Dandruff occurs when the scalp's skin cells grow at a fast rate and the dead skin cells build up and flake off in clumps. A yeast-like fungus called malassezia, which occurs naturally on the scalp, may cause skin cells to grow faster and contribute to the condition. Styling products, stress and dry weather can also cause dandruff or make it worse.
Tea tree oil, or malaleuca oil, from the leaves of a native Australian plant, has antiseptic and antifungal properties that may help, says Hagen. Shampoos with tea tree oil can be found in most drug stores. Or you can buy tea tree oil and add a few drops to a tablespoon of olive, safflower or other cooking oil and rub it into your hair before using your regular shampoo. Be sure to always dilute the oil, since applying too much to the skin may cause irritation.
Another home remedy for dandruff is green tea. Research has shown that green tea's anti-inflammatory properties may soothe the scalp and slow down the growth of skin cells. Steep two bags of green tea in one cup of hot water. Once the water has cooled, massage the tea into your scalp, let it soak in for up to an hour and rinse.