12 Anti-Dandruff Shampoos That Simply Work

Men's Health posted "12 Anti-Dandruff Shampoos That Simply Work" Cosmopolitan features Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel's expert commentary on anti-dandruff shampoos, including anti-dandruff shampoo recommendations for hair types such as curly and color-treated hair.

Our favorite formulas that won’t leave your scalp high and dry.

Ok, dandruff can be embarrassing. Beyond dulling even the sharpest of all-black ensembles, dealing with dandruff can seem never-ending. What is dandruff? Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adam Mamelak offers insight. “The most common cause is a reaction to a yeast called Malassezia, which is a normal inhabitant of our skin’s oil glands...yeast’s interaction with the body’s immune system is what leads to redness, itching and flaking.” Keeping a regular skincare routine is just as important as maintaining a balanced and healthy scalp. ‘This yeast-like organism loves to grow in damp warm environments, and thrives in those with oily hair, or those that put edible oils on their heads (coconut and olive oil),” adds board-certified dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel. But don’t give up. From curly to color-treated hair, there is an anti-dandruff shampoo for you.

Make time to experiment with treatments until you find your match. Effective prevention and treatment options often include powerful antimicrobial formulations with zinc, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide. Exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid and tar are often blended with tea tree, eucalyptus or spearmint oils—oils that calm the scalp and leave behind a cool, tingly feeling.

Flakes aren't necessarily a sign of uncleanliness. Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, Principal Scientist and Senior Manager of Scientific Communications, Beauty Care at Procter & Gamble offers her assurance. “One of the misconceptions is that those suffering from flakes and itchiness are unhygienic... but [dandruff] is a predisposition embedded in our DNA.” That said, because dandruff is triggered by an immune response, it can also be a sign of a larger issue. If it’s difficult to treat your condition, see a dermatologist. “There are known correlations to allergies, vitamin deficiency, and nervous or immune system irregularities,” adds Dr. Mamelak.

Here are the 12 best anti-dandruff shampoos for nearly every common need.

Head and Shoulders Royal Oils Moisture Boost Shampoo

Here’s the best dry scalp dandruff shampoo. Regular hydration and scalp stimulation is key to preventing dandruff. The Royal Oils collection is specially developed to support the variety of natural, kinky, curly and coily textures of Black hair. The Moisture Boost Shampoo features lightweight coconut oil that relieves the scalp, then locks in moisture. “The first step to effectively treat dandruff, is to cleanse the scalp to remove product buildup, dirt and oil,” says Dr. Wilkerson.

Every Man Jack 2-in1 Anti-Dandruff Shampoo + Conditioner

If you also hit snooze multiple times, you will appreciate the convenience of a 2-in1 shampoo/conditioner. The Anti-Dandruff Shampoo + Conditioner by Every Man Jack taps into the power of eucalyptus and spearmint essential oils to calm an itchy and irritated scalp. Another plus, this 2-in-1 works to help your hair look thicker and fuller.

Selsun Blue Medicated with Menthol Dandruff Shampoo

First things first, the Selsun Blue commercials of the '90s are somehow burned into my memory. Arguably one of the best original shampoos for combatting tough dandruff, the maximum-strength formula features selenium sulfide 1%—a common anti-dandruff component—as the active ingredient. “Regardless of hair type, you should wash your hair every other day, and if that doesn’t help, bump your shampoo to a medicated version like T-Sal or Selsun Blue that will get rid of the build-up,” says celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank.

MALIN+GOETZ Dandruff Shampoo

A set of MALIN+GOETZ body products first greeted me on a crisp hotel bed in South America—and I’ve shamelessly hoarded them ever since. Anti-dandruff ingredients can be harsh and drying, but MALIN+GOETZ Dandruff Shampoo blends anti-dandruff ingredients like pyrithione zinc and tea tree oil with powerful amino acids that help lock in moisture.

American Crew Anti-Dandruff & Sebum Control Shampoo

Scalp maintenance is long-term and essential for healthy hair growth. “Unfortunately, there is no ‘cure’ for dandruff, but it can be effectively controlled so that it is barely, if at all, noticeable,” says dermatology resident Dr. Charles Puza. American Crew Anti-Dandruff & Sebum Control Shampoo is formulated with rosemary oil and zinc pyrithione to regulate flaking and sebum—the oily substance that the body releases on the skin. Sage leaf extract, peppermint and tea tree oil purify and invigorate the scalp.

Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

“Dandruff is not curable since the combination of oil and normal microflora (bacteria) worsened by stress causes flare, but dandruff can be well-managed,” says Dr. Graf. “I like Oribe anti-dandruff shampoo.” Oribe Serene Scalp is one of the best anti-dandruff shampoos for color-treated hair. Key ingredients like salicylic acid, pea sprout extract and caffeine restore and protect hair, starting with the scalp.

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is one of the best non-prescription options—in fact, without a prescription, you’d be hard-pressed to find another treatment with the anti-fungal treatment, Ketoconazole 1%. “Preventing dandruff consists of moisturizing and conditioning your scalp regularly, avoiding hair care products you're sensitive to, and using shampoos that have either ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, zinc or tar,” offers board-certified dermatologist Dr. Peterson Pierre.

Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap Scalp Care Shampoo

There’s a fine balance between cleansing the scalp versus stripping it of vital oil and moisture. That’s where the genius blend of shea butter and African Black soap gets to work. Prone to sensitive skin? Make sure your products work for your unique needs and opt for this gentler option. “The sulfur in African Black Soap contains antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that help to kill dandruff-causing yeast, and the oils help moisturize dry scalp,” says Dr. Patel.

Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo

Tea tree oil is an antibacterial, aromatherapeutic powerhouse on its own. Even better, it’s blended with invigorating peppermint and lavender in Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. There’s a reason this is Paul Mitchell’s best-selling shampoo0—it’s formulated to rid the scalp of impurities and leaves behind an unmatched clean and cooling sensation.

Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo

Developed by trichologists—also known as experts that are dedicated to studying the scalp and hair—Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo is a highly effective zinc-based treatment that is also safe for color-treated hair. Expect a flake-free and clarified scalp without excessive stripping or dryness.

VENN Synbiotic Polyamine Shampoo

Who knew probiotics and prebiotics are good for the scalp? The VENN Synbiotic Polyamine Shampoo is formulated with a mix of probiotics and prebiotics that help support a balance of healthy bacteria on the scalp. This pick is backed by science and powered by an effective blend of antioxidant herbal extracts and vitamins.

Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

If your hair is prone to breakage, look no further than the Jupiter Balancing Shampoo. The zinc pyrithione medicated shampoo is scientifically formulated, soothes the scalp and delivers just the right level of hydration. After all, life is all about balance, right?

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