As we have written before, the quest for dandruff free hair is a popular concern among many Krya consumers. So on a fine Saturday a few weeks ago,we tried out a second pilot batch in our hair oil range and made a pilot batch of a hair oil for dandruff prone hair.
Dandruff is described as a part of minor ailments / rogas in Ayurveda and Ayurveda lists several reasons for dandruff in the hair.
Dandruff can be of two types: dry, light, white and small flakes and thick, oily, yellowing large flakes. The first type of dandruff occurs with a strong vitiation of vata dosha, and embodies the qualities of air – dry, light, without moisture and without weight.
Dry dandruff is often caused by inherent dryness in the body or the use of very strong and drying products on the body, or by eating vata promoting substances or by a lifestyle that promotes vata.
The second kind of dandruff , which manifests as psoriasis on the scalp, or seborrhoeic dermatitis with thick, yellow oil looking flakes is a kapha vitiation. Kapha is responsible for building mass in the body, so in this case vitiated kapha contributes to extra thick scale like growth on the body which is full of oil and is itchy and painful.
Most of the dandruff complaints we see at Krya belong to type 1. This scalp aggravation arises as a result of seemingly unconnected events that include:
Vata promoting eating habits:
- Eating erratically at varying times everyday
- Eating vata promoting foods – dry food like bread, millets, foods high in wind like potatos, cauliflower, and certain types of food, limited use of oil and other lubricating substances in the food, and eating foods that are very pungent or spicy
- Eating too fast without proper chewing
- Eating a heavy amount of lentils that are vata promoting
Dosha vitiating lifestyle habits
- Excessive travel
- Eating at erratic times
- Eating at times that are not connected to the sun’s movement (for example eating late into the night)
- Drinking tea, coffee and cola – all three have astringent, diuretic properties and remove water / moisture from the body and wind you up further
- Eating a strong amount of sour food or drinking very cold drinks
- High exposure to the sun
- Excessive sweating or very oily scalp
- Suppressing natural urges like urination and defacation
- Keeping late hours
Dosha vitiating cleaning and cosmetic products:
- Use of extremely harsh and strong cleansing agents like synthetic soaps and shampoos that aggressively removes sebum from the skin
- Frequent use of these harsh and strong cleansing agents – we’ve discussed the toxic cleaning cycle of using a shampoo before. As the shampoo strips hair aggressively of sebum, the hair’s ecosystem counters with a larger production of sebum to make up for the loss. Therefore you will find your hair feeling oily a day or two after a wash. You will therefore wash it more frequently in an attempt to get it to feel clean. This will further aggravate the sebum production.
- Lack of moisture supplementation – Ayurveda advises regular or sometimes daily abhyanga, with medicated taila or sesame oil for vata vitiation
Vata balancing diet:
Ayurveda advises the use of specific food in the case of severely vitiated vata. White rice, green mung cooked with minimal masala and spiced with substances like jeer and pepper and sun ripened vegetables like gourds and pumpkins are generally advised. Traditional medicine also advocates the consumption of internal lubricants like fresh coconut oil, coconut meat, and fresh native cow ghee in severe vata affliction like joint and bone disease, spondylitis and of course severely dry skin and hair conditions.
What Ayurveda advises in dandruff (both types):
As vata is a drying condition, the simplest and most effective remedy if you have type 1 dandruff and dry skin or hair is to lubricate yourself internally and externally. Traditional medicine advocates the extensive use of oil on both the body and the hair, as it believes that this type of dandruff is only a symptom of overall vata vitiation – so the entire system requires lubrication.
Dandruff caused by an oily scalp or conditions like psoriasis of scalp and seborrhoeic dermatitis is seen as a kapha vitiation.
The Krya dandruff hair oil formulation:
The Krya hair oil to combat dandruff has been made using a mixture of scalp nourishing herbs. We follow the traditional Ayurvedic process of making hair oils which uses both an aqueous and an oil phase to extract water soluble and fat soluble nutrients from the same herbs.
To make 10 litres of oil, we have to boil nearly 55 litres of material until the moisture evaporates and the herbs come to the correct “pakha” or consistency and are just extracted – the herbs when tested in the oil after processing should neither be hard and dry nor soft and oily – and should be at the “Madhya” or medium pakha / consistency.
Traditional medicine advocates a 7 day curing period –the herbs continue to steep in the oil after moisture evaporation so that a greater nutrient transfer takes place.
For the Krya dandruff beta oil, we use herbs that soothe scalp itchiness and work on fungal infections like thyme and Citriodora leaf.
We also use a versatile ayurvedic ingredient called karun jeeraka / black cumin seed in this hair oil. Nigella sativa seeds are an excellent hair ingredient and contain upto 100 different nutrients to nourish hair and work on hair fall, and hair thinning. In this case, it also soothes inflammations and itchy scalp conditions and has an anti fungal action.
We also use a special native green(or keerai) from Tamilnadu in this formulation. This keerai is called “sigappu ponnaganni keerai” or Alternanthera sessilis (Dwarf copper leaf) and is excellent in bringing down pitta conditions, is very moisturizing and soothing on hair and helps soften and bring new life to hair. This is an excellent native green to eat in the summer and helps internally cool the body as well and is light, nutritious and easy to digest.
Apart from these, we have also added excellent shade dried organic curry leaf, forest collected Indian Liquorice and Indian madder to add shine, gloss and health to hair.
The holistic approach to great skin and hair:
The Bhaisajya Ratnavalli by Shri Govinda Das Ji is an important textbook in Ayurveda. It is compendium of Ayurvedic formulations taken across different texts like the charaka sanhita, Sushruta Samhita , Sarangadhara samhita, Yoga Ratnakara etc and compiled by the author to make Ayurveda more physician friendly and easy to prescribe and practice.
Chapter 83 in Volume 3 of Bhaisajya Ratnavalli talks about “skhalitya chikitsa” or the treatment for aloepecia and it says thus:
“Swakhamarno nivritasthu skhalithye beshaja shubam. Katuthikshanakashayaadhi pathyam vyartha tu thadivna”
“The best remedy for skhalitya is nothing but properly conducted and regulated physical habits. If they are not carried through properly, all the hot, soft and bitter drugs would not yield any effect”.
This statement could be used across any skin or hair care remedy. As I have said before, truly good skin and hair comes from eating well, sleeping well, following balance in life, AND using the right products in the right frequency on yourself.
Jim Rohn, the great motivational speaker says pretty much the same thing in a very pithy way: “You can’t eat seven apples on Saturday and hope to feel better!”
So also, the route to great skin and hair comes from the building blocks of healthy living. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
A happy Friday to you (with just one apple, good company, loved ones, and great food!) from all of us at Krya.
The Krya range of hair products for Dandruff:
Here are our 3 dandruff fighting products for hair:
- The Krya anti dandruff hairwash – low foam, and especially formulated to reduce itching and scalp irritation.
- The Krya anti dandruff hair oil – Formulated to soothe irritated and flaking scalps. Also helps healthy hair growth and strengthens hair
- The Krya anti dandruff hair mask – reduces irritation on scalp, gives scalp and hair a good herb boost