Q. Dear Terry, “My scalp has been itchy and feels irritated. I’ve also noticed more flakes than normal. I tried some of the shampoos and they didn’t help. What are some natural ways I can get rid of dandruff?” – Kelsey S., Los Angeles, CA
A. Dear Kelsey, 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 to get my omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to beneficial peptides and phospholipids, 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. The seed, pulp, and skin of the sea buckthorn berry are packed with over 200 nutrients, including antioxidant tocopherols, beta-carotene, phytosterols, and omega fatty acids. Omega-7 comprises about 50% of the sea buckthorn berry’s fatty acid content, making it one of the most valuable nutrient sources of palmitoleic acid you can find. However, not all sea buckthorn products contain omega-7 fatty acids. That’s because omega-7 is found only in the pulp of the berry, not the seed oil. I would suggest taking sea buckthorn that contains both the seed oil and pulp three times daily. Also, look for a product that has clinical studies so you know it is safe and effective.
Terry . . . Naturally
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