Best Dandruff Shampoo

Beautiful, shiny hair starts with a healthy scalp. Not too long ago, I was fighting a battle against the dreaded and embarrassing dandruff. After a lot of research, hit-and-miss products, and experimenting, I decided to share some of my knowledge. Here are my ‘go-to tips’ for choosing the best dandruff shampoo.


What Exactly Is Dandruff?

The main symptoms are an itchy scalp and those pesky, white flakes found on the shoulders. Contrary to popular belief, dandruff isn’t because of dryness. It’s caused when the sebaceous glands overproduce oil.


The Malassezia, a common yeast found in the skin takes advantage of the oil surplus and begins to feed on sebum. Those dreaded flakes are the result of dead skin cells shedding quicker than they should. (WebMD)


How To Treat Dandruff?

I have found that the best treatment plan involves regular washes and a medicated dandruff shampoo. But if you do not see an improvement, please seek a doctor’s opinion. Sometimes topical medications are prescribed for persistent cases. (WebMD)


Also, it’s helpful to make lifestyle changes. Other factors such as stress and a diet rich in fatty foods have been shown to make the condition worse.


What To Look For When Shopping For A Dandruff Shampoo

These powerful products are formulated with specific substances like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, sulfur, pyrithione zinc, and tar. A good strategy is to alternate shampoos. By doing this, you can tackle the problem with the use of different active ingredients.


Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent and comes in different dosages. It is found over the counter in a 1% concentration.


Selenium Sulfide is another common ingredient for dandruff control. The downside is that it can be drying to the hair.


Salicylic Acid and Sulphur are often found together in shampoos. The substances promote a slight exfoliation of the scalp.


Pyrithione Zinc can be a great pick since it is a lot less drying on the hair. This might be a good choice for fine and color-treated locks.


Tar is the one substance that people with light colored hair might want to avoid. Although an effective treatment choice, it does tend to yellow lighter manes. (Dr.BaileySkincare)


How Often Should I Shampoo?

A lot of people experience dandruff because they aren’t washing their hair often enough. If you are suffering from the problem, it is crucial to wash your hair daily. This avoids any sebum build-up in the scalp and makes it harder for fungus to reproduce. (Livestrong)


Yes, it can be tempting to postpone a wash during colder months. Still, those prone to excessive oiliness should maintain a diligent washing schedule. I used to stretch out washes during the winter, but now I know my scalp will rebel.


How Should I Use Dandruff Shampoo?

Renowned dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey recommends a pre-wash with a regular, mild shampoo. The trick is to use the dandruff version only for the second lather. This way you will apply the active ingredients over an already clean scalp for best results.


Make sure to leave the dandruff shampoo acting for 5 minutes before you rinse it out. A good massage will help loosen and release the flakes. Once your dandruff is under control, you will only need to use the product once to twice a week.


Also, it’s worth mentioning that dandruff can’t be cured - only controlled. But by using the correct products and washing hair more frequently, you can keep the itch and flakes away.


How To Avoid The Drying Effects Of Dandruff Shampoo?

Most anti-dandruff substances strip hair of its essential oils. But that doesn’t mean your locks have to suffer! Dandruff is a scalp issue, so you don’t have to lather up the entire length with a medicated shampoo.


I love to apply a bit of coconut oil to the tips of my hair before jumping in the shower. The oil’s fatty acids provide some much-needed nutrition and prevent protein loss. This way I know the ends are protected and nourished no matter what product I use on my scalp. (Authority Nutrition)


Another important tip is to alternate hydrating and reconstructive hair masks once a week. This extra step will add moisture and keep hair strong. But always make sure the application is limited to the length and never touches the scalp! (XoVain)


Even if you suffer from dandruff, it’s perfectly fine to style your hair with heat. Yet, if you want to avoid damage, it’s always a good idea to apply a heat protectant spray before styling.


And lastly, your blow dryer should never be on highest heat level when directed towards your scalp. It might take a few extra minutes of work, but it’s worth it. The tool’s excessive warmth can burn the scalp’s already sensitive skin. (WebMD)


Top 5 Shampoos For Dandruff

On my mission to control my dandruff, I’ve tried out quite a few products. These are my absolute favorites when it comes to gorgeous hair and no flakes in sight!

This shampoo contains 1% ketoconazole, an active ingredient usually prescribed by dermatologists for dandruff control. Ketoconazole works by disrupting the fungi’s cell membranes. With the fungi no longer able to produce a substance called ergosterol, its survival is threatened and the infection usually clears up.


The product contains a medical grade component, but is still gentle enough to be used on color-treated, chemically processed, and gray hair. I enjoyed the fact that it feels very much like a salon shampoo with a thick lather and a nice scent.​


This could be a good choice for anybody who wants a treatment shampoo that still feels luxurious.

What I Like

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    Clean and fresh scent
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    A little goes a long way
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    Helps with new growth
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    Hair feels silky

What I don't Like

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    No unscented version available

This product is part of Neutrogena’s dermatologist recommended shampoos for dandruff. The formula is quite gentle and is approved for daily use.


The main ingredient is coal tar which is considered a keratoplastic. This class of drugs is known for making the skin shed dead cells from the top layer. It also helps slow down the growth of new cells - something important to keep flakes at bay.


An interesting feature is that it’s formulated to keep acting even after your rinse it off.


This shampoo could be a good choice for anybody who loves the feeling of super clean hair with no flakes.

What I Like

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    Dermatologist recommended
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    Easy to find
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    Squeaky clean feeling
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    Leaves hair shiny

What I don't Like

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    Slight medicinal scent
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    Might discolor blonde, gray or colored hair

This shampoo by Jason helps eliminate dandruff with a hand from mother nature. The active ingredients are sulfur and salicylic acid, both keratolytic agents. This means the substances help remove the scales of dandruff from the scalp.


The formula also contains essential oils. Rosemary, olive, and jojoba oils were added to help soothe and heal the irritated scalp of the dandruff sufferer. The brand is also focused on using wholesome and safe ingredients, so if you prefer a more natural approach this is an option.


By using this shampoo, you will be able to treat your dandruff as well as enjoy strengthening benefits to your hair. This could be a good choice for those with color treated hair or anybody who wants silkier locks.

What I Like

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    No parabens, sodium Laureth sulfate, petrolatum, phthalates
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    Not tested on animals
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    Leaves color intact
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    Hair feels smooth

What I don't Like

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    Slight sulfur scent

Matrix is a traditional salon recognized brand, so it’s interesting to see that they also offer a medicinal product for those with dandruff.


The gentle and nourishing formula is ideal for those with a sensitive scalp. This shampoo contains Pyrithione Zinc, a substance capable of acting against both fungal and bacterial infections.​


An added benefit is that it cleanses and treats the scalp without stripping off color. Using this shampoo will help those with colored hair achieve a healthy scalp while keeping the color fresh and vibrant.​


Matrix also has a nice line of hair masks to complement the treatment that is worth checking out.

What I Like

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    Pleasant scent
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    Leaves hair soft
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    Good for color treated hair
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    Designed for blondes
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    Good lather

What I don't Like

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    Might not be strong enough for some dandruff cases

This shampoo by DHS is one of the most popular choices when it comes to fighting off dandruff. The formula is infused with 2% Pyrithione Zinc - a concentration considered quite high for an over the counter product.


Since Pyrithione Zinc acts against bacteria and fungi, DHS Zinc can help control even the most inflamed scalp. Its conditioning properties provide immediate and long-lasting relief.


Pyrithione Zinc is usually a safe bet for anybody with fine hair. It doesn’t dry out the strands too much and the substance is very effective, especially at this concentration.


I recommend this one for anybody dealing with resistant dandruff.

What I Like

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    High concentration of pyrithione zinc
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    A little goes a long way
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    Scalps feels and looks better

What I don't Like

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    Scent can be overpowering

Conclusion

Dandruff can be quite a challenge to treat, but you shouldn’t lose hope. There are a wide variety of products out there to help us heal our scalps.


By introducing a frequent washing schedule and a medicated shampoo, you will begin to see an improvement.


Ideally, you should wash your hair daily and alternate at least two different types of dandruff shampoo. This means you attack the problem with different substances.


But if I am to pick my favorite, the clear winner would have to be the Matrix Biolage Anti Dandruff Shampoo. The product is ideal for my long and fine hair.


The Matrix shampoo ticked all the boxes since it cured the itchiness, got rid of the annoying flakes and not once dried out my strands. On the contrary, my hair felt soft and manageable post application.

I also love the fact that it’s safe for color-treated hair in case I decide to experiment. A healthy scalp and silky hair means a definite win-win for me!


References

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-dandruff-basics


http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-dandruff-treatment


https://www.drbaileyskincare.com/info/blog/remedies-for-the-dry-itchy-scalp-of-seborrheic-dermatitis-part-2


http://www.livestrong.com/article/244331-oily-scalp-with-dandruff/


https://authoritynutrition.com/coconut-oil-and-hair/


http://www.xovain.com/hair/moisture-protein


http://www.webmd.com/beauty/hair-health-11/hair-damage