Best Dandruff Shampoos

best dandruff shampoos

Dandruff is a very common skin condition that creates flakes on the scalp. Though it is not infectious, it can sometimes cause us embarrassment, especially when flakes are visible in the hair and on clothing. Dandruff happens when the skin renewals fast than usual. There are various reasons why this may happen, including seborrheic dermatitis, hair care routine, allergies or a weakened immune system. It can also be caused by malassezia, a fungus that can live harmlessly on the skin for some people, but cause irritation to others.

There are many different anti-dandruff shampoos on the market, although many only claim to remove visible flakes. The best dandruff shampoos tend to be medicated, with either of the following active ingredients: ketoconazole, selenium sulphide, salicylic acid and coal tar.


Ketoconazole is an antifungal that is used to treat fungal infections of the skin and feet. It works by eradicating the fungus that is present while also inhibiting its growth. With correct use, products containing ketoconazole will hopefully ease the flaking and scaling that occurs with dandruff; some also relieve itching.

Selenium sulphide

Selenium sulphide is an anti-infective ( describes an anti-infective as something capable of acting against infection). It is similar to ketoconazole in that it helps to kill fungus and slow down its growth. It relieves symptoms commonly associated with dandruff by removing flakes and easing an itchy scalp.

Salicylic acid shampoos

Salicylic acid has a somewhat exfoliating effect. It works by loosening the excess skin cells before they build up to flakes, commonly associated with dandruff. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties that can also help to reduce irritation and redness.

Coal tar shampoos

Coal tar is part of a group of drugs known as keratoplasties and works by slowing down the cell production process; it also loosens existing flakes from the top layer of skin. This will help to treat dandruff by reducing flakiness and relieving itchiness.


 NizoralBest Dandruff Shampoos

Nizoral, unlike many other anti-dandruff products, smells pretty good and works well with colored hair. Another great thing  is that it can prevent thinning hair as ketoconazole, the active ingredient, has anti-androgen properties.

The active ingredient in Nizoral Anti-dandruff shampoo is ketoconazole which, as mentioned above, is an antifungal used to treat dandruff. Nizoral is often prescribed by doctors as an effective treatment for moderate dandruff.

Androgenic alopecia is a common form of hair loss that will affect nearly 40% of women at some point during their lifetime. Nizoral also has the potential to promote hair growth by reducing the amount of sebum produced in the scalp, leading to unclogged skin pores and room for hair to grow.


Selsun Blue

Best Dandruff Shampoos

Selsun Blue has been around for a long time. It is popular with people that suffer from moderate to severe dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and tinea versicolor; it may also work for people suffering from eczema on their scalp. This product contains selenium sulphide (1%), which will eradicate the dandruff-causing fungus; this will lead to less flakiness and itching.

Selsun Blue has a range of anti-dandruff shampoos that have been praised because of their effectiveness. A study was conducted in 1981 by Rapaport M to test the efficiency of four popular anti-dandruff shampoos, including Selsun Blue and Head and Shoulders. Selsun Blue was deemed the most effective and participants saw a faster rate of improvement using it.

Selsun blue has very good customer reviews. The majority of users offer high praise, with long-term dandruff sufferers claiming this is the only product that has worked for them. The only negative to Selsun Blue is the smell, which may be unbearable for some. However, for most people, the pros of completely getting rid of dandruff outweighs the smell. Selsun Blue seems to be one of the best dandruff shampoos.

Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Shampoo

Best Dandruff Shampoos

Unlike other Head and Shoulders Shampoo, this clinical strength version contains the active ingredient selenium sulphide (1%) and has been clinically proven to remove flakes and ease itching, symptoms commonly associated with dandruff. This shampoo also works well for people suffering from seborrheic dermatitis.

Like Selsun Blue, the smell of Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength is not the best, but that is because of the selenium sulphide. Hopefully, this can be overcome with a nice smelling conditioner – which should always be used after medicated shampoos anyway as they tend to leave your hair feeling drier than usual.

The shampoo can be used on most hair types, including afro hair.  Overall, Head & Shoulders clinical strength dandruff shampoo is inexpensive and better value for money than most medicated shampoos, which tend to come in small bottles and high price tags. Judging by rave reviews of the product, it will also improve your dandruff with consistent use.


Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo

Best Dandruff Shampoos

Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo is an anti-dandruff shampoo which  contains 3% salicylic acid; it is often recommended by dermatologists to improve the symptoms of dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. As mentioned above, salicylic acid prevents flakes by removing dead skin cells before they build up, additionally, salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that may also help reduce redness and itching.

Although, some people like strong-perfume-smelling shampoos, a lot of people prefer unscented beauty products and, Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo, is just that. Unlike other strong-smelling medicated shampoos, this product has a more neutral smell, which is what you want when shampooing your hair.

This product is aimed at people who suffer from mild to moderate dandruff; with consistent use, it will reduce flakes and leave your hair feeling very clean. A similar product to this is DHS SAL Shampoo which also contains 3% Salicylic acid and has proven to work for people suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and dandruff.


MG217 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo

Best Dandruff Shampoos

MG217 is an anti-dandruff shampoo formulated with coal tar (3%) which has proved to be an effective treatment for moderate to severe dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

Coal tar is the only ingredient, off prescription, which slows down the production of skin cell. As MG217 contains 3% of the stuff, it will definitely help with the build-up of flakes on the scalp whilst reducing redness and itchiness; it will also help to prevent the conditions from reoccurring.

Most medicated shampoos for dandruff are rough on your hair and, although MG217 may cause irritation for those with coloured or grey hair, the shampoo has a conditioning formula which they say will leave your hair soft and manageable. Although the company promise a pleasant herbal fragrance, like the other medicated shampoos, people complain about the smell of the coal tar. Again, this can be resolved by using a conditioner.

Final Thoughts…

So, what is the best dandruff shampoo? Well, it is difficult to say which medicated shampoo will work for you, as what will work for some, may not work for others. You may find that you have to try a few anti-dandruff shampoos before you find out what type works for you. A great place to start is by looking at reviews of what others have said about the product and how it worked for their condition, this should put you on the right path.