Dandruff Treatment

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Various treatments are available to treat dandruff, depending on the severity of the condition. Dandruff can often be treated by using a shampoo that contains certain chemicals but sometimes an antifungal or steroid treatment may be required.


A doctor usually diagnoses dandruff based on redness and scaling of the scalp. In order to diagnose dandruff, a doctor needs to rule out other conditions that present with similar symptoms such as eczema and psoriasis. In order to test for fungal infection, a sample of flaky skin from the scalp may be sent to the laboratory for analysis, although this is rarely required.

Treatment of dandruff

Self care

Some self-care measures can be taken to help keep mild cases of dandruff under control. Washing the hair daily with a mild shampoo, especially those containing tea tree oil, can help correct mild cases. Although a scalp that is affected by dandruff can be itchy, scratching should be avoided and shampoo should only ever be gently applied to the scalp. Until the dandruff has cleared, the use of hair products such as hairspray and gel should be avoided. Exposure to sunlight can also help correct dandruff to a certain extent.

Anti-dandruff shampoos

The main treatment approach to dandruff involves the use of anti-dandruff shampoo. Various shampoos are available over-the-counter that have different mechanisms of action. Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione kill Malassezia fungi; salicylic acid helps to soften and shed dead skin cells; and selenium sulfide slows the production of skin cells as well as killing the fungi.

Some of the most effective shampoos contains an antifungal agent called ketoconazole. Coal tar is another effective ingredient used to treat dandruff, psoriasis and dermatitis of the scalp. The substance relieves itching and also normalizes the skin structure by slowing down skin cell production

Many anti-dandruff shampoos need to be applied daily or every other day, while ketoconazole shampoos should be used twice a week. Once symptoms improve, the shampoos may be used less often.


In cases where the shampoo fails to resolve the dandruff, a steroid cream or ointment may be prescribed. The patient may also be prescribed an antifungal agent to use in combination with the steroid cream.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 17, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 17). Dandruff Treatment. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 28, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dandruff-Treatment.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Dandruff Treatment". News-Medical. 28 May 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dandruff-Treatment.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Dandruff Treatment". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dandruff-Treatment.aspx. (accessed May 28, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Dandruff Treatment. News-Medical, viewed 28 May 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dandruff-Treatment.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.