Dandruff affects one in five Australians. You can't catch it from someone else, nor is it a sign of poor hygiene. It is caused by a small yeast organism, Pityrosporum ovale. This instigates an increased turnover of scalp cells, causing them to flake off. Though normally confined to the scalp, it can also occur around the eyebrows and behind the ears. Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition closely associated with dandruff. It affects the scalp and eyebrows and may even spread to the cheeks and chest. In babies, it is known as cradle cap. For both conditions, the treatment is the same. Mix 100ml coconut oil, 20 drops lemon oil, 20 drops tea tree oil, 10 drops lavender oil, five drops thyme oil and 10 drops liquid selenium (if available). Once or twice a week, massage 5ml to 10ml of the mixture into the scalp before bed and wear a scarf or cover the pillow with a towel. In the morning, wash your hair with a gentle baby shampoo and conditioner. A daily five- to 10-minute head massage will relax the scalp and improve circulation. Using the pads of all fingers, firmly press down and move in small rotating circles in a clockwise direction, moving the scalp skin and the thin layer of muscle that covers the skull. Scalp skin is no different from other skin and will benefit from a diet and supplements that support healthy skin. Increase the following: Essential fatty acids: Nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, avocados. Beta-carotene and vitamin A: Liver, cod liver oil, broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potato. Zinc: Red meat, oysters, seafood, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, wholegrains. Selenium: Brazil nuts, seafood, wheat germ. Avoid fungal-promoting foods such as sugar, wine, beer, yeast spreads, grapes and melons. Eat plenty of garlic and onion. Got a question for our naturopath? Ask Mim Beim here. Find out more about Mim Beim.