Home Remedies for Dandruff

Dandruff is annoying if you suffer from it.  Using specialty dandruff shampoos is neither good for your health or your wallet.  Some of the ingredients in conventional dandruff shampoos include: coal tar, sodium lauryl sulfate, ketokonazole (anti fungal), Zinc Pyrithione (anti fungal), not to mention all the other surfectants and synthetic fragrances that are added. While I do think sometimes dandruff shampoos are necessary, for the most part you can treat your dandruff with home remedies for dandruff. Why expose your body to additional toxins if you don’t have to, and also save money at the same time? Here are some of the dandruff remedies I’ve successfully used in the past.

Tea Tree Oil . Tea tree oil is a natural anti fungal and anti bacterial. To use the tea tree oil as a home remedy for dandruff, simply add four to five drops to your normal shampoo. Be sure to massage well into your scalp and allow the tea tree oil/shampoo mixture to sit and penetrate your scalp for three to five minutes. While you are waiting for the amount of time to pass, gently use your finger tips to rub your scalp. This will help loosen any flaky scalp and allow the tea tree oil to do a better job. After the time is up, rinse your hair well with warm water.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Believe it or not, apple cider vinegar is a great home remedy for dandruff. The acidity of the vinegar helps remove some of the flakiness of the dandruff, and helps heal the scalp. Vinegar also helps condition the hair cuticle by balancing the ph and seals it to prevent flyaways. Mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with about a cup of warm water while you’re in the shower. Pour on your scalp and allow it to sit for about three minutes. Be sure to rinse well afterward. Using the apple cider vinegar rinse after the tea tree oil treatment is great. The smell of the vinegar will dissipate soon after, I promise!

Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is a natural anti-fungal, anti bacterial, anti parasitic, and anti viral. Whatever you’ve got on your scalp-fungus, bacterial infection, etc, will be reduced by applying coconut oil to your scalp. Here’s the easiest treatment: before you go to bed use one to two teaspoons of coconut oil and rub into your scalp. The coconut oil is solid as it’s in the container, but melts at 76 degrees. Take a half teaspoon at a time and allow the oil to melt in your hands and then apply directly to the scalp.  Be sure to sleep with a towel on your pillow so you don’t get oil all over it.  You can also wrap your hair in plastic wrap.  An added bonus of using the coconut oil: your hair will be so soft and conditioned!  Be sure to shampoo out well in the morning.  A few drops of tea tree oil can be added to help fight the fungus.

These are some of the easiest home remedies for dandruff that don’t really cost much at all.

Do you use home remedies for dandruff?

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How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

I’ve always wondered how to make apple cider vinegar, and this weekend I thought I’d give it a try.  I actually made pineapple vinegar instead of apple cider because I had pineapple scraps.  You can use fruit scraps to make fruit scrap vinegar, and apple cider vinegar is just another fruit scrap vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits

Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, and is great for making salad dressings, using in a bath for detoxification, and even cleaning.  Apple cider vinegar has been often called a wonder drug, and contains vitamins and minerals essential to good health.  Losing weight, lowering blood pressure, and even healing headaches have been some of apple cider vinegar’s benefits.  Personally, I take it when I feel a cold coming on because I think it helps ward off the bad germs.

When you make your own apple cider vinegar, you control what goes in it, and you know you are getting the real deal.  When I purchase apple cider vinegar, I buy the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar because it contains all the goodness of unpasteurized vinegar.  It’s unheated, unfiltered, and contains the “Mother”.

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

You can make apple cider vinegar, or any fruit scrap vinegar using this method.  All  you will need is some fruit scraps, sugar, and water.

1. Chop your fruit scraps up.  You don’t have to chop it into tiny pieces, so chunks of fruit are fine.  I made sure to wash the pineapple very well before I used it for my fruit scrap vinegar.  Use the core and skin of the pineapple or fruit you are using.  Apples and pineapple are the most popular fruit to make into vinegar.

2. Mix 1/4 cup of real sugar with 1 quart of warm, filtered water.  Allow the sugar to dissolve in the warm water.  You may need to stir to help the sugar to dissolve.

3.  Put the fruit scraps into a large clean jar.  Make sure you wash it well with hot water and soap.  You don’t want your vinegar getting bad bacteria in it.

4.  Add sugar water solution to the scraps and place a kitchen towel over the opening of the jar.  I secure mine by using a rubber band.

5.  Place jar in a warm area (around 70 degrees) for about two days to a week.  Check it every day and stir if you are able to.  When it smells like vinegar and has a darker color to it, remove the fruit scraps and use!

Please remember: when making fermented foods, if it smells bad, don’t eat it! If it has mold on the top, throw it out!

Apple cider vinegar and fruit scrap vinegar can be added to salad dressings, soups, and even green smoothies.  A tablespoon won’t even be detected by your family.  If you don’t like consuming the vinegar, you can actually use it for cleaning or even conditioning your hair with the no poo method.  Making apple cider vinegar is a great way to use up fruit scraps and provide your family with a great quality vinegar!

Have you made apple cider vinegar?  Do you like it?

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Contemplating a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)

It’s open enrollment time for benefits at my employer.  They have given us our options for health insurance, and we are able to choose which plan we’d like.  The choices for health insurance have been simplified down to a few choices, and it mainly boils down to two choices: a high deductible health plan or a PPO.  Last year, we ended up going with a PPO health insurance, and it ended up costing us more money out of pocket in premiums each month.  We did have less out of pocket expenses than if we had chosen the high deductible health plan.  Of course, this year I’m going to analyze the costs and see what makes more sense for our family.  The thought of a high deductible health plan scares me for a few reasons, but I need to not dismiss it, and see if we’d save more money going that route for health insurance.

Cost of High Deductible Health Plan versus PPO

The cost for the high deductible health plan for the entire year is $1,162.68.  The cost for the PPO health insurance is $2,233.56.  If I chose the high deductible health plan, right off the bat I would save $1070.88.  In addition, I would also receive $1,000 a year from my employer (which is divided amount 26 pay checks as long as I am employed there) towards a health savings account.

Health Insurance Deductible Comparison

With the high deductible health plan, we’d have to meet a $2,400 family deductible (not including preventative check ups) before our insurance would kick in.  For example, if we went to the doctor because we were sick, we’d be 100% responsible for the cost of the visit after they billed the insurance.  We would be able to use funds from a health savings account that would be tax deductible, provided we had the funds in the account.

Copays for the PPO are $20 for a general doctor visit and $40 for a specialist.  For whatever reason, my OBGYN is considered a specialist, and I always have to pay the $40 co pay when I visit her.

Maternity Coverage

I’m really hoping that I get pregnant next year, and with the PPO it would cover more than the high deductible health plan would.  Of course, if I ended up using a midwife and having to pay out of pocket with that, I could use the funds from a health savings account to cover that cost.  I guess I like knowing that I don’t have to meet the deductible if we do end up having a baby.

To be honest, I don’t like the high deductible health plan because it seems like it’s more work to keep track of.  Plus, if we did have an expensive medical emergency, it would cost us a lot of money out of pocket.  On the other hand, I feel stupid for passing up the free $1,000 that the company will put in an HSA (health savings account) to help defer the cost and the instant savings on premiums that the high deductible health plan has.  Another of my concerns is that if I go with the high deductible health plan this year, and next year want to go with the PPO that I won’t be able to.  This year they did that with HMOs.  If you had one last year, you can get it this year, but if you didn’t have it, you can’t get it.

It would be so easy to just pick the PPO health insurance and be done with it because then I know that we’ve got good coverage and we don’t have to worry too much about out of pocket expenses.

What type of health insurance would you pick? What kind of health insurance do you have?

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