No one really knows what causes dandruff, although a fungus called malassezia is highly suspected to play a role. Whilst it’s normal to have malassezia on your skin, too much of it is linked to dandruff.
These are some of the common reasons your scalp can become dry and itchy:
Itching is a very common occurrence which may occur in middle-aged people for no apparent reason. It can occur with or without scaling; the normal response is to scratch the itch which may well then cause scratched patches of skin and crusty sores throughout the scalp.
Dandruff (pityriasis capitis) is the simple scaling of the skin on the scalp. About 50 per cent of the population suffers from dandruff at some point in their life. Regular washing with an anti-dandruff shampoo is useful in the treatment of dandruff.
Seborrheic dermatitis (or seborrhea): This common skin condition causes redness, itching, and flaking. Occurring on many parts of the body, when it affects the scalp, it’s called dandruff. It’s treatable by most over-the-counter medicated shampoos which stop the flakes from falling. More stubborn cases will benefit from prescription-strength shampoos and steroid creams.
Scalp psoriasis can cause dandruff-like itching and flaking. Psoriasis happens when the immune system triggers too many skin cells to grow on various parts of the body, including your scalp. People with psoriasis may be more likely to suffer with dandruff, however psoriasis is not dandruff. Whilst it is a fairly common skin condition affecting roughly 3% of the population, unlike dandruff, psoriasis occurs mostly in small, localized patches with quite prominent thick scaling that can be mistaken as a severe case of dandruff, however psoriasis has a genetic link and there is usually a family history of the condition. Psoriasis can be triggered by stress.
Eczema. This skin condition can make your scalp itchy and flaky. It’s most common in babies and children, but anyone can get it. The cause is unknown, however moisturizers and prescription steroid creams can help relieve the symptoms, as can avoiding harsh soaps and scratching. Avoiding stress whenever possible also helps.
The most common anti-dandruff shampoo ingredients
- zinc pyrithione or zinc omadine
- selenium sulphide
- piroctone olamine – this is a newer addition to medicated shampoos. It is known as a ‘second generation’ anti-dandruff agent. It’s less toxic than zinc pyrithione and therefore safer for family use
- antifungal agents
- tar (coal tar extract) – shampoos containing tar have been used for years, usually for more severe scalp conditions. In the past, the scent of the tar-based shampoos made them less acceptable. However, modern preparations are well tolerated and simple to use.
How often to use medicated shampoos
Whilst some products are mild enough to be used daily, others should only be used once a week. Those with a scaly scalp should be shampooing every day. Infrequent shampooing may result in scale build-up, making symptoms worse. Using the same branded anti dandruff shampoo and conditioner is advised as the conditioner can increase the effectiveness of the shampoo by up to 10%.
In this article we review the Top 10 Products for Dry, Itchy Scalp and Dandruff, ranging from the best organic ingredients to the most powerful products to reduce/eliminate a dry, itchy scalp and dandruff, giving you the information you need to find what you’re looking for.
Simply click on any of the images/pictures to see more details – enjoy!
1. Nizoral Anti Dandruff Shampoo
- Anti-dandruff shampoo; contains most-prescribed ingredient for dandruff
- Controls the flaking, scaling, and itching associated with dandruff
- Use twice a week to control a leading cause of dandruff and be dandruff-free
- For adults and children over 12 years of age
What Causes Dandruff? P. ovale and malassezia are fungi found on every human head. Climate, heredity, diet, hormones and stress impact how your body reacts to it. For dandruff sufferers, the natural process of scalp-cell renewal is accelerated when fighting off fungi and yeasts, causing dead cells to fall off faster. This is a leading cause of dandruff and all the symptoms that go with it – the flaking, scaling and itching. NIZORAL A-D kills the fungus that causes dandruff. Period. That’s because the ingredient called “ketoconazole” binds to the natural protein of your hair so it keeps working between shampoos with NIZORAL A-D. “Ketoconazole” keeps dandruff in check.
2. Sage Shampoo for Heavy Dandruff with Jojoba & Organic Spikenard
- Treatment for dandruff at the source containing a natural formula to combat dermatitis.
- Free of parabens, phthalates, fragrances and sulfates.
- 100% Natural Ingredients
- Anti Dandruff – Rich in all-natural compounds
- Tea Tree Shampoo – Gentle ingredients, safe for color treated hair.
For those with moderate to severe dandruff and those in need of moisture control for their hair.
Homeopathic/natural solution. Sage shampoo is a serious solution for a serious problem. By taking advantage of a synergistic formula which works to solve the root problems that are the cause of dandruff, Sage is dermatologist-recommended for its ability to fight the causes and conditions of dermatitis. Made of the most organic and mild ingredients, the shampoo which holds our signature formula is great for all hair types, especially those sensitive to SLS or other detergents of that degree.
Our effective ingredients include:
Sage: Contains the most effective anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties to combat dermatitis. Authentic, sage is also a natural benefit for those experiencing problems with hair loss.
Spikenard: Helps to restore pigmentation to the hair and assists in the battle against dermatitis. This exotic and luscious addition also works together with sage to promote hair growth.
Rosemary: Rich in verbenone, which stimulates cell renewal of the hair follicles. Complementing tea tree oil which clears out the dead cells, it also stimulates new hair growth and improves circulation.
Jojoba and Argan Oils: these provide hair shine and scalp smoothness and gives the shampoo moisturizing conditioner properties and helps with dandruff.
Botanical Keratin: Naturally derived botanical keratin plays an important role in restoring healthy hair. Frizzy and damaged hair may stem from a lack of keratin, which this ingredient generously replenishes.
By using only the purest organic ingredients for oil treatment, the shedding of dead skin cells is reduced and leaves a fresh shine. Sage shampoo offers a deliciously spicy aroma, and is guaranteed to turn shower time into a remedial and therapeutic experience.
3. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
- #1 Dermatologist recommended medicated shampoo brand
- Starts working in just after one use
- Contains 0.5% Neutar, proven to deliver effective scalp therapy for hours after the shampoo is rinsed out
- Rich, amber formula with added conditioners
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo starts working in just after one use to control redness, intense itching and flaking of severe scalp conditions like dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. This dermatologist-recommended formula contains Neutar, proven to deliver effective scalp therapy for hours after the shampoo is rinsed out. Its rich, amber formula gently cleanses, and the added conditioners leave hair manageable and soft.
Our T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Original starts to work on contact, to help control itching and flaking from the first use. Gentle and pleasant to use, T/Gel leaves hair looking healthy and manageable.
Designed for the effective treatment of:
Dandruff symptoms typically include itching, flaking, and dryness of the scalp.
Seborrheic dermatitis symptoms include reddened, irritated skin, increased flaking, and larger flake size. The scalp may be oily, causing flakes to have a yellowish tinge. Commonly affected areas may include the scalp and eyebrows.
Psoriasis symptoms include inflammation and the buildup of powdery, large, silvery plaques on the skin’s surface, especially on the knees, elbows, and scalp. The severity of scalp psoriasis can vary from slight scaling to thick, crusted plaques.
Long Lasting Relief
Even after four weeks, using T/Gel once per week is as effective as using the leading dandruff shampoo twice per week. T/Gel once per week gives you freedom to use your favorite shampoo more often!
4. Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo
- Made with Pure Dead Sea Mud for an Infusion of Essential Minerals into Scalp & Hair
- Helps relieve the appearance of scalp Psoriasis
- Contains Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E & Chamomile
- Relieves Itching from Dry, Flaky Scalp & Dandruff
- 1 Year 100% unconditional money back guarantee
Adovia Mineral Skin Care has been producing skin and hair care products for ten years with thousands of satisfied customers and a proven track record. Our formulation experts specialize in hair & skin care products made from Dead Sea Mud and Dead Sea Salt. Our products are 100% cruelty free and never tested on animals.
Our Shampoo is aimed at those requiring an effective treatment for Dandruff, Seborrhea Dermatitis and/or Scalp Psoriasis.
Adovia’s Dead Sea Mud Shampoo is specially formulated with natural ingredients such as Dead Sea Mud, Chamomile, Olive Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E to bring deep hydration and moisture to the scalp, relieving itching and flakiness.
Dead Sea Mud and Minerals have been known for centuries for their healing, moisturizing and hydrating properties; people travel from all over the world to come and experience their effects at the Dead Sea.
This shampoo gently cleanses scalp and hair while infusing it with essential minerals, Olive oil and Shea Butter for naturally moisturized scalp and hair.
Dead Sea Mud contains the highest concentration of minerals found in mud anywhere in the world. Finally the benefits of Dead Sea mud and salt are presented to you in shampoo form. These minerals are all essential for proper skin hydration and help to provide moisture retention. You complete satisfaction is guaranteed.
5. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo for Moderate Dandruff
- 100% Natural, Organic, and preservative-free formula
- Free of Sulfates and Parabens along with other harsh detergents and additives
- Clears out old skin cells from hair and stimulates new hair growth
- Enriched with botanical keratin along with Argan and Jojoba oils
- Contains the purest and most potent ingredients
Formulated for the treatment of mild to moderate dandruff, scalp blemishes, hair loss and head lice.
Maple Holistics contains Tea Tree Oil that contains over 98 all-natural compounds, which works to clear dead skin cells from the hair follicles and combats dandruff (as well as a natural solution for head lice).
Rosemary, works to stimulate the cell renewal of the hair follicles as the tea tree simultaneously clears out the dead ones. By regulating oil secretions and increasing circulation, Rosemary will aid in leaving your hair smooth and refreshed.
Certified Organic Bulgarian lavender used in this formula is the best quality of its kind. Lavender works to heal any blemishes on the scalp and eases the pain of burns and prevents infections (due to its antiseptic and analgesic properties)
Botanical Keratin helps boosts the therapeutic value by providing nourishment that most scalps lack. Frizzy and tangled hair is often a result of lack of keratin, which this ingredient amply replenishes.
Jojoba and Argan oils are renowned for their moisturizing and hair-enhancing capabilities. Gently cleansing, these oils provide a protective coat to “seal the deal” to help enhance volume and sleekness.
Our Tea Tree Oil Shampoo is backed by our 100% money back guarantee.
6. DHS Zinc Shampoo
- Controls symptoms of dandruff and sebhorrheic dermatitis
- Long-lasting effect of soothing and nourishing your scalp and hair
- Gentle healing properties
- Contains 2% of Zinc Pyrithione
DHS Zinc Shampoo is highly recommended for the treatment of dandruff or sebhorrheic dermatitis.
Using the right products, these scalp conditions can be controlled effectively. With the DHS Zinc Shampoo, you receive active ingredients including 2% of Zinc Pyrithione which is proven effective in relieving the symptoms of both dandruff and sebhorrheic dermatitis.
This has a long-lasting effect of soothing and nourishing your scalp and hair, so the comfort that you feel after using the DHS Zinc Shampoo can actually last longer than you think. Comfort is achieved immediately after use and its gentle healing properties will continue when the shampoo is used regularly.
7. JĀSÖN Natural Cosmetics Dandruff Relief Shampoo
- Rosemary, Olive and Jojoba Oil naturally heal the scalp
- Colloidal Sulfur eliminates dry, itchy and flaky scalp
- MSM amplifies the shampoo’s benefits
- Controls Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis
Formulated for the relief and treatment of flaking, scaling and itching associated with Dandruff as well as helping to prevent Seborrheic Dermatitis, Jason Natural Cosmetics Shampoo Dandruff Relief is best used three times a week for optimum results.
The JĀSÖN (which means “healer” in Greek) brand was born of a group of independent thinkers in 1959; drawing on the pioneering spirit that was so much a part of their California heritage and set out on a road of rediscovery. Theirs was a path back to safer, natural ingredients proven to work together in effective ways.
The JĀSÖN team meticulously created products that the body loves, staying true to their Code of Honour, selecting safe, wholesome, natural ingredients, rigorously testing every formula to ensure safety and efficacy, never testing on animals, and constantly innovating and improving.
As each generation has given way to the next, JĀSÖN products have remained on the path forged by the brand’s founders, committed to discovering continual and improved ways to offer personal care solutions safer for us, our families and our planet.
Active Ingredients: Sulfur 2% – Controls Dandruff, Salicylic Acid 2% – Controls Seborrheic Dermatitis. Other Ingredients: Aqua (water, sodium cocoyl isethionate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, stearic acid, potassium cocoyl glutamate, glycerin, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, cetyl alcohol, cocamidopropyl betaine, hydrolyzed wheat protein, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil(1), pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil(1), …
8. Pura D’Or Argan Oil Premium Organic Shampoo
- Controls Flaking, Scaling and Itching
- Soothing, Balancing and Moisturizing
- Advanced Proprietary Herbal Blend
- All natural & botanical ingredients
- No SLS (Sulfates), Parabens, DEA or harsh chemicals
Our naturally organic shampoo for the treatment of dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis is completely free of the harsh chemicals that are a leading cause of many chronic hair conditions in addition to being free from sodium lauryl sulfate, paraben, gluten, artificial colors and artificial preservatives.
Our gentle formula is blended with a base of organic argan oil, tea tree oil, cedarwood oil, nettle extracts, thyme extracts and other clinically proven natural ingredients which contribute to the revitalizing of your scalp, relieving itching and scalp flaking associated with dandruff, psoriasis & seborrheic dermatitis.
It is safe for daily use and is suitable for all hair types.
9. Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Shampoo
- Contains 1% selenium sulfide to provide effective relief for the toughest dandruff
- Maximum strength available without a prescription
- Relieves itchy scalp and removes flakes (associated with dandruff)
- Gentle and pH balanced dandruff shampoo that keeps hair clean, manageable and 100% flake free
- #1 Dermatologist recommended dandruff brand
Clinical Strength Shampoo from Head & Shoulders helps to prevent the recurrence of flaking and itching associated with dandruff.
This medicated shampoo, formulated with selenium sulfide, is clinically proven to address severe dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis skin conditions.
Our Clinical Strength Dandruff Shampoo fights dandruff from the very first wash, helping to prevent itching and redness.
We recommend that you use Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Shampoo at least twice a week for optimum results.
10. Nioxin Scalp Recovery System Kit for a dry, itchy scalp
- Elimination of visible flakes with regular use of complete system
- Kit Contains Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment
- Shampoo & Conditioner 6.76oz
- Treatment 3.38oz
For the treatment of dry, flaking itchy scalp associated with Dandruff, Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
NIOXIN Scalp Recovery System is a 3 part kit containing a combination of products which are all formulated to help eliminate flaking and soothe dry scalp.
Using a formula with an infusion of anti-oxidant rich green tea, the system helps eliminate scalp itching and provides maximum strength. The product also contains moisturizing after-color and perm formulas using a sulfate-free compound.
Kit contains: – Nioxin Scalp Recovery Medicating Cleanser 6..6 oz, Nioxin Scalp Recovery Moisturizing Conditioner 6.76 oz and Nioxin Scalp Recovery Soothing Serum 3.38 oz.
Directions: – Nioxin Scalp Recovery Medicating Cleanser: Apply to wet scalp and hair; lather one minute, then rinse well. Follow with Scalp Recovery Moisturizing Conditioner; leave on hair for 1-3 minutes, then rinse well. Nioxin Scalp Recovery Soothing Serum: Apply daily for best results directly onto entire scalp or affected areas. Gently and evenly distribute, do not rinse. Use at least twice a week or daily for optimum results.
Our Scalp Recovery Kit is specially designed for scalp-related problems including seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, providing moisture balance to dry, itchy scalp skin and dry hair, eliminating irritation and flaking.
The medicating cleanser is an anti-dandruff shampoo with dermatologist-tested active ingredients to cleanse the scalp and reduce hair loss associated with itching.
The moisturizing conditioner is a daily conditioner that helps reduce dandruff, soothing the scalp and providing smoothness and manageability to the hair.
The soothing serum is a soothing, leave-on treatment to help relieve dandruff and scalp itching associated with seborrheic dermatitis, leaving the scalp 100% flake free; can be used daily.