That embarrassing, unsightly, and messy white stuff: dandruff. It’s not just annoying when you’re trying to style your hair, it’s something we don’t want others to see, and it’s hard to get rid of.

Nobody actually knows for sure what dandruff is, or what causes it. The main theory right now is that the scalp gets infected by yeast that is normally present, and scalp cells die quickly and come off in flakes – dandruff flakes. If you have dandruff, you will have noticed white or clear flakes, almost like snowflakes, scattered through the scalp, your hair, and sometimes clothing or pillows. Also, your scalp may be itchy or inflamed.

Because the cause has not been conclusively determined, there is no sure way to cure dandruff, but many people have found dandruff solutions and remedies in the form of store-bought medicines or natural ingredients. Typical factors that contribute to dandruff include stress, an unhealthy diet (particularly one high in sugar), and not washing your hair frequently enough.

Many young pre-teens and teenagers find that they suffer from dandruff, because they haven’t yet learned how to manage their hair as their bodies hit puberty and begin to produce sebum at a faster rate.

The advantages of natural dandruff solutions are obvious – you’re not putting some unknown substance into or on your body, and they generally cost less than buying chemicals from a store. They’re easier to obtain, and you may even have some ingredients already. They’re easier to incorporate into your daily routine than harsh chemical treatments, too. Finally, they don’t leave nasty smells like most anti-dandruff shampoos and treatments.

If you brush your hair regularly, it will help to stimulate blood flow to the scalp, thus helping to control the infection and slow the dandruff. Solutions like this just involve a slight tweak in your lifestyle: brush your hair regularly, shower daily, ensure you aren’t eating too much sugar or refined starch, and try to reduce stress in your life.

When shampooing your hair, use your fingertips to thoroughly and carefully massage your scalp, keeping your nails short so you don’t scratch your sensitive skin. Until your dandruff diminishes or disappears, shampoo daily. Don’t get conditioner on your scalp – only on the ends of your hair.

For those with bad dandruff, though, these measures may not be enough. Some natural dandruff solutions include massaging your scalp several times each day with the pads of your fingers to loosen dandruff flakes and increase the blood flow to your scalp and help heal the infection. Wash your hands and hairbrush each time you’ve brushed your hair, or you could reinfect yourself.

Make sure you have enough alpha-lipoic acid and chromium in your diet, and that your blood sugar levels are normal – dietary problems can lead to dandruff, even if you’re eating healthily otherwise and avoiding sugars.

Dandruff is an embarrassing and annoying problem; use some of these dandruff solutions to help heal the infection and prevent it from returning.