The foundational understanding of doshas gives us insights into every aspect of our physiology — including dandruff.
An excess of Vata dosha is behind the onset of dandrfuff. Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition marked by flaking of the skin on your scalp. While dandruff is not a serious medical condition, it can be embarrassing and sometimes difficult to treat.
Vata dosha governs the nervous system and activity in general. The head is a high-Vata area because of all our intellectual and mental activity. Dandruff is caused by the drying quality of Vata (when it is imbalanced). Dandruff often appears hand-in-hand with fatigue, stress, overthinking, worry, anxiety or sleeplessness—all Vata disorders.
Excessive or imbalanced Vata dosha can also result in an obstruction in the flow of the food nutrients that supply nourishment to the hair cells, leading to dry scalp, dry hair, split ends, and finally, thin hair or hair loss.
In order to control dandruff, we need to control Vata. One helpful approach is to start the day with Ayurvedic oil massage, particularly of the scalp. Sesame oil is a deeply penetrating oil that is good for Vata. However, sesame oil is also very heating. If you have Pitta imbalances as well as Vata imbalances and/or if you are giving your scalp a massage during the hot summer months, you may be more comfortable using coconut oil or olive oil.
Here are some other measures to address dandruff:
Drink plenty of water. Sometimes inadequate fluid intake can cause dryness in your body, skin and scalp.
Avoid harsh soaps or shampoos. Wash your hair with filtered water (use a shower filter that can remove the chlorine). Anti-dandruff shampoos claim that they can get rid of dandruff, but they do not address the root-cause of imbalanced Vata. Avoid overuse of hair styling gels and products that contain chemicals.
Don’t keep your head under water for too long during your shower. Best not to use hot water on your head. Room temperature water is best for washing your hair.
Get enough sleep. The best short-cut to balancing Vata is rest. If you are not getting the sleep hours you need ‑— and if you are not getting them during the Pitta hours of 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM — you are short-changing your body’s self repair mechanisms.
Those who suffer from dandruff may notice that the problem may increase with age. This is because the later time of life is governed by Vata dosha. Other symptoms of a Vata imbalance as we grow older are creaking joints, dry skin, memory problems, weak digestion and constipation. While we can’t turn back the clock, it is possible to take measures to balance Vata. Check with an Ayurvedic expert for a list of recommendations that will address your body’s needs.
Panchakarma treatments are very helpful in balancing Vata. Panchakarma is a series of therapies that systematically remove deep toxins from the body. The following are treatments that support hair health.
- Shiro abhyanga – warm oil massage on the scalp to prevent dry scalp and to enhance the lustrous nature in hair
- Nasya – nasal administration of oil to promote circulation
- Shirodhara – prevents stress, improves the nervous system
- Shirolep – This is an herbal paste application that includes the herbs triphala, amalaki, neeli, bringaraj, etc.
For more information on programs to balance Vata and for specific treatment that will vitalize your hair and scalp, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website: