SHIKAKAI FOR DANDRUFF
Shikakai is said to be an elixir for your hair troubles. But is it really beneficial?
Acacia Concinna, better known as Shikakai, is a climbing shrub that is found across Asia. It is a common ingredient in traditional shampoos and cleansers, also being used as food in some countries. It features heavily in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties and is widely used for hair application.
Although modern medicine is a bit conflicted on the advantages, traditional cures have long proclaimed the shikakai benefits for hair. You will often see the use of shikakai for hair growth and sometimes shikakai for dandruff troubles.
What are the shikakai benefits for hair?
- It is said to be a natural cleanser that works as a surfactant to remove all the dirt and build-up from your scalp, unclogging your pores. It does not strip away the natural oils, thus maintaining the natural eco-system of your scalp.
- It is rich in saponins, vitamins, and antioxidants, which makes your hair shiny and can prevent premature greying of your hair strands.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm down any inflammation or itching on your scalp. This can also reduce any form of scalp breakouts.
- It is said to boost hair growth and strengthen the hair strands. It contains Vitamins A, C, E and K, which helps to give you thicker hair and increases blood circulation to the scalp.
- It is said to promote sebum production that can untangle your hair. When combined with the antioxidants, it can make your hair softer and get rid of any split ends.
- It contains anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that can stop the growth of any bacteria or infections.
- It can regulate the pH levels of your scalp and hair, nourishing your hair follicles.
- It is said to prevent and stop the spread of lice on your scalp and hair.
- By boosting sebum production, it can prevent your scalp from drying out.
The main issues that most people face is with hair loss and dandruff. When your scalp becomes inflamed and you have clogged follicles, the hair roots become weak and you start seeing an increase in hair loss. On the other hand, the cause of dandruff is excess oil and a fungus known as Malassezia Globosa. The fungus breaks down the oil into by-products that half of the world reacts to, ending up with an itchy scalp, redness and flakes of dead skin cells.
Shikakai contains properties that can help with both these problems. By clearing out the dirt, reducing inflammation and reinforcing your hair strands, it can boost hair growth. Its anti-fungal characteristic also works to reduce the spread of the hair dandruff causing fungus.
How should you use shikakai for dandruff and hair growth?
There are many methods that people have utilised for generations, but it is important to note that these are not fool proof. Always be careful with the ingredients that work for you and work against you. When using shikakai for hair growth, most people use shikakai powder once a week. This is easy to make at home. You just need to dry out 15 pods of shikakai in the sun, and then grind them up into a fine powder.
Shikakai pods, Amla and Reetha –Soak these overnight and boil the mixture together. You can even add fenugreek seeds to this. Once it cools, strain the liquid out and use it as a shampoo on your hair. Rinse thoroughly. This is used as a natural cleanser.
Shikakai powder and Curd –Create a paste out of these two ingredients and apply it to your hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and rinse thoroughly. This can act as a cleanser and also boost hair growth.
Shikakai powder, Neem powder, Reetha and Water –Create a consistent mixture from this and apply it to your hair. Leave it for 45 minutes until it is dry and then wash thoroughly with a gentle shampoo. This is when you want to use shikakai for dandruff.
Shikakai powder and Coconut/Olive oil –Creating a shikakai based oil can help for hair dandruff and for hair growth. Create a mixture and store it in a dark, cool place. Keep shaking the mixture occasionally for the next couple weeks. Once it’s mixed, apply it to your hair. You can leave it for 30 minutes or even overnight. Wash with a gentle shampoo after.
Shikakai powder and Amla oil or Egg –Creating a mixture from either of these ingredients can work to thicken your hair. Apply this to your hair and leave it for 30 to 45 minutes until dry. Then wash with a shampoo until clean. Don’t use hot water when using eggs and shikakai for hair growth.
Shikakai powder and Apple Cider Vinegar –Apply this mixture to your hair and wait for 45 minutes for it to dry. Wash it with water or a gentle shampoo to help with your dandruff. Do not use this too often.
Are there any concerns?
Shikakai has been extensively used for topical application and does not hold any major risks. But you should be aware of the quantities that you use and whether it is meant for your hair type. You should always do a patch test in case you have an allergic reaction to it. In addition, pregnant women are recommended to avoid using shikakai.
There is some concern when it comes to dandruff, as shikakai does not clear out the oil and there is a possibility of your scalp producing even more. Shikakai might reduce your dandruff, but there is always a chance of it coming back.
As there are limited studies and inconclusive proof for the use of shikakai on your head, you might be better off using a scalp shampoo for your dandruff troubles. You could look at the Head and Shoulder Neem, that can clean your scalp and remove the dandruff causing germs. In case you want the benefit of both dandruff removal and smooth hair, use the Head and Shoulders Smooth and Silky 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. You could still use shikakai as one of the many dandruff home remedies, but just approach it carefully.