10 Best

Dandruff Shampoos

of December 2023

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A Guide to Purchasing the Best Dandruff Shampoo

Yehudah Posnick

It’s estimated that around half of all adults have dandruff in one way or another. The problem is that there are a number of possible causes of dandruff. In some people, it’s due to a fungal infection or bacterial infection, such as ringworm or Malassezia. Others can require shampoo for psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Some people may suffer from dandruff due to having an oily scalp, while others may have dandruff because their scalp is too dry! Since the causes are so varied, there will be a wide range of dandruff shampoos on the market, each taking a different approach.

We’ll see that many dandruff shampoos will try to inhibit the growth of fungus. Other products will try to protect the scalp and hair from losing moisture. And yet other treatments will remove dead skin cells and try to stimulate the scalp to produce new skin cells that won’t shed.

We’ll go through some of the treatments available in the Best Reviews Guide list of the best dandruff shampoos. You may have to try a few products until you get the one that’s right for your dandruff problem. But, with a little perseverance, you should be able to hit on the product that does the trick!

Types of Dandruff Shampoos

Examining the options among the Best Reviews Guide list of the best dandruff shampoos, we see that different shampoos have different active ingredients:

  • Salicylic acid: This works by gently shedding dead skin cells. This allows moisture to reach your scalp and promotes new cell growth. However, shampoos containing salicylic acid should not be used with young children (under 2 years of age), out of concern that it can cause skin irritation. One product with salicylic acid as the main ingredient is the Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

  • Coal tar extract: This is used for psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis as well as dandruff. The mechanism is similar to salicylic acid, by shedding dead skin cells and stimulating new skin cells to grow. This can relieve scaly, dry scalp, as well as the characteristic itchiness. One product containing coal tar extract is Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo. The manufacturer says that coal tar will continue to relieve itchy, flaky scalp even hours after you wash the shampoo out.

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

  • Selenium sulfide: Another common active ingredient is selenium sulfide, which is used in Head & Shoulders products. Selenium sulfide is effective against dandruff caused by the fungus Malassezia (it is a cause of seborrheic dermatitis as well).

Clinical Strength Head & Shoulders

  • Zinc pyrithione: This also inhibits the growth of fungus and bacteria, and is effective in treating dermatitis and dandruff from microbial sources. One of the best-known dandruff products with zinc pyrithione is Selsun Blue Antidandruff Shampoo.

Selsun Blue Antidandruff Shampoo

  • Ketoconazole: This is a fungicide as well to fight dandruff caused by the Malassezia fungus. Ketoconazole works by binding to your hair’s protein to combat dandruff. Studies have shown that patients notice fewer adverse effects when using a Ketoconazole-based anti-dandruff shampoo. A formula that contains 1% Ketoconazole as its active ingredient is the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

  • Vegan shampoo: There are also “vegan” products to treat dandruff. The Ethique Heali Kiwi Solid Dandruff Shampoo Bar. It contains moisturizers such as coconut oil, neem oil, cocoa butter, and more. You can get as much use out of one bar of Ethique as from 3 bottles of dandruff shampoo!


Ethique Heali Kiwi Solid Dandruff Shampoo Bar

What reviewers say

Here’s what customers say about their choice of dandruff shampoo:

  • Medicinal smell: Customers complained about the medicinal smell of products such as Selsun Blue or Neutrogena T/Gel. But they didn’t mind it, since it was effective against their dandruff problem, and even against pimply scalp. Also, it’s recommended to use the dandruff treatment around twice a week while shampooing with regular shampoo the other days. That way, you won’t suffer from the medicinal smell as much.

  • Also effective vs. acne: One customer who suffered from acne on her face tried Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. She said that the active ingredient, Ketoconazole, was effective in treating her acne, as well as her dandruff. It is also effective against psoriasis.

  • Help vs. hormonal dandruff: A woman who suffered from oily hair and dandruff due to hormonal changes after giving birth said that she had positive results using the Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo. It has lactic acid to reduce oil production, as well as salicylic acid to shed dead skin cells, and rosemary oil, menthol, and ginger to soothe irritation.

Important Features

Here are some features of the best dandruff shampoos, which may help you decide on one product over another:

  • Check if safe for dyed hair: Some dandruff shampoos may cause discoloration if your hair is dyed. Shampoos containing coal tar can also temporarily discolor blonde and gray hair, causing a yellowish tint. Therefore, it’s important to check that your dandruff shampoo will not affect hair color.

  • Number of times to apply the shampoo: Most dandruff shampoos are intended to be used around twice or three times a week. Some are mild enough to use daily, such as the Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Shampoo. You massage the shampoo into your scalp, lather it up, leave it for a few minutes to work on your scalp, and then rinse it out.

  • Not suitable for children: Most of the formulas we reviewed here are too harsh for children to use. There are special dandruff shampoos formulated for children

Final Verdict

We went through some of the best dandruff shampoos on the market presently. Whether you need a mild shampoo for a slightly itchy scalp, or whether you need a medicated shampoo, you can find the right option in the Best Reviews Guide list of the best dandruff shampoos!

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