Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoo – Can It Really Work?
There is still quite a lot of controversy surrounding sulphate free shampoos. While there are those people who swear by them and feel that they are being ‘healthier’ by switching to a shampoo with fewer chemicals in general there are others, especially more than a few medical experts who feel, for most people, making the switch from a standard shampoo to one that is sulfate free is more about media pressure and rumors than anything else and that if they see a difference at all it will be minimal.
Dry scalp can be easily mistaken for dandruff because both conditions have similar symptoms: intense to mild hair skin itching, epidermal shedding (small flakes of dry skin), irritation and sometimes hair loss..
The one group of people that even those who feel less than enthusiastic about sulfate free shampoos for the masses agree may indeed benefit from opting for a sulfate free shampoo are those that suffer from dry scalp or dandruff as there is little doubt that for many, sulfates will only worsen a dandruff problem when used over time.
It should be noted at this point that just because a shampoo is sulfate free that does not mean it is necessarily free of chemicals that may have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Usually any commercial – as in easily found in the drugstore – anti dandruff shampoo, sulfates or no sulfates aside, will contain at least one anti fungal ingredient, usually something called zinc pyrithione, a yeast inhibitor (some cases of dandruff are worsened by yeast funguses) as well as salicylic acid, which is included to help get rid of dead skin cells on the scalp. As is the case when you use salicylic acid on your face though over drying can occur which will only worsen the problem. Therefore while salicylic acid can be helpful do watch out for a poor reaction.
Therefore if you are switching dandruff shampoos because you want ingredients that are as natural and gentle as possible while still being effective – which is as good an idea as any – then you will really want to look for a sulfate free option that also skips the other chemical additions as well. These can be very hard to find at the moment as a look at the ingredients often shows that even ‘natural’ shampoos are loaded with not so natural substances. There are however a handful of good choices, as well as a rather interesting homemade concoction that might help.
#3. Sage Shampoo for Heavy Dandruff with Jojoba, Argan, and Organic Spikenard
Many people who suffer from quite severe dandruff will actually resort to a prescription medicated shampoo is try and solve the problem and often it does. The problem however is that these medications come with a whole set of nasty side effects and their use actually has to be very carefully monitored, especially in people with liver problems and they cannot be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Is it really worth risking your health for the sake of a shampoo?
This shampoo addresses the problem in different way, making use of natural ingredients that have long been used in ‘alternative’ medicine to combat dandruff. Sage has a reputation for being a very effective anti-inflammatory and anti-septic that can help combat dermatitis. The addition of spikenard intensifies the effect and also leaves the hair ‘shinier’. Rosemary is great for improving circulation to the scalp and tea tree oil is of course a great natural antiseptic. And the argan and jojoba? They add some great moisture without weighing you hair down.
The user reports are positive and most people found that the shampoo did a pretty good job of controlling dandruff. It was also popular because, unlike commercial anti dandruff shampoos, the smell is incredibly good and it really is a true sulfate free shampoo.
#2. Pure & Basic Shampoo
This shampoo combines the dandruff-fighting powers of rosemary and tea tree oil with Canadian Willowherb, a powerful anti-inflammatory and itch relieving substance. The shampoo – and its complementary conditioner – is recommended for those with a moderate dandruff problem.
Rosemary and tea tree oil are both rather commonly used in ‘natural shampoos’ in general, not just in anti-dandruff products. The addition of the Canadian Willowherb, however, is something a little different. The ‘active’ component in it is something called Oenothein-B, a substance that has been found by researchers to have such powerful anti-inflammatory properties that it stands up well against any prescription medication.
As so many cases of dandruff are Most cases of dandruff the result of an inflammatory response to a yeast fungus then these properties are potentially very beneficial and the fact that Canadian Willowherb seems to have some decent free radical fighting properties may help imp[rove the overall condition of the hair.
Users who have been pleased with this shampoo comment on its gentleness and its ability to reduce the overall amount of dandruff considerably. The fact that it contains no artificial fragrances and is not animal tested appeals to many as well.
#1. Pura D'or Argan Oil Premium Organic Shampoo Scalp & Dandruff Treatment
We’ll start off with the not so good news about this shampoo; it is expensive, up to double the price of some of the other options. The reason for the expense may be in part due to the number of ingredients it contains, especially essential oils. Argan (in itself not cheap), sage, tea tree, lemon and lavender oils are all included as is an oil that has been found to be very effective against dandruff, coconut oil. If that all sounds, well, very oily, the shampoo itself is not and is suitable for use on all hair types.
Of all of the shampoos mentioned here though this is the one that has generated the biggest positive ‘buzz’, especially among those with severe dandruff. Most comment that while they don’t find it to be a ‘cure’ for their dandruff regular use does control it very well, which is perhaps the best you can ask of any anti dandruff shampoo.
The Homemade Alternative
As just mentioned, coconut oil has been found to be surprisingly effective in controlling dandruff and there is a way you can make a home treatment that takes advantage of both coconut oil and coconut milk to create a dandruff fighting system that many people say beats all of the store bought options.
The ‘shampoo’ portion is a combination of coconut milk and liquid Castile Soap, Dr Bronner’s is probably the best choice as it is all natural. For a ‘single use serving’ combine 1 tsp coconut milk and 1 Tbsp castile soap in a small jar and shake to mix. Jut prior to trying this concoction out though massage 5-7 drops of coconut oil into your hair and let it sit for a few minutes. When you use the soap/milk combination you might be surprised by just how much lather you get, so be careful to avoid your eyes as castile soap does sting! Use in the same way as a shampoo, rinsing out completely.