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The Dandruff Files

Uncoventional Wisdom: The Dandruff Files
Author finds natural cure to his dandruff woes....
Unconventional Wisdom: The Dandruff Files
by Jake Logan
04 December 2001

Dandruff has been a personal problem of mine since childhood. I cannot count the days and nights I spent lamenting the fact that wearing my favorite black "anti-social" t-shirts would "give away" my condition. Little did I know that a remedy for the white flakes has been around for centuries...although given little publicity.

Today in the United States over 97% of the population is expected to experience some form of dandruff in their lifetimes. The condition may only be minor periodic flaking, or, if you are unfortunate to have excessively oily hair like mine, it may become worse, often leading to continuous scabs and large patches of dead skin in the hair.

As a child, I often wondered what the cause of such a condition could be. When I inquired (even to a licensed dermatologist) the answer was always, "We do not know...you probably inherited it". I was then led to an aisle of expensive dandruff shampoos and told to pick...the implication being that I would have to purchase these shampoos for the rest of my life...or suffer the dreaded white shoulder and scabby scalp of my condition. This "arrangement" seemed to make financial sense for the drug companies creating these maintenance "dandruff shampoos", but little sense for me.

About six months ago I began seeking a more permanent cure for my dandruff woes. I began to think exactly what caused my problem and how the dandruff was attacking my scalp. I began to notice some striking similarities between my dandruff and later phases of athlete's foot. Both are conditions of the skin, both flourish in places on the body that often hold excessive moisture, both cause flaking, itching, and scabbing.

My first step was to shave my head. I had always wanted to shave my head but resisted for fear of being labeled a "skin head" as I am white and believe in social equality. However, in the name of science, I quickly shaved my head and observed a large patch of red across my scalp, the skin of my head was hard and flaky when it dried.

For several weeks I kept my head dutifully shaved, waiting to see if the rash would disappear by itself. It would for a while, but as soon as the hair grew over a few millimeters, the itching and red patches would return. I surmised that, like athlete's foot, there must be some type of fungus creating the problem. But how to kill that fungus...or at least create a climate that was unfit for the fungus to thrive?

The thought of buying can after can of athlete's foot powder disturbed me...I had already given the chemical companies hundreds of dollars for their worthless dandruff shampoos. I needed something else, an alternative cure, and thus I went to a web search engine (Google.com) and discovered several pages that said apple cider vinegar was a cure for both dandruff and athlete's foot. I quickly ran to my local indie grocery store and bought a bottle of regionally-grown organic non-GMO apple cider vinegar.

Still having my head shaved, I applied the vinegar three times daily to my scalp. I didn't bother washing off my head, but allowed the ACV to penetrate my skin thoroughly. Special attention was paid to applying the vinegar behind my ears (like between the toes...a great place for fungi to hide) and lightly in my eyebrows (where I sometimes got flakes...watch the eyes though!). At night I would wash my head with soap so that I didn't stink up my pillowcases.

At this point I began to more thoroughly research the dandruff-fungi connection. It turns out, despite the literature most dandruff-chemical companies distribute on the "open" market, that dandruff does have a specific fungi cause: Pityrosporum ovale, or P. ovale, or Mallassezia furfur.

Most people have P. ovale (a common yeast fungus) on their bodies at all times. It is only when the fungus is given an environment to successfully reproduce continuously that people get severe dandruff. Thus, with my oily hair, I had bad dandruff. Apple Cider Vinegar offers a perfect "cure" for removing excess fungi in that it significantly raises the pH level (acidic content) of your skin. Fungus can't grow in areas with excessive acid content, thus they die/leave/etc.

After about two days of the ACV treatment, I began to notice that my scalp was peeling and burning (especially behind the ears). After four days I had open wounds between my ear and neck. The affect is similar to the purging of athlete's foot fungi between toes.

I continued the three-day applications for about a month (easing up behind the ears to let that section of skin heal). Since that time, I have been practically dandruff-free (no flakes, no scabs). I do occasionally get an itchy feel in my scalp due to the vast amounts of the P. ovale in the environment (and weather conditions). To cure this, I keep a squeeze bottle of ACV in my shower to dutifully massage into my scalp before washing my hair with soap. It does the trick...and ACV makes your hair softer too.

Apple Cider Vinegar is a cheap, replenishable, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to cure many skin alignments, and especially dandruff. ACV is widely available and will most likely cure your dandruff problems...even if you don't shave your head for the initial fungi purge.

1. Cover head with ACV three times a day, leaving on scalp, for a month (you can either shave head or use a squeeze bottle to apply directly to scalp).
2. Be sure and treat other affected areas like eyebrows and chest.
3. After purge, use when showering for several more months to purge your living environment of the P. ovale fungus.
4. Keep a bottle of ACV handy, it has numerous cures which are becoming well documented on the Internet.