The best dandruff shampoo takes care of white flakes on your head and leaves your hair looking healthy. Let’s see how to choose the best dandruff shampoo.
Having dandruff in your hair is one of the most annoying hair conditions you can have. That flaky white stuff that is falling off on your shoulders and your clothes is a result of a medical condition and it’s one of the most common. Though millions around the world suffer from this uncommon phenomenon, it is not contagious or lethal.
And though dandruff isn’t a problem which goes away completely, it can surely be brought under control. As expected, there are tons of product on the market that claim to take care of that problem. And while some of them work wonders and remove dandruff as if it was never there, others do little or have no effect at all. If you are a recent sufferer of dandruff, you may have caught yourself asking: What is the best dandruff shampoo there is? What is that one magic elixir that will stop embarrassing me in public?
The best answer to this would be another question: What is the source of your problem? It is very important for you to do a bit of research before buying a product off the shelves. The first step into that would be reading the ingredients of the bottle and making sure that those will fight off dandruff and not make your problem worse.
While there is no treatment that is a sure shot winner for everyone, it is always a good idea to visit a dermatologist and get a diagnosis. Let’s start off by getting to know a little bit more about dandruff, what ingredients to consider while buying a shampoo and what could be the best product for you.
What Causes Dandruff?
There could be any number of causes for dandruff. These could be as basic as poor hygiene allergies or even stress. Or it could be something more specific such as skin ailments. Let’s take a look at these:
4 Skin disease that causes of dandruff ...
One of the most common causes for dandruff is what is known as seborrheic psoriasis, or in layman’s terms, cradle cap (as it is called when it appears in babies). The most familiar symptoms for this is oil, red skin covered with yellow or white flakes. Depending on your condition, it appears on the skin where it has a lot of oil glands such as behind the ears, corners of your nose, the groin and in some cases, the armpits. The causes are not known, but experts put it as a reaction to naturally present fungi in the oil glands or climatic change.
Dermatitis is known as a condition when your body reacts to an allergen and normally appears on the body as an open rash. Typically, the affected areas are arms and behind the knees, but it can appear anywhere, such as your scalp and may cause itching or scaling. It can be caused by using the wrong product on your scalp or simply overusing some product which is not suitable for you.
Though part of the human skin flora, malassezia is a fungus (like yeast) and causes various skin infestations that are usually restricted to the scalp. Different people react to it differently and may cause the skin to come off in some cases. The cast-off skin is white in color and causes social embarrassment and may be caused by stress, weather, neurological disorders and also the geographical location.
Eczema can be caused by over sensitivity to certain conditions or allergies, such as soap, animals, dyes, fabric or other factors. As a result, the skin forms rough and scaly patches and may appear cracked or blistered. Since the patches are not always visible, they can be traced when they appear on your clothes and hair.
Getting Rid of It
These symptoms notwithstanding, dry skin can also be formed out of sheer negligence, such as you ignoring brushing your hair regularly or moisturizing it. The dry skin on your scalp will appear as dandruff, while dandruff, being oily, will stick to your hair or clothes. Dandruff is a common recurrence can be easily treated.
To start with, regular shampooing of your hair will remove flakes, reduce the oiliness and arrest the buildup on dead cells on your scalp. What also works is regular workouts, common home remedies and a regular scalp massage. Speaking of home remedies, there is a long list of things that you can find in your kitchens such as baking soda, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and yogurt.
These are all common remedies that help fight the buildup on your scalp by keeping it clean and healthy.
What Is in That Anti-Dandruff Shampoo?
If home remedies are not for you or you are wary of using kitchen ingredients on your scalp, there are thousands of over-the-counter products, some of which have the same ingredients (as your kitchen) and will help you fight this problem. In shampoo or cosmetic terms, these are called active ingredients which are a big make-up of these products.
Some of these products, with a particular active agent infused in them, tend to work better than simple remedies since they often target more than one or more causes of dandruff such as dryness, cell buildup and in some cases, irritation.
Let’s take a look at some of these active ingredients that you can find in any of the best shampoos available on the market:
Commonly used to control seborrheic psoriasis, zinc pyrithione (or commonly advertised as ZPT by some popular brands), is designed to fight the root cause of dandruff. It reduces the formation of fungus on your scalp and is one of the most commonly used active ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos.
Used in shampoos to treat scalp psoriasis, salicylic acid is an excellent “scrubber” that gets rid of dry flakes and is commonly referred to as an “exfoliator”. But a side effect of it is that it dries out the scalp really fast and hence is used in combination with a moisturizing conditioner.
If you made a face reading that, don’t be surprised. Coal tar is not something one would associate with a hair product, but it has medicinal uses, such as being antiseptic and having cleansing and disinfecting properties. A word of caution though, products using both coal tar and salicylic acid are not meant for long term or daily use as they may cause irritation.
Tea Tree Oil
As the name suggests, it is a natural tree extract and also one of the most-used essential oils in shampoos. The use of tea tree oil helps cleanse impurities from the hair and increases blood flow to the area, fights bacteria and unclogs pores on the scalp. It also helps prevent hair loss in some cases.
Selenium sulfide is an antifungal agent that relieves flaking and itching of the scalp. It also slows down the rate of cell death, stopping the accumulation of dandruff on your scalp. It is used in cases of stubborn dandruff that is hard to get rid of.
This active agent has quite a broad spectrum when other treatments are not working. It has antifungal properties and is also used to fight off persistent dandruff. It is often used as a last-resort option before consulting a dermatologist if the condition is severe.
The process of finding just the right shampoo for you is a matter of trial and error. Most anti-dandruff shampoos on the market seem to do advertise that they are best suited for the job, but it may not be true for you. With countless numbers of products out there, it may take some time for you to figure out which one works for you.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the some of the best anti-dandruff shampoos that are available today. We have used ingredients as the main criteria for choosing these shampoos.
Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Reviews
Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- 7-fl. oz bottle of Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo containing ketoconazole 1% to relieve flaking, scaling, and itching caused by dandruff
- This powerful dandruff control shampoo is made with ketoconazole 1%, an effective ingredient that is proven to help fight dandruff outbreaks
- Salon-tested, this dandruff treatment shampoo is specially formulated to be gentle and is safe enough to be used on color-treated, chemically processed and gray hair
- The rich, thick lather of this itchy scalp shampoo rinses clean, leaves hair smelling fresh and helps relieve scalps that are flaky, itchy and scaling
- The freedom will go to your head with our dandruff control shampoo, and by using it just twice a week in between your regular shampoos you'll experience effective dandruff relief
The active ingredient in Nizoral A-D anti-dandruff shampoo is ketoconazole, that is extremely effective against fungus. This shampoo is meant to be used as a hair care product, meaning its effects last for a few days and you do not need to reapply it every day or replace your regular shampoo. Bear in mind that this shampoo will only work if your dandruff is caused by a fungus and may not be effective on other types of dandruff.
Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo for Anti-Dandruff
- Therapeutic Dandruff Solution: Pure anti dandruff shampoo balances flaky scalp by gently cleansing to remove follicle clogging dirt, oil, and dry skin for healthy hair growth and itchy scalp relief.
- Revive Dull Dry Hair: Intensify shine and luster with Moroccan Argan Oil Jojoba and Peach Kernel to replenish moisture and restore vibrancy as keratin strengthens brittle hair for better elasticity.
- Improve Hair Texture: Our extra strength anti itch dry scalp treatment nourishes to reduce frizz and static in curly hair for softer, smoother hair as it boosts roots for more volume body and bounce.
- All Natural Ingredients: Our clarifying shampoo is sulfate free paraben free cruelty free and preservative free. Sage Rosemary and Tea Tree essential oils make our natural shampoo potent and powerful.
- All Hair Types: Enhance normal oily dry or color treated hair that's thin or thick with our vitamin scalp treatment which may help prevent breakage split ends and hair loss and won't irritate skin.
As the name implies, the main ingredient in Maple Holistics Sage shampoo is, well, sage. This aromatic plant has antifungal and anti-inflammatory qualities that are ideal to soothe and moisturize the scalp. Other ingredients include tea tree oil to clear out dead cells, rosemary, that promotes cell growth and argan and jojoba oils for shiny, smooth hair.
ArtNaturals Scalp 18 Shampoo
- Art naturals' scalp 18 therapeutic anti-dandruff shampoo rushes relief from dry scalp and and seborrheic dermatitis
- Key ingredients tar and coal have been used for generations to treat a host of skin and scalp conditions
- Scalp 18 is also infused with deeply hydrating all-natural oils, including jojo-ba and argan
- Itching and flaking are stopped, while healthy, shiny hair returns
- Cruelty-free product
Infused with active, effective and scientifically-proven ingredients such as coal tar, jojoba oil and keratin, a shower after ArtNaturals Scalp 18 shampoo leaves hair silky and shiny. The shampoo gives quick relief to those suffering from seborrheic dermatitis and dry scalp. The argan oil in the shampoo works as a conditioner, softener and moisturizer for your hair.
Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by The Body Shop
- Anti-dandruff shampoo, ideal for dry/flaky scalps
- Cleanses, refreshes, soothes, and helps clear flakes
- Paraben-free, gluten-free
- Made with ginger extract, birch bark extract, and white willow extract
- Enriched with Community Trade honey form Ethiopia, known for its moisturizing properties
Popular for its flake-clearing properties, Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by The Body Shop is an effective and soothing shampoo and is great for everyday use. A major ingredient of this shampoo, as the name suggests, is ginger essential oil that helps stimulate blood circulation and also helps in taking care of the dryness. It also helps stop inflammation and hair breakage caused by dandruff.
Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo
- One 12 oz. bottle of JASON Dandruff Relief 2-in-1 Treatment Shampoo and Conditioner
- Cleanses and conditions in one easy step while controlling dandruff, flakes and itchiness
- Made with pyrithione zinc to minimize the effects of scalp dermatitis and psoriasis
- Free of parabens, harsh sulfates, phthalates and petrolatum
- Not tested on animals
Some reviewers have described this shampoo as “something that actually worked!”. Jason dandruff relief treatment shampoo has natural ingredients such as rosemary, jojoba and tea tree oils that calm, moisturize and bring relief to irritation-prone scalps. The shampoo also features olive oil (which moisturizes naturally) and aloe vera, which is known for its skin benefits. The active ingredient used in this shampoo is the salicylic acid which, as we discussed before, gets rid of flakes.
Finding the right balance of ingredients in a dandruff shampoo can be tricky. It all comes down to your age, your hair and skin type, and your hygiene habits (how often do you care for your hair). Understanding and identifying the cause behind your dandruff is just a start. Following that comes a little experimentation and a little patience, because getting it right the first time is rare.
Choosing a product with natural ingredients would be a great choice, but not all dandruff shampoos are 100% natural. We have tried to cover as many bases as we could, and hopefully, this guide has led you in the right direction.