This is a very common problem, caused by the shedding of matured unwanted skin cells and wastes from the scalp. Like alopecia, it is often linked to emotional upsets, hormonal imbalance, poor eating habits, excessive use of chemicals on the hair, and by not rinsing the hair properly, Dandruff sufferers need a well balanced diet rich in foods containing the B complex vitamins, vitamin A, and minerals, particularly zinc. Useful supplements are cod-liver oil and kelp (seaweed).

Dandruff can be effectively treated with oils of Bergamot, Lavender or, best of all, a blend of the two. Mix them in equal quantities and add to a carrier oil in a 3% dilution. Mix the oils into almond or olive oil in a 3% dilution, and massage this into the scalp. Leave it on for one or two hours, wrapping the head in cling-film or plastic, covered with warm towels, and then shampoo out. If you have oily fair hair, then you can add camomile to the final rinse and for this it is better to make a strong infusion of the flowers than to use the essential oil.

Another effective, natural way of combatting dandruff is to apply pre-shampooing lotions to the scalp.

1. 50 g (2 oz) sage
500 ml (a scant pint) boiling water
2 drops essential oil of sage
2 drops essential oil of thyme
Make an infusion by boiling the sage leaves in the water for 2 minutes, then leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Add the essential oils.

2. 3 nasturtium beads
500 ml (a scant pint) boiling water
250 ml (a scant Vi pint) rum
4 drops essential oil of rosemary
Boil the nasturtium heads in the water for 2 minutes, then infuse for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of this tea to the rum, and add the rosemary oil.

Rub either of these solutions into the scalp four times a week, at least, before shampooing. Then wash the hair with a shampoo made by mixing one-third shampoo and two-thirds sage infusion together, with 1 drop of sage oil. An alternative is one-third shampoo and two-thirds nasturtium tea plus 1 drop of thyme. Rinse with cold mineral or purified water and add 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar for dark hair or 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice for fair hair.

It is wise to avoid anti-dandruff shampoos because they can have a very drying effect on the scalp, especially if used for long periods.

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