How to Get Rid of Dandruff?
Most dandruff responds to dandruff shampoos. It’s important to follow the instructions on the label. There are five main kinds of dandruff shampoos available over the counter (OTC):
- Zinc pyrithione shampoos: These shampoos, which include Head & Shoulders, reduce the Malassezia fungus that may be on your scalp.
- Salicylic acid shampoos: These products, which include Neutrogena T/Sal, can help eliminate scales but may dry the scalp.
- Using them with a conditioner may help.
- Tar-based shampoos: These products — which include Neutrogena T/Gel — slow down the rate of skin flaking, kill fungus, and reduce inflammation. If you use a shampoo that contains coal tar, it may discolor light-colored hair and make your scalp more sensitive to sunlight. You should wear a hat while outdoors or stay in the shade if you’re using a coal tar shampoo.
- Selenium sulfide shampoos: These shampoos may reduce Malassezia and reduce flaking of the skin.
- Selenium sulfide shampoos can also discolor light-colored or dyed hair.
- Ketoconazole shampoos: These products, which include Nizoral, kill fungus and are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people of European and Asian descent with dandruff use a regular shampoo daily, and use a dandruff shampoo twice a week. People of African descent should shampoo weekly, using a dandruff shampoo. A dermatologist can recommend the best shampoo for your hair type.
If your dandruff doesn’t respond to shampoos, you may have seborrheic dermatitis. You may need to see a dermatologist to obtain a topical steroid or antifungal cream. You may also benefit from other treatments, such as light therapy.
Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis are not cures, but they can reduce itching, loosen and remove scales, and prevent infection due to broken skin. The type of treatment a dermatologist recommends will depend on your age and the areas of your body that are affected. Your doctor may need to rule out other skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema.