Having scalp problems may cause you discomfort and embarrassment. Dry scalp may be itchy and flaky.
Dandruff is a very common scalp problem associated with dry scalp and is expressed by itchy and flaky scalp at different levels. The most severe level of dandruff is seborrhoeic dermatitis. One of the main causes of dandruff is the oil loving fungus Malassezia sp. This fungus is part of the normal microorganisms fund in scalp of people with normal or dandruff hair, but in sensitive people this species causes the dandruff symptoms. The fungus releases an enzyme that degrades oil in the scalp, and causes drying. Inflammation of the scalp is also often involved in dandruff.
Seborrheic Dermatitis, as seen in the image above, is a severe form of dandruff, in which there is skin reddening in addition to flaking. You are likely to have this condition if your skin is oily, or in cases of psoriasis or acne.
Psoriasis has similar symptoms to those of seborrhoeic dermatitis, but its symptoms are often fund in other areas of the body. Removal of flakes from the scalp often cause bleeding, unlike in dermatitis. For treating psoriasis on the scalp, using shampoo that contains tar or salicylic acid may be useful.
Treatments for Dandruff and dry scalp
Because one of the main causes of dandruff is microbial, most dry scalp and dandruff shampoos contain one or more anti-fungal agents such as zinc pyrithione (ZPT), piroctone olamine, selenium sulfide, climbazole and ketoconazole. Recently, the silicone-based polymer dimethicone, showed significant improvement in hair condition when combined with anti-fungal treatment or ZPT and climbazole. Most conventional dry scalp shampoos contain sulfate. For sulfate free dandruff shampoos, check specific article.
Common anti-dandruff and dry scalp shampoos
When choosing a dry scalp shampoo, try several different shampoos that have different anti-fungal or active ingredients, and see which one is the best for you.
Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione are common and include
Piroctone olamine is believed to be gentler than zinc, and some people also report reduction in hair loss when using these shampoos. It is an ingredient in the following shampoos
- L’Occitane Aroma Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- BodyShop’s Ginger Scalp Shampoo
- Optima Australian Tea Tree Anti Dandruff Shampoo – sold in Europe.
Shampoos containing selenium sulfide include
- Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Anti Dandruff Shampoo (1% Selenium Sulfide)
- Rugby Selenium Sulfide Shampoo (1% Selenium Sulfide)
- Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo (1% selenium sulfide)
Climbazole-containing shampoos include –
- Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo (also contains salicylic acid)
- DS Laboratories Dandrene High Performance Antidandruff Shampoo
- Clear Men Anti-dandruff Shampoo – Cooling Itchi Control (combination with Zinc Pyrithione as anti-fungal, and the silicone Dimethiconol)
Shampoos with ketoconazole
- Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (1% ketoconazole)
- Regenepure DR – Hair & Scalp Treatment (in combination with zinc oxide, and the silicone dimethicone)
Shampoos with salicylic acid
- Sebulex Medicated Dandruff Shampoo (2% salicylic acid)
- DCL Salicylic Acid Shampoo (3% salicylic acid)
- Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Maximum Strength Shampoo (3% salicylic acid)
Shampoos with tar
- DHS Tar Shampoo (0.5% Coal Tar)
- Neutrogena T/Gel Original Shampoo (0.5% Coal Tar)
- MG 217 Psoriasis Shampoo (3% Coal Tar)
Image credit – Amras666