Dandruff can turn a good hair day into a bad one. You innocently touch your head and the next thing you know, there's a snowstorm of white flakes all over your shoulders – not forgetting the itchiness that comes with it! As frustrating as it is, dandruff will affect at least half of us at some point during our lifetime. But the good news is, it's totally treatable at home, and super affordable.
Using an anti-dandruff shampoo as part of your regular routine will get your scalp feeling fresh and revitalised in no time. We have compiled 10 of the best anti-dandruff shampoos, whether your hair is greasy, oily, or coloured. We also compare favourites such as Nizoral and Neutrogena's T/Gel with some lesser known vegan, organic, and sulphate-free alternatives, all available online at Amazon, eBay, John Lewis and Boots.
There are many reasons why we experience dandruff, and if you've never understood this annoying condition, stay tuned, as a bit of background information could help you in the future. In short, the main culprit is usually your hair washing routine – that is, either over-washing or not washing it enough!
Our hair becomes greasy when there is an excess amount of oil and sebum, which is secreted from the hair follicles onto the scalp. A naturally occurring yeast-like fungus on our skin called Malassezia globos feeds on these oils. Usually, it’s not a cause for concern, but too much can lead to an overgrowth of Malassezia that irritates the scalp, resulting in a build-up of dead skin cells that clump together into dandruff flakes.
You may think the best way to combat this is by washing your hair more frequently, but that’s where you’re wrong! Over-washing strips our hair of its natural oils, especially if you like a nice hot shower. A scalp that lacks moisture becomes dry and flaky, which is a recipe for even more dandruff.
The best way to get on top of dandruff is by using an anti-dandruff shampoo containing active ingredients to cut down on the flakes while you devise the best washing routine for your hair!
With so many shampoos on the market all promising to rid hair of itchy flakes, it can be almost impossible to know which ones actually work. In this buying guide we run down the key things to look for when comparing anti-dandruff shampoos online.
There are certain active ingredients to look out for when comparing dandruff-combatting shampoos, some of which will be more suited to your hair, skin, and lifestyle than others. Here are a few of the star players, and how they work.
Ketoconazole is one of the most effective anti-fungal ingredients to be found in anti-dandruff shampoo. It binds to the natural protein of the hair to help reduce skin cell shedding, and eliminates excess fungus on the scalp, remaining effective even after washing!
Bear in mind it is more of a treatment shampoo rather than a wash-and-go, so does require a few extra minutes of your time. For best results, use twice a week. Massage the shampoo into the scalp and leave for about five minutes before rinsing.
Coal tar is an ingredient found in many anti-dandruff shampoos for its anti-fungal properties. By killing off some of the malassezia, it reduces scalp irritation for less redness and itchiness.
Be careful when using shampoos containing coal tar if you have light, blonde or coloured hair. This is because, as you can imagine, coal tar is dark in colour and can temporarily stain or darken hair, skin and fabric.
Salicylic acid and sulphur are often used in combination to eliminate flakes. Salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant that breaks down and removes dead skin cells from the scalp, whereas sulphur is an anti-fungal agent. The salicylic acid helps the sulphur to penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin for better efficacy.
Though they are very powerful, sensitive skin types should aware be that these ingredients can be mildly irritating, so make sure to use shampoos containing them alongside other hydrating ingredients, or with a moisturising conditioner.
Zinc pyrithione is another active ingredient with anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties – there's a theme here! It helps banish dandruff by reducing yeast production on the scalp, and preventing fungal overgrowth.
Sensitive scalps or those sharing shampoos with younger family members may be pleased to know that zinc pyrithione is much gentler than some other active ingredients found in anti-dandruff shampoo, and is therefore less likely to cause scalp irritation when used on a regular basis.
If you prefer mostly plant-derived toiletries, you're in luck, as there are plenty of natural ingredients that go a long way in the fight against flakes. When paired with active ingredients, they can help improve the overall efficacy of your shampoo. Equally, if you have sensitive skin or would like to avoid harsh ingredients, natural anti-dandruff shampoos can be milder on the scalp.
Here Are Some of the Top Natural Anti-Dandruff Ingredients to Look for:
Sulphates are a common ingredient found in cleansing products. Usually, they are added to shampoo to make them lather, plus they're effective at removing grime and excess sebum. However, they can also strip the scalp and hair of some of it’s much needed moisture.
Therefore, if you suspect your dandruff is caused by a dry, flaking scalp, then it’s probably best to avoid sulphates as they could potentially cause your skin to dry out further. They fall under many different names on the ingredients list, so seek shampoos advertised as ‘sulphate-free’, ‘SLS/ SLES-free’ or ‘non-foaming’ if you're uncertain.
A second ingredient to be mindful of is selenium sulfide. It can be a saviour for those who have a particularly oily scalp, as it suppresses the production of oil and sebum. However, it is fairly harsh, and if overused, this suppression can lead to irritation and even drier skin.
We're sure by now you're itching to, well, stop itching! Here, in ranking order, are the top 10 best anti-dandruff shampoos in the UK.
|Active Ingredients||Salicylic acid|
|Natural Ingredients||Coconut oil|
|Natural Ingredients||Tea tree oil|
|Active Ingredients||Zinc pyrithione|
|Natural Ingredients||Tea tree oil, rosemary oil|
|Active Ingredients||Salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione|
|Natural Ingredients||Coconut oil, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar|
|Active Ingredients||Coal tar|
|Active Ingredients||Salicylic acid, sulphur|
|Natural Ingredients||Rosemary oil|
|Active Ingredients||Coal tar|
|Active Ingredients||Salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione|
Dead Sea Spa
Dandruff Killer Shampoo
2-in-1 Medicated Shampoo
Dandruff Relief Shampoo
T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
Anti-Dandruff Herbal Shampoo
Magik Mineral Shampoo
Anti-Dandruff + Sebum Control Shampoo
Tea Tree Oil Anti Dandruff Shampoo
Amino Acid Shampoo
Best Anti-Fungal Treatment Shampoo for Persistent Dandruff
An Anti-Dandruff Shampoo That Helps Prevent Against Hair Loss
A Coal Tar 2-In-1 Shampoo and Conditioner
A Vegan, Sulphate-Free Shampoo
A Favourite for Chronic Dandruff and Psoriasis Sufferers
A Natural Shampoo to Treat Mild Cases of Dandruff
A Creamy Shampoo to Keep Flakes Under Control
A Lightly Conditioning Anti-Fungal Shampoo
A Tea Tree Oil-Enriched Shampoo to Relieve an Itchy Scalp
A Hydrating Shampoo With Coconut Oil and Amino Acids
|Active Ingredients||Ketoconazole||Salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione||Coal tar||Salicylic acid, sulphur||Coal tar||-||Salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione||Zinc pyrithione||-||Salicylic acid|
|Natural Ingredients||-||-||-||Rosemary oil||-||Coconut oil, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar||-||Tea tree oil, rosemary oil||Tea tree oil||Coconut oil|
Frustratingly, it's a fact that those of us who suffer from dry skin in one place tend to feel it in other parts of the body too. If this sounds all too familiar, you may find some of our other cosmetics articles helpful. They're all designed to provide you with advice and products that will put some much-needed moisture back where it belongs.
Dandruff can be both embarrassing and irritating. Not all anti-dandruff shampoo will work for everyone, so it may take a bit of trial and error before you find the right one. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there for you to try. We hope this article will help you get rid of dandruff for good!
Author: Wren Mann
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