In the 1968 movie "Head," The Monkees (Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith) create a send-up of shampoo commercials, in which they play flakes of dandruff on the head of The Big Victor (Victor Mature). That's just one of the many scenes that left viewers scratching their heads.
But if you're scratching your head and dusting dried skin off your shoulders, there's no reason for confusion. Chances are you have chronic dandruff or a more severe form called seborrheic dermatitis, a fungal infection that causes yellow, thick, itchy plaque. Half of all adults will contend with this problem at some time.
The standard solutions? Anti-dandruff shampoos and creams containing ketoconazole 1 percent (over-the-counter) and 2 percent (prescription only; not for pregnant or breastfeeding women or kids under 12); selenium sulfide (0.6 percent and 1 percent - higher levels taken orally may be carcinogenic); and zinc pyrithione (not for kids or pregnant women).
But if you want to skip those fungus-fighting chemicals, there's a natural alternative that might work for you. Try rubbing a solution of 90 percent honey and 10 percent water onto any lesions or itchy patches for two to three minutes. Let it sit for three hours; then rinse off with warm water. Repeat daily. One study found that the honey relieved skin lesions in two weeks - and when followed up with once-a-week treatments, it prevented relapse.
The Big Victor would approve.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.