible white flakes that might appear on the scalp or fall onto adjacent areas and clothing. While there are numerous products on the market to relieve dandruff, you might be able to relieve the condition with certain foods.
Dandruff is caused by multiple factors, including dry skin, stress, styling tools, not shampooing enough and skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. It also can be caused by malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that is common on the scalps of healthy adults, says Mayoclinic.com. If the fungus grows out of control, it will feed on the oils from follicles, which can trigger more skin cells to grow. These cells die, clump together with the oils and fall off. The cause of overgrowth of this fungus is unknown, says the site.
Foods containing vitamin B6 might help relieve your dandruff because a deficiency in B6 can cause dryness. Foods with vitamin B6 include bananas, chicken, turkey, salmon and spinach. Foods rich in omega-3 also might help because omega-3 helps to keep the skin hydrated, which can prevent the dryness that causes and accompanies dandruff. Foods containing omega-3 include sardines, salmon, tuna, flaxseed, walnuts, kidney beans, soybeans and navy beans.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods and beverages can exacerbate dandruff. Drinks such as tea and coffee can worsen the dryness that characterizes and causes dandruff because they increase urine and perspiration production, thereby lowering natural hydration levels. In addition, excess amounts of saturated fats can worsen dandruff by way of infection. This is because diets that contain excess amounts of saturated fats encourage excessive production of sebum, or skin oils. This oil serves as a breeding ground for fungi, which can causes infections. These infections then increase the decomposition of skin cells, which cause flakes, says the Skin Care Guide website.
Since many conditions share common symptoms, it is highly important to obtain a proper diagnosis before trying any dandruff treatment, says the Diagnose Me website. This helps to avoid prolonging an underlying condition, which can worsen with delay. Underlying conditions that have dandruff as a possible symptom include a suppressed immune system, polycystic ovary syndrome and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Consult your physician before eating a diet rich in potentially dandruff-fighting nutrients. This is because overabundance of the nutrients found in these foods can cause side effects. For instance, too much omega-3 can cause bleeding, which can range from nosebleeds to stroke, and too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage to your arms and legs.