I have dark brown hair and recently started noticing a lot of flakes.
Q. Dear Terry, “I have dark brown hair and recently started noticing a lot of flakes. My scalp has also been a little itchy lately too. I tried a couple dandruff shampoos that helped a little, but when I stopped using them the flakes came right back. Is there something else I could try to get rid of the dandruff?”– Chela K., Indianapolis, IN
A. Dear Chela, Flaky scalp and dandruff are often treated with an external approach like shampoos, leave-in conditioners, topical treatments, and others. Unfortunately, these aren’t addressing the underlying issue and instead may only provide temporary relief. I think the best way to address scalp issues is through a nutritional approach that nourishes from the inside out.
Dandruff can have a variety of causes, but ultimately has its roots in inflammation. This is why I believe curcumin is absolutely necessary to help with this issue. Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory that works via multiple pathways. Keep in mind that standard curcumin is very poorly absorbed, so make sure the product you choose features a curcumin with excellent absorption that has been proven in published human studies. The curcumin I prefer is blended with turmeric essential oil in a patented process. I would take curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil twice per day.
I think you could also benefit from incorporating more omega-3s into your daily routine. Omega-3s are also anti-inflammatory and deficiencies have been linked with skin conditions, like dandruff. I prefer omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids and beneficial peptides, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients. I would take omega-3s from salmon twice per day.
Lastly, I believe Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) could be very helpful. Sea buckthorn oil has been clinically shown to improve the hydration capabilities of the skin and mucous membranes, helping to alleviate dryness and facilitate skin healing. When you look for a sea buckthorn extract, make sure it is rich in many nutrients, including omega-7, but also omega 3, 6, and 9. A complete sea buckthorn oil extract from both the berry and seeds should include beneficial phytosterols, tocopherols and carotenoids, just like the material used in the clinical studies. I believe environmentally-friendly, solvent-free, supercritical CO2 extraction technology is the best extraction method for sea buckthorn. That way, you know you’re getting the same type of sea buckthorn oil that has been clinically tested. I would take a sea buckthorn oil that comes from the berry and seed, two times per day.
Terry . . . Naturally