Oftentimes, a medical professional can identify the presence of dandruff simply by inspecting your hair and scalp.


The itchiness and flaking associated with dandruff can typically be effectively managed. To address mild dandruff and minimize the accumulation of oil and skin cells, consider using regular hair washing using a mild shampoo. If this approach proves ineffective, using a medicated dandruff shampoo is recommended. Some individuals may find benefit in using a medicated shampoo two to three times per week, while using regular shampoo on other days as necessary. For those with drier hair, infrequent shampooing along with a hydrating conditioner can be advantageous.

Various hair and scalp products, both medicated and nonmedicated, are available in forms such as solutions, foams, gels, sprays, ointments, and oils. Finding the most suitable routine may involve trying out different products, and sustained or extended treatment may be necessary.

Discontinue the use of any product if it leads to sensations of stinging or irritation. In case of experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, hives, or breathing difficulties, cease product use immediately and seek urgent medical attention.

Shampoos for dandruff are categorized based on the medication they include. Some are accessible by prescription in stronger forms.

  • Tarbased shampoos. On your scalp, coal tar reduces the rate at which skin cells deteriorate and fall off. This kind of shampoo could discolor your hair if it is light in color. Additionally, it may increase the scalp’s sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Shampoos containing salicylic acid. Treats scaling.
  • Selenium sulfide shampoos. They include an antifungal substance. Because they can discolor the hair and scalp, use these products as indicated and thoroughly rinse after shampooing.
  • Pyrithione zinc shampoos. These include an antibacterial and antifungal substance zinc pyrithione.
  • Fluocinolone shampoos. These products contain a corticosteroid to help control itching, flaking and irritation.
  • Ketoconazole shampoos. The goal of this shampoo is to eradicate the fungus that reside on your scalp and cause dandruff.

If you initially find relief with one type of dandruff shampoo but notice its effectiveness wanes over time, consider alternating between two different dandruff shampoos. As you gain control over your dandruff, you can reduce the frequency of using the medicated shampoo and transition to using it less often for maintenance and preventive purposes.

You should read and abide by the instructions on every shampoo bottle you use. While some products must be rapidly rinsed off, others must be left on for a few minutes.

Speak with your doctor or dermatologist if you’ve been using medicated shampoo regularly for a few weeks but still have dandruff. You might require a steroid lotion or a shampoo with prescription strength.