Dealing with dandruff? Just give it thyme!

  • Discover the yeast behind this annoying problem
  • Wear black clothes with confidence once again
  • The essential eight tips you need if you have dandruff

I once asked a doctor-friend of mine what the perfect cure for dandruff was.

His answer?


Well, he was not wrong, I suppose. But I’m sure there are other ways to deal with this condition. In fact, I know it.

Thanks to more of my painstaking research, I can now bring you the best ever ways to rid yourself of dandruff… forever!

What really causes dandruff

Dandruff is caused by a reaction to a yeast called ‘Pityrosporum ovale’. (Sounds bad, I know. Let’s just say I wouldn’t make my bread out of it!)

The reaction causes you to shed more and more dead cells from the surface of your scalp.

But here’s the curious part…

It’s not actually dry parts of your skin where dandruff occurs, but the greasy parts, where the skin glands are more active. So don’t confuse dandruff for dry skin. It’s quite the opposite.

Nevertheless, here’s how to sort out your dandruff for good.

  • Remove margarine and processed oils from your diet. Except for sesame oil, which you shouldn’t eat, but rub into your scalp instead. Yes, yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it does prevent the skin from peeling.
  • Don’t wear a hat. Sunlight actually stops pityrosporum ovale yeast from growing. So get more light on your noggin – doctor’s orders.
  • Don’t scratch! Even when you shampoo, rub gently and don’t dig your nails in. Fingernails damage the roots.
  • Don’t dye your hair. If you’re gagging for Grecian 2000 or just hankering to return to the days of punk, forget it. Hair dye reduces the number of good bacteria on your scalp, some of which are essential in fighting dandruff yeast.
  • Use tea tree oil. In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, research showed that a 5% tea tree oil shampoo improved dandruff by 41%.
  • Give it thyme. I found this interesting solution while surfing the internet. You should boil 4 table spoons of dried time in half a litre of water for 10 minutes. After it has cooled, strain it through a sieve. Massage the liquid into your scalp 3 times a week and leave it there overnight. (This potion can also be used to turn your neighbour into a newt, so use wisely.)
  • There are some natural anti-dandruff shampoos available, the best contain either burdock root or Malabar kino bark, as well as tea tree oil.
  • Look for zinc. When you choose your anti-dandruff shampoo, try one with zinc-pyrithione, which is reputedly very good. Or you can try taking a zinc supplement. It could help.

As with most chronic diseases and conditions, getting the right nutrition is vital. Make sure you get vitamins B6, B12 and E into your diet.

A final thing. Stress is also a factor because you may not realise it, but when you are stressed you rub and scratch at your scalp. I have written quite a bit about stress recently so if you think that this is something you should be tackling have a look at the archive stories on the website.

And now for something completely different…

…A warning about fish

I am an absolute fish nut.

Aside from its taste and versatility, in all my research and reading I haven’t found a better source of the nutrients you need to live a long and healthy life. You’ll often find me recommending it, and I do hope you get some of our finned friends into your diet.

But there is one problem with fish.

And, as usual, it’s a man-made problem.

High levels of mercury are found in many fish. This can raise the risk of heart disease and damage the nervous system of unborn children.

The big ones to watch are Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel and Marlin…

…I know that these are not necessarily on everyone’s menu but to a lesser extent, mercury is found in fresh and frozen tuna.

The UK’s Food Standards agency has recently advised pregnant women and children not to eat these fish. I see no reason to disagree with them.

Mercury (and other heavy metals) can have other impacts on health too.

For example, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that mercury levels in men who had a heart attack were 15% higher than those with no history of heart problems.

And the finger pointed at impurities found in fish.

How to use fish to protect your heart

I think a lot of these warnings can be a little overzealous, so if you’re not pregnant and over 18, then I would indulge in a bit of swordfish very occasionally – but don’t overdo it.

In the meantime, here’s the advice from the New England Journal of

Medicine about the rest of the fish world:

“A weekly intake of two to four servings of fish from a variety of species with special emphasis on fatty fish with low mercury content, such as salmon and small oceanic fish, is consistent with current advice for reducing cardiovascular risk.”

And from the British Heart Foundation:

“Try to eat fish twice a week, including one portion of oily fish such as sardines and mackerel.”

Put in plain English: fish is good for your heart, but watch out for the mercury.

I usually like to argue with the powers-that-be in the medical establishment, but this sounds fair enough to me.

P.S. We have some of the sustainably sourced Krill Oil back in stock in the shop now, having been unable to get any for a few weeks. Many thanks for those who bore with us whilst we waited for the supplier to restock us.