No 'poo and dandruff?

by (78387)
Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 14, 2010 at 5:15 PM

So I haven't washed my hair since the middle of January. I'm male and have fairly short hair. It's great as long as I make sure to actually rinse in the shower.

The problem, however, is that when I start to sweat, my scalp gets itchy and scratching it is no bueno - I appear to have developed a dandruff problem!

What is causing this? My first though was chlorine or something in the water. What do you think?

15515 · April 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM

I have tried stinging nettle. First, my hair turned green. Second, the first one is enough.

346 · April 11, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Any update on this? I've had the same experience.

803 · August 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

I've heard that cold is best to avoid dandruff - but it hasn't helped me in my no shampoo attempt. Maybe I need to try distilled water as I've heard hard water can be bad as well.

477 · January 05, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Every time there is a mention of No Poo somewhere, there are tons of questions and comments from experience. So, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a question and answer site to help beginners, and kind of let everyone discuss the No Shampoo/Soap lifestyle, and all the different experiences and experiments we are doing... http://beyondshampoo.com

699 · May 15, 2010 at 6:58 AM

Have you thought about using shampoo once every few weeks or every month? Maybe it will help.

78387 · May 14, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Hmm, I don't like the idea of the oils. I mean, the point of the no-shampoo thing is because we shouldn't need it. Not because it's "unnatural" and we want hippy "natural" shit in our hair. What temperature of the water prevents dandruff for you?

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20 Answers

168 · October 28, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Funny, cuz going off shampoo solved my dandruff problems. Although, I also stopped taking hot showers. Now, I start warm and make it cooler as I get used to it. I intend to work toward cold ones eventually. This isn't due to stubborn philosophy, but results. After stopping shampoo and soap use and hot water use, I now never get dandruff or dry skin, whereas before I would get those things all the time.

I would definitely give cold showers a try. Also, maybe a glass of water in the morning and fat at every meal.

379 · October 29, 2010 at 5:46 AM

jojoba oil. Trader Joe's carries it too.

It'll work wonders for your hair, scalp, and skin. seriously.

40 · May 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM

I haven't used shampoo since... Not sure, it's been awhile.

The things that I have noticed that cause dandruff in my case are: -Temperature of the water. -Quality of the water. -And what you eat.

I haven't tried it yet, but some people say to use a little coconut oil on your scalp every once and awhile. It stops the dandruff. I tried olive oil back in the day, and it worked, but super greasy...

78387 · May 14, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Hmm, I don't like the idea of the oils. I mean, the point of the no-shampoo thing is because we shouldn't need it. Not because it's "unnatural" and we want hippy "natural" shit in our hair. What temperature of the water prevents dandruff for you?

803 · August 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

I've heard that cold is best to avoid dandruff - but it hasn't helped me in my no shampoo attempt. Maybe I need to try distilled water as I've heard hard water can be bad as well.

30 · September 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Dandruff can sometimes result from too much cortisol. So it could be a stress thing.

892 · October 29, 2010 at 2:08 PM

My scalp gets itchy if I go too long between showers, or generally after I've been sweating. I don't know about actual dandruff- I have thick blonde hair so maybe I just don't notice it. I do get pimples on my scalp sometimes though. I would assume that the itchiness is due to bacteria, especially if you get it after sweating. I personally go with diluted baking soda followed by diluted vinegar (well, apple cider vinegar, I prefer the smell) about once a week with my shower. (The rest of the time I wash my hair with water only.) Mostly it's because that's how I originally kicked the shampoo habit and it makes it feel like there's less oily buildup on my hair. But I always at least rinse with some vinegar if I'm itching, with the theory that it'll cut down on any bacteria that may be contributing.

78387 · May 14, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Tea Tree oil is a natural astringent that can help clear up irritations on skin - whether the skin on your head or anywhere else on your body.

I understand you are on a 'no poo' regimen, BUT Trader Joe's carries a very nice organic tea tree shampoo AND conditioner.

It's possible the condition happened because you're not getting enough water or essential oils/dietary fats daily. could also be because your body is healing and this is eliminating something else in your body.

Still, tea tree oil will help a LOT and you don't need much of it.

10 · May 22, 2012 at 8:01 AM

I've had the same problem. I find less vigorous scrubbing and more thorough rinsing helps, but I'm not really sure. I didn't have this problem before I went no poo, so I really don't know what to do. I might try to change my diet and take colder showers like some of the other commenters suggested.

10 · September 15, 2011 at 4:09 AM

I'm having the same problem. I've been no-poo since June, and now I have a dandruff problem.. and I've never had a problem before. I even stopped using baking soda and the problem is still not going away..

10 · November 08, 2010 at 7:15 PM

I've also been having this problem, although strangely enough, a life-long battle with dandruff was one of the main reasons I decided to go poo-less. It's arguable that I haven't gone long enough to build up the natural oils in my scalp (it's only been 3 weeks), but I am also thinking that I need to ease off the hot water.

Dandruff is just an excess of dead skin cells, and if you think about it, your skin isn't used to being drenched in hot fluids - so of course it starts sloughing off more cells to regenerate after a hot shower!

That being said, taking a cold shower in the dead of winter (fast approaching here in Seattle) is easier said than done. We'll see how that goes...

1208 · October 29, 2010 at 5:59 AM

Stinging nettle os a paleo solution for this. Even before I found paleo, I was looking into healing plants that are natural to my area which is near Vancouver, BC Canada, and I discovered and researched it. I have not collected any or tried it myself, I do want to.

15515 · April 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM

I have tried stinging nettle. First, my hair turned green. Second, the first one is enough.

22923 · October 29, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Hot water dries out your skin.

Think about washing your hands with scalding water in the winter... And the resulting temp swing dries out your hands.

Also how often you bathe can dry out your skin, continual wet dry. I only shower when I'm sweaty from exercise or start to smell, which is usually only after exercise

0 · March 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Matt, Aloe is your dandruff solution to itchy, flaky No Poo head. Aloe gel will do the following:

(taken from Moisturizing Aloe Honey No Poo Recipe) Aloe vera gel helps retain moisture and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities, in addition to the exfoliating abilities mentioned above. This makes it a great weapon against the very things that cause itchy, dry scalp, dandruff and psoriasis. Simply put, it helps to exfoliate the dead skin and sebum build-up that bacteria and fungus like to feed on it. Any “beasties” left on your scalp are then usually destroyed by aloe’s anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. In a study reported in Archives of Dermatology more than 80 percent of the patients treated with aloe vera showed improvement in their scalp psoriasis. If you are suffering from itchy, dry, no poo scalp aloe will help!

Whip up a batch and watch your itch and flakes disappear! Hope this helps and good luck. So awesome to see a guy go No Poo!

173 · November 09, 2012 at 9:53 AM

I started off the no 'poo wagon with a mixture of water and baking soda which helped to get rid of the greasy feeling, especially after exercise, and eventually weaned off that as well.

Prior to using the baking soda mixture my hair would ALWAYS get super greasy if I didn't use shampoo, exercise or no exercise, but once I began using it for a week or two then transitioned to pure water, voila, NO MORE GREASINESS.

I've never had dandruff though, so sad to say can't quite help you on that.

0 · November 09, 2012 at 5:55 AM

FINALLY, after 7 months of water only and monthly egg yolk/now egg white wash. I've gotten my answer to get rid of those flakes. The answer??? NO BRUSHING/COMBING AGAINST THE SCALP except before egg yolk washing. It'll only scrap off dead cells that can't be removed without egg or shampoo. So when you are ready to start over, wash your hair with 1 egg and do not scratch your scalp from then on. At 6 months, I no longer itch even past time for shower.

From embarrassing to nothing within the first week. GONE clean and never back. Well, I do get lint and occasional minor specs, but that can be solved by simply flipping your head over and vigorously shaking the hair that's a part of the crown (mostly bangs). I spend about 30 seconds daily because lint and air dust eventually falls on top of your head. Sometimes I get a comb and lightly "feather" the outer layer of my head. Avoiding scratching the scalp at all cost. The only safe time to do this is when I do an egg wash, knowing egg will get rid of all oil and flakes, similar to using shampoo. But I am slowly weaning out egg yolk because it's at a point where it doesn't look greasy for a week. Since I don't get dandruff anymore, I was able to extend my shower from 3 days to, eekk, 7 days (temporarilay until oil production is to my liking). I thank much to my spiral pins and barrettes to hold my hair in place, looking cleaner for a much longer time.

Tips for decreasing oil production: Water only. Do not use egg wash more than once a month, you'll get more oily. Air dry as quickly as possible and do not use towel. Don't scratch the scalp. Rinse hair with cold water when done. Pull it up with a spiral pin (most comfortable). Comb with your hands. It okay, just wash your hands.

115 · September 07, 2012 at 4:14 PM

I see people talking a lot about this, and as a hairdresser I just don't think I could ever switch over. Mainly because I color my hair as well as use styling products, which need modern day shampoos and conditioners to cleanse and protect. To each their own, right? But really, I stick my hands in a lot of peoples hair. I shampoo 6-10 scalps a day. I see a lot of different stuff in my hair.

My assumption would be that the itching comes from buildup on the scalp, which is also what is flaking. What most people assume is dandruff is actually usually just dry scalp. Dandruff is oily, wazy, and slightly yellow in color. A natural cleanser (maybe baking soda?) every once in awhile would probably break down the buildup. But so might a natural bristle brush or good scalp massage. Apple cider vinegar or coconut oil might be good for moisturizing as well. Unfortunately we're not washing out hair in spring water that hasn't had anything added to it, which is probably the culprit of the buildup.

0 · September 07, 2012 at 1:33 AM

I had the same problem. I never had problems with dandruff until i went no poo. I read on MayoClinic (take it for what it's worth) that dandruff is not necessarily "dry skin" but can also be caused by excess oils on our scalp that can cause dead skin cells to clump, turn white, and flake. There is also a fungus that can feed off of the excess oil. I gave in and started using head and shoulders and the problem has really improved a lot. My husband is in medical school and he said that if I were to really stick it out and continue with the no poo my oil glands would not have over produced like they did, but people at work were noticing so I caved. Good luck though!

11204 · May 22, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Here are some things that I did. I stopped eating coconut oil. Some guy came on PH and said it was making the space between his eyebrows flaky. This was happening to me too, but I never connected it to coconut oil until he mentioned it.
I increased the amount of vinegar I was using to about 30% vinegar with water.
I use a fine tooth comb in the shower, making sure I get to the scalp. I let the vinegar sit on my skin for a little while before rinsing.

The other thing is that it got warmer. Not something I did, but definitely something that effects skin.

4 · May 22, 2012 at 10:50 AM

for hair, why do you not massage them [dry or wet] and use shea butter [overnight say] and wash them with aleppo soap [at least 50% of laurel, otherwise it is a scam] since it has got a pH around 7 and preserves your sebaceous film ?

851 · October 29, 2010 at 2:01 AM

I haven't used shampoo or conditioner for about three years now, although I did try a non-soap combo product because it moisturized my head and helped me with the dandruff problem. But I didn't like using products, so lately I've tried to minimize the amount of time I spend rinsing my hair. That seems to be working so far.

457 · May 15, 2010 at 6:55 AM

I've been going without shampoo and soap for a few months now. I always had a slight dandruff problem, but was able to control it with special shampoo. Seems like my head becomes most irritated after a hot shower. I may try to take a cooler shower to see if this helps. If that fails, maybe a small bit of coconut oil can help.

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