You are here: Home > Knowledge Base > Hair Care Information > Dandruff > What to look for in an Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

What To Look For In An Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Dandruff commonly occurs on oily scalps due to an overgrowth of malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that occurs naturally on the scalp. Malassezia feeds on the oils, or sebum, secreted by hair follicles. If you have both too much sebum and an overgrowth of malassezia, dandruff can be the result. The fungus irritates the scalp, and the immune system sends extra white blood cells to the irritated patches.

This causes a buildup of skin cells on the scalp. As the extra skin cells die, they become clumped with the sebum from your scalp, causing the greasy, white flakes known as dandruff flakes. There are many different anti-dandruff shampoos available that contain one anti-dandruff ingredient or a combination of different ingredients that are helpful in treating dandruff.

Coal Tardandruff shampoo

Coal tar is an active ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos. Coal tar is used to treat many scalp conditions, such as dandruff, because it has an anti-itch effect and it helps to slow down the production of skin cells. To use an anti-dandruff shampoo containing coal tar, start by massaging the shampoo into the hair and scalp; follow with leaving on for five minutes. Thoroughly rinse the anti-dandruff shampoo from your hair, and then apply a conditioner to provide moisture to the scalp.

Salicyclic Acid and Sulfur

Salicylic acid and sulfur are frequently used in combination in anti-dandruff shampoos to treat dry scalp conditions. The two ingredients work together to temporarily control the problem of scaling and itching that occur as a result of dandruff. Salicylic acid breaks down the dead skin cells to reduce flaking and to reveal the new skin underneath. This helps the sulfur work to reduce the fungus. Salicylic acid will help to eliminate irritation of the scalp because it is also a mild anti-septic. Sulfur is an antifungal ingredient that rids the scalp of an excess of malassezia.

Zinc Pyrithione

Several over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione as an active ingredient. Zinc pyrithione is an antifungal that reduces the amount of malassezia on the scalp and helps to break down the buildup of dead skin cells on the scalp. Zinc pyrithione is gentler than many anti-dandruff ingredients and can be used every day. For maximum effect, a shampoo with zinc pyrithione should be used at least twice a week. Use this product as you would any regular shampoo, and use a conditioner afterwards to moisturize the scalp.

Selenium Sulfide

Some brands of dandruff shampoos use selenium sulfide as its active ingredient. Over the counter shampoos contain 1% selenium sulfide; products containing 2 ˝% selenium sulfides are available by prescription. Selenium sulfide is used to treat dandruff because it rids the scalp of malassezia. Selenium sulfide products should be used once or twice a week only.


Ketoconazole is another ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos that is a fungicide. It removes the malassezia that contributes to the production of dandruff. Most shampoos containing this ingredient contain 2% ketoconazole. Ketoconazole shampoos should be massaged into the scalp and left on for five minutes before rinsing thoroughly. This product can be used twice a week for dandruff control.
Sort By:
Page of 1
Healthy Hair Plus Dandruff Shampoo Dandruff Shampoo 40% OFF

Controls dandruff symptoms while soothing & cleaning the scalp. Helps stop flaking, itching, irritation & inflammation while reducing oil, flakes, dirt and product residue. Leaves hair super clean and fresh. Daily-use dandruff shampoo is gentle on hair and scalp!

List Price: $18.00
Our Price: $7.95
You save $10.05!