Sets the gold standard for anti-dandruff shampoos. The best option for severe cases.
Works well for severe cases of dandruff. Many begin noticing results after the first use. Eliminates itching and burning.
Expensive compared to the other products listed here.
An affordable product that can tackle most cases of dandruff, but it shouldn't be your only shampoo.
Very affordable. Choose from a variety of different scents. Leaves hair smooth and shiny. Soothes itchy scalps.
Using too frequently may dry out your scalp.
A great all-in-1 anti-dandruff product that will fit comfortably into any lifestyle and budget.
Shampoos and conditions. Affordably priced. Doesn't harm color-treated hair. No antiseptic smell. Does its job as advertised.
Many enjoy the fragrance, but some find it to be too strong.
Enriches your scalp and targets dandruff so you don't have to worry about wearing dark colors.
Control flaking and relieve scalp irritation with this simple and natural formula. The cruelty-free, vegan formula comes in a recycled bottle. It works wonderfully on colored hair!
Some found that it left hair clumpy and hard to control.
A sulfate-free clarifying shampoo for kids that treats dandruff and other build-ups by hydrating and cleansing the scalp.
Uses argan oil, tea tree oil, and vitamin E to treat strands from root to tip. Free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Provides a gentle cleanse and helps to detangle the hair. Is cruelty-free and vegan.
Product is expensive based on the size of the bottle.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Dandruff is a very common scalp condition, but it can still leave you feeling self-conscious. The good news is that it isn’t usually a serious issue, which means you can treat it at home with the right products. That’s where an effective anti-dandruff shampoo comes in.
But there are so many formulas on the market that finding the right one can be a challenge. Which active ingredients work to banish the pesky flakes?
BestReviews is here to help. We do all the research so you don’t have have to. If you’re looking for the right anti-dandruff shampoo for your needs, you’ll find all the facts in our shopping guide.
Dandruff is a fairly easy condition to spot. The oily, white flakes on your scalp often find their way into your hair and onto your shoulders. In many cases, your scalp might also be dry and itchy. Unless your scalp is red and swollen, though, it usually isn’t necessary to see a doctor. There are several factors that can cause dandruff, including the following.
This condition causes greasy, red skin covered with flaky, white scales. It’s a common cause of dandruff. It can affect the scalp and other areas of the body that have a large number of oil glands.
Malassezia is a fungus found on the skin. It can cause irritation that leads to the growth of flaky scales on the scalp.
Sometimes a reaction to the ingredients in your hair care products can cause redness, itchiness, and scaling on the scalp.
If you don’t wash your hair often enough, oil, skin cells, and other residue can build up on your scalp and result in dandruff.
While anyone can get dandruff, certain people are more likely to experience the condition:
Men are more likely to have dandruff due to hormones.
Young adults and middle-aged adults are commonly affected by dandruff, though some people struggle with it all their lives.
People with oily hair are more prone to dandruff because the Malassezia fungus thrives in oily conditions.
Anti-dandruff shampoos use a variety of active ingredients to treat existing dandruff and prevent it from recurring. Depending on your particular dandruff issue, some formulas may be a better option than others. The most common active ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos include the following:
Salicylic acid is an exfoliating agent that helps eliminate dandruff flakes on the scalp. It can cause dryness, so it’s best for people with oily scalps and hair. Pairing a salicylic acid-based anti-dandruff shampoo with a moisturizing conditioner can help reduce some of the dryness.
Price: Salicylic acid-based anti-dandruff shampoos typically cost between $6 and $16.
Coal tar is used to slow down the process that causes skin cells on the scalp to die and slough off, enabling it to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Tar-based shampoos are best for dark-haired individuals because it can discolor blonde and other light-colored hair.
Price: Coal tar-based anti-dandruff shampoos generally run from $4 to $30.
Zinc pyrithione is an antifungal and antibacterial agent that helps counteract dandruff by killing the fungus on your scalp that can cause seborrheic dermatitis.
Price: Zinc pyrithione-based anti-dandruff shampoos typically cost between $3 and $24.
Selenium sulfide shampoo slows down the natural process that causes skin cells on the scalp to die and flake off. It can also help counteract the Malassezia fungus that can cause dandruff. Selenium sulfide-based anti-dandruff shampoo can discolor light and dyed hair, so it’s important to rinse it out well.
Price: Selenium sulfide-based anti-dandruff shampoos generally run from $7 to $35.
Tea tree oil is an antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial essential oil that can help kill the fungus that may cause dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
Price: Tea tree oil-based anti-dandruff shampoos usually range from $5 to $20.
Ketoconazole is a powerful antifungal agent that can help treat dandruff when other anti-dandruff ingredients fail. Ketoconazole-based dandruff shampoos are available in both prescription strength and OTC formulas.
Price: Ketoconazole-based anti-dandruff shampoos usually cost between $14 and $60.
The potent ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoo can sometimes give the product an unpleasant medicinal scent. That’s why some users prefer formulas with added fragrance that provides a fresh, clean scent. However, avoid formulas that are too heavily scented. These can irritate the scalp and cause further dryness.
Because anti-dandruff shampoos contain drying ingredients like salicylic acid, some formulas also include moisturizers for a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner product. This type of anti-dandruff shampoo can help save you time and money, but some users find that two-in-one formulas don’t moisturize enough. A separate conditioner might be a better option for some people.
A. In most cases, it’s perfectly safe to use an anti-dandruff shampoo daily until you get the problem under control. But there are some formulas that are particularly potent, including those that include ketoconazole, which don’t lend themselves to daily use. Instead, it’s usually recommended that you use these formulas two to three times a week. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions on the shampoo to determine the proper usage.
A. It depends on the severity of your dandruff, the strength of the shampoo, and how often you use it. In general, you can usually expect to get your dandruff under control within four to six weeks. If you’re still experiencing persistent dandruff after a month or so of regular use, consult a dermatologist.
A. It depends on the formula of the shampoo, but most are safe for use on children 12 and older. Some formulas can be safely used on children who are younger than 12, so consult the manufacturer’s instructions for usage guidelines. If you have any doubts, ask your child’s pediatrician if a particular anti-dandruff shampoo is safe to use.
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