Dandruff is a common skin problem that can occur from dry skin, oily skin, lack of hygiene, hair products, fungus and diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Dandruff, which appears as white flakes on the hair strands and scalp, is often accompanied by itching. Depending on the cause of your dandruff, there are several treatment options on the market that may be effective in treating the skin problem.
Zinc pyrithione shampoo is one option for getting rid of your dandruff. Zinc pyrithione is an antibacterial and antifungal agent that is used to reduce populations of the Malassezia fungus. According to the Mayo Clinic, the Malassezia fungus can contribute to dandruff formation. This fungus is present on almost everyone’s scalps, but is more active on some than others.
Selenium sulfide shampoos can also be helpful in treating dandruff. Selenium sulfide is used to slow down the rate in which your skin cells die. When skin cells die, they slough off and combine with natural sebum oil on the skin to create dandruff flakes. By slowing down the rate the cells die, the amount of material to create dandruff is reduced, resulting in less dandruff.
Shampoos with salicylic acid as an active ingredient may also help treat acne. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent, meaning it has the ability to break down the keratin in dead skin cells, helping them to slough off the skin. Although salicylic acid can remove dandruff-causing scale from the scalp, excessive use can cause the scalp to dry out, leading to further problems with acne.
When other products are unsuccessful, over the counter or prescription strength ketoconazole shampoo may be effective in treating your dandruff. Ketoconazole shampoo contains imidazoles that can slow down malassezia fungus growth on the skin, according to the National Institutes of Health.