A Guide to Choosing The Right Ingredients In A Shampoo To Tackle Dandruff
Dandruff is a condition caused by the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. At times, it can fall on your face which can lead to issues like acne, itching, and inflammation. Dandruff is primarily caused by a fungal infection called pityriasis sicca, which is a common scalp condition that typically starts to occur in adolescent age groups and continues. It can, however, be managed with anti-yeast, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and sebum-reducing treatments.
Identifying the specific type of dandruff is the first step towards finding the right ingredients to tackle dandruff. Dr Shuchi Arora, Head of New Product Development, Traya explains how dandruff can be of various types such as:
- Dry Skin DandruffOften occurs in dry seasons (winter, early summer, and soon after the monsoon) and can also be caused by excessive hot water baths. Using moisturizing shampoos and specialized Ayurvedic or herbal oils for dandruff control can help maintain a healthy scalp and prevent flakiness.
- Oily Skin DandruffExcessive oil secretion or sweat on the scalp can lead to oily dandruff, causing irritation, itching, and inflammation. This condition can be effectively treated by using oil-controlling shampoos with chemical exfoliating agents, which help deep-clean the scalp and regulate oil or sebum secretion.
- Fungal DandruffDandruff caused by the fungus Malassezia, or other dandruff types mentioned above, if left unchecked and untreated, can lead to fungal growth on the scalp. It can also result from drug reactions or immune responses in the body. This type of dandruff can be treated with shampoos or lotions containing FDA-approved ingredients that inhibit the growth of fungus and deliver positive results.
- Dandruff Induced by skin conditionsDandruff can also be linked to skin conditions such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, or scalp psoriasis. In such cases, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for medical advice. These conditions may involve symptoms like inflammation, redness, and excessive itching. Seeking immediate medical assistance is essential, as untreated cases can worsen and potentially affect other skin areas.
Dandruff, regardless of its type, can cause image-related stress and unwanted facial effects like acne or boils. It often recurs, so seeking expert advice for suitable products to tackle the condition is essential. Always read product labels and consult with reputable marketers or chemists for guidance on the ideal ingredients in shampoos and other products required to treat your scalp condition. Listed below are a few anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial ingredients that you can look out for while purchasing anti-dandruff products. These components have a direct inhibitory effect on microbes, yeast, or bacteria. Doctors often recommend medicinal shampoos or lotions containing one or more of these ingredients to effectively eliminate dandruff. Dr Arora shares ingredients required to effectively eliminate dandruff:
- KetoconazoleThis is a widely prescribed antifungal molecule, used globally by dermatologists. It’s available in 1% and 2% concentrations, with the latter being pharmaceutical grade. It directly targets and effectively eliminates the fungus after a few washes.
- Selenium SulfideThis is another antifungal molecule found in prescribed medicinal shampoos and over-the-counter (OTC) products. It inhibits the fungus responsible for dandruff and helps in its control.
- Zinc PyrithioneIt is an effective and widely used antifungal and antimicrobial agent in over-the-counter (OTC) products, as well as in many branded commercialized products. Also known as ZPTO, it helps reduce scalp flakiness and inhibits the growth of fungi. It is often combined with other antifungals or natural extracts to effectively combat dandruff.
- Piroctone OlamineA modern, multifunctional ingredient that offers both antifungal and anti-hairfall benefits. It is used in many OTC products either alone or in combination with other ingredients for its broad-spectrum benefits.
- Climbazole Another effective antifungal agent that has been shown to inhibit the fungi that cause dandruff. It is typically used in low concentrations, either alone or in combination with other antimicrobial ingredients.
- Coal TarThis substance belongs to a class of drugs known as keratoplastics. It is primarily used to treat scaly and itchy conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. While it is effective in addressing the root causes of these conditions, it is less popular due to its side effects, which include an unpleasant odor, skin irritation, increased sun sensitivity, staining, and making hair brittle. Nevertheless, it is widely used for managing chronic conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis due to its effectiveness.
- Salicylic AcidUnlike antifungals, Salicylic Acid is a gentle anti-inflammatory agent with keratolytic properties. It removes excess flakes, soothes scalp itching, and is used in mild scalp exfoliation products to cleanse the scalp and improve the penetration of other anti-dandruff ingredients.
- Natural OilsTea Tree, Neem, Ginger, Mint, Cumin, and Apple Cider Vinegar, traditionally used as home remedies, are now combined with antifungal agents by many brands to offer multiple benefits. These oils have a broad-spectrum impact on the scalp, addressing dandruff and flakiness while providing soothing, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and nourishing properties. They help rejuvenate the scalp and alleviate dandruff symptoms like itching, redness, and soreness with minimal to no side effects.
- Ayurvedic Extracts of Shatavari, Brahmi, Fenugreek, and Camphor:The Ayurvedic approach to treating dandruff differs significantly from modern methods and is more holistic. This method involves making dietary and lifestyle changes, balancing scalp pH, promoting scalp health, addressing the imbalance in doshas, and using herbal techniques like lepas and oil massages. Key ingredients that are part of this approach include Coconut Oil, Brahmi Oil, Neem Oil, Bhringraj, Amla, Triphala, Shatavari, Shikakai, Reetha, and yogurt-based hair masks for deep scalp cleansing. Oral supplements contain essential fatty acids, Bhringraj, Brahmi, Shavari, Iron, and aromatic oils like Lavender, Rosemary, and Tea Tree and can also be consumed to reduce itching and inflammation.
Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis (SD) often have a tendency to recur, making maintenance a crucial aspect of managing these conditions. Regular scalp exfoliation is vital to prevent their recurrence. In cases where there’s severe inflammation and itching, doctors may suggest a mild to moderate steroid treatment for 4-6 weeks to provide relief. Because dandruff tends to come back periodically, ongoing maintenance is an integral part of managing these conditions for individuals. Consultation with a healthcare professional or dermatologist can provide personalized guidance on effective strategies for managing these conditions and maintaining a healthy scalp for a longer period of time.