Anti-dandruff shampoos: an overview

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 10.08.2022

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Conventionally, dandruff shampoos can be divided into cosmetic and therapeutic. The former usually serve to prevent and restore the skin, the latter to radically eliminate the unpleasant "snow" caused by mycosis, seborrhea, eczema or other skin pathologies. The choice of drugs is rich, what to choose depends on the problem, financial capabilities, taste priorities.

Indications Dandruff shampoos

Dandruff is the dead cells of the stratum corneum. Normally, they die off in a small amount, remain invisible and do not create discomfort. In pathological conditions, abundant accumulations are formed, looking like flakes and causing itching of the head. Dandruff shampoos are designed to restore the normal function of the sebaceous glands and eliminate unpleasant symptoms.

  • In addition to dandruff and excessive peeling, indications for use occur in the presence of dermatological diseases: seborrhea, eczema, mycoses, pityriasis versicolor.

Medicines are used as prescribed by the doctor and in courses, if necessary, they are repeated intermittently. Prevention of skin and hair lesions is also included in the indications for the use of these shampoos.

Anti-dandruff shampoos relieve fungal diseases of various kinds, eliminate the hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands, improve the nutrition of the bulbs, and protect against infections. The choice is made according to the composition, features of the problem, aesthetic and financial considerations.

Release form

Most anti-dandruff shampoos are bottled in plastic bottles of various sizes: from 5 to 200 ml; some products are additionally packed in a cardboard box. Another form of release is sachets (“portioned” bags).

Oily dandruff shampoos

There are many universal dandruff shampoos on the cosmetic market that counter both types of seborrhea. There is another category: only from dry or oily dandruff. You should pay attention to these subtleties when buying: read the information on the package or ask the seller if he gives the impression of being competent and competent.

An effective shampoo for oily dandruff should contain one or more of the following components:

  • ketoconazole;
  • salicylic acid;
  • zinc;
  • selenium sulfide;
  • ichthyol;
  • essential oils of lavender, grapefruit, tea tree;
  • herbal extracts;
  • tar;
  • vitamin combinations.

With regular hair washing with special products, the discomfort caused by oily dandruff disappears, the hair structure improves, inflammation and the intensity of sebum secretion decrease. After 2-3 applications, dandruff disappears, the hair becomes clean and soft, you can wash it less often than before.

It is important to understand that this method of dealing with dandruff has an effect if it is the result of improper care or poor-quality cosmetics. If the cause is skin problems or the body as a whole, then, in addition to special shampoos, therapeutic measures and drugs recommended by the doctor are required.

Shampoos for dry dandruff

In the dry form, white scales easily fall out of the hair and crumble onto the skin and clothing. This makes the skin itchy and irritated. If these symptoms appeared due to stress or improper care, then the problem is solved with the help of an effective dry dandruff shampoo.

Manufacturers include mandatory active substances in recipes and optional additional ones - for gentle care, vitaminization, better foaming, strengthening, healing hair and skin. In particular, the composition of dandruff shampoos in this category includes, in various combinations, the following components:

  • thermal water;
  • piroctone olamine;
  • pantothenic acid;
  • extracts of nettle, nasturtium, melaleuca leaves;
  • salicylic acid;
  • ceramide;
  • vitamins B5, E;
  • zinc pyrithione;
  • glycerol;
  • lecithin;
  • guanidine glycolate;
  • oils of pine, cards, other plants;
  • essential oils of orange, thyme, tea tree, others.

It happens that cosmetics do not cope with dandruff. Then you can not do without consulting a specialist in order to choose an effective pharmacy drug. Bioderma, Sebozol, Mirrolla sulsenovy, Cynovit, Logona, Neobio, Climbazol with aloe, Tar 911, Psoril, Derkos, Wellreal, Cystifan effectively work against dry dandruff.


Shampoos relieve itching and irritation, stop the process of formation of scales and flakes. Basically, the pharmacodynamics of medicinal preparations has been studied, it depends on the properties of the main active substance. [1]

Ketoconazole, which is the active ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos, has a detrimental effect on dermatophytes and yeasts. [2].  [3]. [4]


With topical application of dandruff shampoos, most of the active substances in the blood are not detected. Possible manifestation of a local allergic reaction.

In the instructions for medicated shampoos, in the "Pharmacokinetics" section, it is noted that ketoconazole and other popular ingredients do not have a systemic effect.

Dosing and administration

Most anti-dandruff shampoos are applied to wet hair, evenly distributed and massaged. The foaming liquid is kept for 3-5 minutes, so that the active ingredients have time to act on the skin and hair roots. If indicated in the instructions, repeat the wash again, no longer leaving it on the hair, but washing it off immediately after foaming.

The method of application and doses depend on the purpose - prevention or treatment, and are specified in the instructions. It also indicates the frequency and duration of procedures.

Application for children

The causes of dandruff in children can be metabolic disorders, weak immunity, diseases of internal organs, and improper care. But experts call the main reason for the imbalance in the production of fat secretion.

  • Dandruff can be dry and oily, and both force parents to get rid of it competently and comprehensively.

The first step is to eliminate the cause of unpleasant scales, paying attention to the nutrition of the child. Perhaps the diet should be fortified or corrected in the right direction.

If the reasons are clear, then the drug - cream, paste, masks or shampoo for dandruff - should be prescribed by a doctor. Pharmacists offer special children's products that relieve annoying itching, "placers" of white flakes and irritation. The use of Nizoral, Sulsena, Dermazole, Perkhotal, Kenazol, Ebersept, Friderm Zinc preparations for children is shown. To prevent possible complications, you first need to do an allergy test and do everything according to the instructions.

To prevent children's dandruff, parents need to monitor the nutrition and behavior of the child, provide each with individual hygiene products and shampoos according to age, and prevent their overwork and stressful situations. Shampoo for prevention wash your hair twice a month.

Use Dandruff shampoos during pregnancy

The effect of medicated dandruff shampoos (for example, Nizoral) on the body of pregnant women has not been studied. Due to the lack of information on risks, use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is not contraindicated.

Sebozol is not recommended for these categories of women.

The right decision is to carefully read the instructions or consult a doctor about each specific drug.


No dandruff shampoo should be applied if there are open wounds or sores on the scalp. Most manufacturers warn about the likelihood of individual reactions to individual substances.

Contraindications depend on the composition of the product and the condition of the patient. So, pregnancy and lactation, children's age are contraindications for use if potent compounds are present in the formula. For adults in this category, as well as for children under 12 years old, shampoos should be selected that are appropriate for age and health status.

Side effects Dandruff shampoos

To avoid side effects, the products should be used according to the instructions. Avoid contact with eyes, if this happens, rinse them with clean water.

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo may cause erythema, irritation at the site of application, contact dermatitis, dryness and rashes. Perhaps increased peeling, pustulosis, changes in the skin. People with gray or chemically damaged hair may change their color.

What to do if you have dandruff from shampoo?

Surely, many have come across a situation where dandruff appeared on washed hair from the shampoo used for the first time. Cosmetologists believe that there may be several reasons for this:

  • inconsistency of the product with the type of skin;
  • use of men's shampoo by women or vice versa;
  • non-perception of some component;
  • stress from the use of an unusual or low-quality product.

Although the same experts advise changing shampoos every 4-6 months. How to protect yourself from unpleasant surprises and what, besides dandruff shampoo, gets rid of unexpected “flakes”?

  • The risk factor is called cheap products. Its features are liquid, no foam, insufficient hair washing.

Dandruff can also form from an expensive new product, as a result of a stress response to a change in pH. Children's or professional shampoo of any brand can cause increased dandruff production. Perhaps the skin reacted to some allergen in the composition.

The use of the product should be stopped immediately, and choosing the right one, take into account the indicators of the type of skin and hair. You may need to visit a doctor to find out the cause. And in hair care, follow simple rules:

  • do not wash them too often;
  • use warm, but not hot water;
  • thoroughly wash off the remaining foam;
  • comb with a massage brush to stimulate blood circulation and remove keratinization;
  • do not dry your hair with a hairdryer;
  • apply a moisturizing mask.


In connection with exclusively external use, an overdose is not provided. In case of accidental ingestion of dandruff shampoo, symptomatic measures should be taken if any threatening symptoms are found. Do not induce vomiting or gastric lavage; it is necessary to prescribe enterosorbents to reduce the risks of intoxication.

Local reactions are possible - swelling, redness, burning sensation, which disappear after the treatment is stopped.

Interactions with other drugs

The instructions for medicated dandruff shampoos describe interactions with other drugs. Cosmetic products are not tested in this regard.

Storage conditions

Nizoral and most dandruff shampoos are stored at a temperature of 5 and no higher than 25 degrees. Special storage conditions are not required. Enough dry clean place, inaccessible to children and pets, where they keep other cosmetics.

Shelf life

Average shelf life is 18 months–3 years. Information about this is indicated on the packages. The use of expired dandruff shampoos is unacceptable.

Best dandruff shampoo

It is impossible to determine the best dandruff shampoo for all occasions. Much depends not only on the manufacturer, composition, class, but also on the individual characteristics and perception of the product by the body. That is, hair and scalp. Nevertheless, a certain concept of properties and quality can be gleaned from the ratings of dandruff shampoos published by reviewers and experts in this field.

  • The 15 best, according to the results of this year's new rating, will help each consumer to choose "their" shampoo that is optimal for solving existing problems.
  1. Professional Otium unigue, ESTEL. Sold in salons, specialized online stores.
  2. Derkos, VICHI - sulfate-free on thermal water.
  3. Kelual DS, DUCRAY - against recurrent seborrhea.
  4. Dandruff relief, JASON NATURAL - sold online.
  5. Sebozol, "DIONIS" - against seborrhea, psoriasis, pityriasis versicolor.
  6. Healing Secret, KEY MAYU - with horse fat, plant extracts.
  7. Markell Professional with extracts of medicinal plants.
  8. Mikanisal, GRINDEX with ketoconazole and chemical impurities.
  9. Tar, TWINS TEK is an inexpensive but effective tar product.
  10. Instant Clear Pure, LOREAL - for the whole family.
  11. Nizoral - therapeutic with ketoconazole.
  12. Algopix, MEDICA - with green algae extract and juniper tar.
  13. Sulsena - with selenium disulfide.
  14. Mirrolla SULSEN FORTE - with selenium, ketoconazole and natural ingredients.
  15. NODE DS, BIODERMA - with algae extract, antifungal elements.

What to do if dandruff shampoo does not help?

Everyone who has problems with dandruff sooner or later comes to the conclusion that dandruff shampoos eventually become addictive to hair and skin. And your favorite remedy, tested by time, suddenly ceases to work! At first it causes surprise, and then a reasonable question: why? And what if the dandruff shampoo does not help?

To avoid addiction, the main thing is not to wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo constantly. If you take breaks in time (when dandruff disappears), then the effectiveness of the product does not fall.

  • If this does not help, look for the reasons within yourself. That is, make an appointment with a doctor to determine the cause of dandruff. Perhaps the state of health has changed and treatment is required not only for hair, but also for other organs.

Shampoo may be powerless after hair coloring. Usually, dandruff that suddenly appears somewhere in two weeks stops, but for the purpose of prevention, it is better not to apply such paint in the future. Dixidox DeLuxe shampoo and lotion help relieve symptoms. They write that these products can permanently get rid of white lumps and flakes.

Studying the materials on the fight against dandruff, we can conclude that it is almost impossible to get rid of it once and for all. Sooner or later, for various reasons, it reappears on the skin and hair. Shampoos are not a panacea, but they can get rid of the problem for a more or less long time. Effectiveness is ensured by tested active substances: zinc pyrithione, tar, sulfur compounds, salicylic acid, ketoconazole.


Elite dandruff shampoos do not always justify the high cost. Perhaps because the effect on the skin is an individual factor. And the cost includes not only the cost, but also a fee for the same elitism, for brand awareness. Hence the high prices, often unjustified.

  • A reasonable decision is to look for affordable analogues of expensive products. For example, instead of Mycozoral, use Sebozol, Keto plus, Ketoconazole. Instead of Nizoral - Mikanisal, Nezo-pharm.

However, it should be noted that analogues may not cope with the problem or provoke negative consequences. Therefore, you should choose wisely, taking into account the balance of price and quality. The following information will help you sort out shampoo abundance.

In general, products are divided into groups:

  • antifungal (with ketoconazole, ciclopirox);
  • antibacterial (with octopirox, zinc pyrithione);
  • exfoliating (with sulfur, salicylic acid);
  • organic (with herbal ingredients).

The zinc compound can also be included in the antifungal agent, tar - in the organic and antifungal. Effective formulas also include ichthyol, selenium sulfide, and selenium disulfate.


Conflicting reviews write about tar shampoos. Many do not like the smell, the reaction of the hair to the use of this product.

The experience of using other dandruff shampoos is also different, but most of the reviews are positive. Sometimes people search for a long time, by trial and error, to find exactly their shampoo. And this is understandable: each person has features of skin, hair and perception of a particular substance.

In search of the perfect dandruff shampoo, consumers, especially women, are ready to experiment. And this is right, because we are changing, our tastes, financial capabilities are changing, and, in the end, the condition of hair and skin. Yes, and the cosmetic industry presents novelties, and advertising tempts... High-quality information, expert advice, reviews of colleagues in misfortune - three whales that will definitely help in finding an effective remedy.


To simplify the perception of information, this instruction for use of the drug "Anti-dandruff shampoos: an overview" translated and presented in a special form on the basis of the official instructions for medical use of the drug. Before use read the annotation that came directly to medicines.

Description provided for informational purposes and is not a guide to self-healing. The need for this drug, the purpose of the treatment regimen, methods and dose of the drug is determined solely by the attending physician. Self-medication is dangerous for your health.

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