Dandruff Shampoos to Soothe a Flaky, Irritated Scalp

Ditch the itch with these hero hair products.

woman scratching scalp
These shampoos soothe the scalp and cut down on embarrassing flakes.Pexels

Whether it’s feeling that you can never wear any top that isn’t white ever again, because you don’t want the flakes to show, or being driven to distraction by the itchiness of your scalp, dandruff can have a real impact on everyday life. That’s where treatment shampoos can help. It’s thought that dandruff is caused by a naturally occurring fungus, Malassezia globosa, that is sustained by the oils on our skin and hair. It produces a compound that irritates the skin and can cause the rapid turnover of skin cells, which we see as flakes. Treatment shampoos contain a variety of active ingredients that help tackle the problem at the root.

Head and Shoulders Shampoo and Conditioner 2 in 1, Anti Dandruff Treatment and Scalp Care, Green Apple, 32.1 fl oz, Twin Pack
The fruity formula is kind to both hair and scalp.Head & Shoulders

One of the most common active ingredients found in dandruff shampoos is zinc pyrithione. Zinc pyrithione works by targeting the malassezia fungus. Although it’s most commonly found in anti-dandruff products, you might also find it applied topically to soothe psoriasis and eczema.

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Original Formula, Anti-Dandruff Treatment for Long-Lasting Relief of Itching and Flaking Scalp as a Result of Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis, 16 fl. oz

Fights with Coal Tar

Contains coal tar extract in a formula that is gentle enough to use daily.Neutrogena

Even if you don’t remember coal tar soaps, your grandmother might. Used for years as an antiseptic, it’s a valuable anti-dandruff ingredient because it helps to get rid of the flakiness on the scalp, and slows down the rate at which skin cells grow, which makes it harder for the fungus to get a hold. If you have blonde or gray hair, it’s worth being a little wary as some coal tar shampoos can discolor light strands.

Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Contains Ketoconazole

Use this treatment twice a week to fight flakes.Nizoral

Ketoconazole wards off fungus by destroying the malassezia microbe. It comes in various concentrations with stronger forms only available by prescription from a medical professional. However, over the counter formulations—with still effective levels of the drug—are readily available.