The Ultimate Dandruff Treatment to Forget About Dandruff for Good

Dandruff is a very common but easily solvable problem. Here are four recommendations to make your dandruff treatment more effective.
The Ultimate Dandruff Treatment to Forget About Dandruff for Good
Sergio Alonso Castrillejo

Reviewed and approved by the pharmacist Sergio Alonso Castrillejo.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 06 December, 2022

Dandruff treatment can be a costly and time-consuming process, but there are remedies that can help dandruff disappear. It’s a common condition that is neither contagious nor serious.

Dandruff is excessive flaking of scalp cells, causing flakes of skin to appear on the hair. Although this isn’t a serious health problem, dandruff can be unsightly.

Here are some basic tips on how to treat this problem for soft, shiny, dandruff-free hair!

The causes and symptoms of dandruff

Dead scalp cells are shed continuously as part of the normal renewal of the epidermis. When it occurs in excess, dandruff appears, which may be accompanied by mild itching and does not usually show signs of inflammation.

Although the symptoms may be similar, dandruff should not be confused with seborrheic dermatitis. The latter does have an inflammatory origin and flaking occurs in areas with a high concentration of sebaceous glands.

Overall, the specific causes of dandruff are not known, although some trigger mechanisms have been identified:

  • Dry skin
  • Irritated or oily skin
  • Other skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema
  • Allergy or adverse reaction to hair care products
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Uncontrolled growth of Malassezia yeast
  • States of emotional tension or stress may favor its appearance as they accelerate the normal process of skin cell renewal
  • Weather and environmental conditions also play a role in its appearance, although the explanation is unknown. Thus, this problem is more common during autumn and winter.

4 tips for treating dandruff

Most people don’t need medical attention to treat dandruff. At first, you can try increasing the frequency of hair washing with a mild shampoo. If this doesn’t solve the problem there are over-the-counter medicated products that are easy to apply.

In these cases, the basic treatment for dandruff is the use of a shampoo with anti-dandruff active ingredients. Some of these are ketoconazole (for dandruff caused by infections), tar, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, and selenium sulfide, among others.

Their use can be complemented or replaced by other products such as sprays, foams, ointments, or oils. If any of them generate itching, it’s best to stop its application and change it for another one.

It’s possible that you may have to try several products before finding the right formula for each one. Also, as time goes by, they may stop working, so it’s a good idea to change up your strategy now and then.

To make the shampoo treatment more effective, it’s recommended to adopt the following guidelines.

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1. Wash your hair regularly with an anti-dandruff shampoo.

Dandruff treatment
Using the right shampoo for each type of scalp and dandruff will help to eliminate dandruff.

If you suffer from dandruff, it’s a good idea to use a mild shampoo daily and alternate with an anti-dandruff shampoo. The American Dermatological Association recommends using it twice a week for Caucasians and Asians and once a week for Blacks.

In addition, it’s important to keep the shampoo on the hair for 5 to 10 minutes, massaging the scalp continuously with the fingertips and never with the fingernails. Otherwise, the effect could be the opposite.

2. Rinse the shampoo with plenty of water

This will prevent residue from remaining on the scalp. This residue could cause itching or irritation.

The water should be lukewarm, as extreme temperatures are not suitable. Therefore, avoid water that is either too hot or too cold.

3. Dandruff treatment: Alternate shampoos with different composition

Each type of anti-dandruff shampoo has its own active ingredients. Therefore, if we use more than one brand of shampoo, dandruff can be attacked from more than one approach.

We must also take into account that each manufacturer and each composition requires a different application method and time. This is why it’s important to follow the instructions indicated on the packaging.

You can also use a hydroalcoholic lotion after shampooing or a hair mask with a different composition.

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4. You should brush your hair thoroughly every day

Mujer cepillándose el cabello.
Regular brushing will remove any dandruff residue left on the surface of the hair.

Make sure that the brush doesn’t have sharp bristles. Otherwise, you could do the same damage as with your nails. The more you brush your hair, the more effective the dandruff treatment will be and the less dandruff flakes will appear.

Other care includes not using a hairdryer at high temperatures, avoiding touching your hair with your hands too much, not wearing accessories and clothes that cause friction on your hair, and minimizing the use of certain hair cosmetics (such as styling gels, sprays, etc.). You also shouldn’t use any styling devices at high temperatures to prevent dandruff.

What else to keep in mind about dandruff treatment

Apart from correctly applying the indicated products, there are other complementary measures that can help prevent or minimize the appearance of dandruff.

On the one hand, it’s a good idea to know the triggering factors that affect you and how to minimize them or avoid your exposure to them. One of the most important is stress, so it’s a very good to find a way to keep it under control.

There are also some natural products, such as tea tree oil, that have been tested as an alternative treatment for dandruff. However, they shouldn’t be your go-to treatment for the time being, according to data published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Also, adequate intake of omega-3 oils (which regulate the skin’s production of oil) and safe sun exposure (only a few minutes, to prevent skin damage) are other positive habits for skin and scalp health.

Follow these simple tips for successful dandruff treatment

To help resolve excessive flaking, it’s important to practice these guidelines on a daily basis. In any case, if dandruff persists despite these basic tips and the use of various products, see a dermatologist or consult a pharmacist. Flaking and itching may be a sign of a disease such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, or fungal infection of the scalp.

A specialist will be able to rule out any medical cause and advise on the most appropriate option depending on the type of dandruff (seasonal or permanent, oily or dry) and the best way to address the problem.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • American Academy of Dermatology Association. How to treat dandruff.
  • Leranoz S. La caspa. Causas y tratamiento. Offarm. Febrero 2002. 21 (2): 71-77.
  • Loing E, Lamarque E, et al. New targets in the battle against dandruff. Journal of Cosmetic Science. Enero-Febrero 2017. 68 (1): 107-113.
  • Mayo Clinic. Dandruff. Septimebre 2021.
  • Medline Plus. Dermatitis seborreica. Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina de Estados Unidos. Abril 2021.
  • Satchell A.C, Saurajen A, et al. Treatment of dandruff with 5 % tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Diciembre 2002. 47 (6): 852-855.
  • Vademecum. Ketoconazol. Enero 2015.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.