Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: How Does it Work and How Do You Find The Right One? Skip to main content
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Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: How Does it Work and How Do You Find The Right One?

by Style Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

For many of us, the contents of our anti-dandruff shampoo are a mystery. What's inside the bottle that fights all that bacteria in our head and keeps it clean, fresh, and dandruff-free? Understanding how exactly our anti-dandruff shampoo works brings us one step closer to finding the solution that will be a perfect match for our head.

The Science of Anti-Dandruff Shampoos: Not Exactly Rocket Science

The anti-dandruff shampoo in our shower works just like any other regular shampoo - it washes our hair and cleans our scalp, making sure it's free from any dead skin cells, dirt, and other microbes. The difference between it and your regular shampoo is that the ingredients are specialized to wash away the gunk that we put on our hair, such as hair spray, gel, and dye.

Sure, a dab of gel or wax makes us look oh so appealing, but these products actually cause dandruff. In some cases, these may even cause our scalp to shed more skin due to allergies, which in turn causes even more dandruff.

Anti-Dandruff Ingredients

The anti-dandruff shampoo is specifically designed (or mixed, for a better term), to cleanse our scalp of existing dandruff, and get rid of any lingering hair products clinging on to our hair. Zinc pyrithione is often the main or active ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos, and it is responsible for getting rid of mallassezia, a fungus that's mostly to blame for dandruff. Salicylic acid is another ingredient in the solution, and is used mainly to soften the scalp and prevent excess shedding. 

Now it's obviously a lot better if we apply the shampoo thoroughly, as the solution in the bottle can only do so much. Our fingers need to get right into the hair and scalp to speed the cleaning process.

What's the Ideal Anti-Dandruff Shampoo?

To choose the right kind of anti-dandruff shampoo for our hair and scalp, we first need to look at what exactly is causing the dandruff to begin with. Itch-inducing dandruff is possibly the most common problem. Malassaezia, the main perpetrator, is a fungus that forces our scalp to shed skin at a higher rate.

The solution for this is a shampoo with zinc pyrithione as the active ingredient specifically targets the dandruff causing fungus and gets rid of it entirely. It eliminates the primary cause of excessive scalp shedding and maintains it to normal levels, preventing the proliferation of dandruff.

Excessive shedding of hair may be caused by several things, such as dermatitis and eczema. If our hair is thinning and falling off, we need to use a different kind of shampoo. It's a good idea to look for anti-dandruff with these three ingredients: salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, and coal tar. These three slow down the natural shedding of the scalp and also strengthens existing hair stands and prevents them from falling.

We don't need to look for a shampoo that has all these three ingredients in one bottle though. Remember that it's always better to find a shampoo that targets a specific hair and scalp problem.

A little knowledge goes a long way, and understanding what's inside our anti-dandruff shampoo is the best way to figure out the ideal one for our hair and scalp. We need to check the ingredient label carefully and find one that's best for our problematic head.