When it comes to hair care, a healthy scalp is the foundation for strong, beautiful hair. Unfortunately, many people struggle with the common scalp condition known as dandruff. The good news is that there is a potent solution readily available – anti-dandruff shampoo. In this article, we will delve into the world of anti-dandruff shampoo, exploring its benefits, how to choose the right one, how it can help hair loss, and tips for a dandruff-free scalp with healthy hair.
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What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a chronic scalp condition characterized by the flaking of dead skin cells. It often leads to itching, irritation, and visible flakes on your hair and shoulders. While dandruff is a common issue, it can be a source of frustration and embarrassment for many.
The Role of Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Anti-dandruff shampoo is a specialized hair care product designed to combat the root causes of dandruff. These shampoos typically contain active ingredients that target the overgrowth of the yeast, Malassezia, on the scalp. Malassezia feeds off the oil on one’s scalp and chronic infection causes inflammation that manifests in the form of dandruff. By targeting the yeast, anti-dandruff shampoos effectively reduce flaking and soothe irritated skin.
Key Ingredients for Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
When selecting an anti-dandruff shampoo, it’s essential to look for specific key ingredients that have proven anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Some common ingredients to watch for include:
- Zinc Pyrithione: Known for its ability to control Malassezia growth and reduce flaking.
- Selenium Sulfide: Effective in slowing down the growth of the fungus.
- Ketoconazole: A potent anti-fungal agent that targets the root cause of dandruff.
- Salicylic Acid: Helps exfoliate dead skin cells and reduce scalp inflammation.
- Other Ingredients: Piroctone Olamine, Ciclopirox which are antifungal; sulfur and coal tar may also be incorporated.
Consider your hair type and any other hair care concerns when choosing an anti-dandruff shampoo. There are options formulated for different hair types, including oily, dry, curly, or color-treated hair. Some anti-dandruff shampoos are gentle enough for daily use, while others are intended for occasional use or as a part of your regular hair care routine. Consistency is key when using anti-dandruff shampoo. Follow the product instructions, and use it regularly to achieve the best results. Results may not be immediate, so be patient and allow time for the shampoo to take effect. If your symptoms do not improve with an over the counter anti-dandruff shampoo, promptly seek the care of a dermatologist who will evaluate the cause of scalp flaking and prescribe medicated lotions and shampoos to stop the scalp inflammation.
Science of Hair Loss & Dandruff Explained
Two of the commonest scalp concerns in Singapore are hair fall and dandruff. Are these two related? According to board-certified dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, chief scientific officer of Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, the two are separate conditions but may coexist.
Anti-dandruff shampoos must treat the scalp with anti-fungal activity
“Dandruff is the layperson term for seborrheic dermatitis, a condition caused by a yeast known as malessezia furfur, which colonises healthy skin and scalp. However, excess oil production and humid climates like summer weather can stimulate overgrowth of the yeast population. This leads to a state of low grade scalp inflammation, resulting in flaking and symptoms such as itch and sensitivity.”
The best anti-dandruff shampoos possess the following features:
- Gentle on the scalp, non-irritating for those with sensitive skin
- Medicated actives such as zinc pyrithone, salicylic acid preferred over ketoconazole which can induce resistance
- Selenium sulphide, tar shampoos are cosmetically unappealing with odour and residue
The Dr.TWL 3-in-1 Hair Spa and Deep Cleanse Shampoo are ideally formulated with medicated actives such as zinc pyrithone and salicylic acid respectively, that treat the scalp microbiome while rebalancing oil with a gentle amino acid surfactant base.
How does dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis lead to hair loss?
“Hair loss is a state that results from an imbalance of hair regrowth and natural hair fall which occurs as part of a healthy hair cycle. Simply understood, the growth phase is known as anagen, while the shedding phase telogen effluvium. The latter is also commonly associated with post-partum hair loss, hair fall post viral illnesses etc.”
Seborrheic dermatitis alters the hair cycle, due to its impact on the rate of scalp shedding. Accelerated shedding of dead skin cells results in an imbalanced state whereby dandruff flakes are observed. Under the scalp though, are changes related to inflammation—all that disturbs the natural hair cycle and can cause increased hair fall.
The best anti-dandruff shampoo that also combats hair loss—the 3-in-1 formula boasts the ability to treat excess oil production from its roots, regulate sebum, reduce fungal activity, soothe inflammation and stimulate hair growth
- Sebum regulation
- Anti-fungal activity
- Soothe inflammation and sensitivity
- Stimulate hair growth with copper tripeptide
- Nourish hair shaft for deep conditioning and repair
The Link Between Sebum Production, Dandruff and Hair Loss
While the three may seem disparate, there is actually an interdependence of states within the scalp ecosystem. The microbiome which is the balance of good and bad germs, including fungi like Malessezie furfur is responsible for the health of the scalp. Excess oil production can occur at puberty, due to the surge in the male hormone testosterone. Harsh deep cleansing anti-dandruff shampoos can strip scalp dry—leading to a state of dysregulation. Scalp, like skin, begins to overcompensate by producing even more oil. This is what we know as paradoxical hyperseborrhea which occurs both in scalp and skin.
Dandruff, known by its medical name seborrheic dermatitis, is really a condition that involves both oily and flaky states—-hence, “seborrhea” and “dermatitis”. Oily and dry/flaky states may seem conflicting, but that is precisely what it is—a state of dysregulation.
Finally, hair fall which we mentioned earlier as linked to the hair cycle occurs inevitably because there is now an imbalance between the hair growth and the hair shedding phase.
Choosing the Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Singapore beauty pharmacy Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, headed by chief scientific officer Dr Teo Wan Lin is founded on the key principles of dermatologic therapeutics. It offers a selection of cosmeceuticals targeting hair, scalp and skin for universal skin types.
The Problem With Traditional Anti-Dandruff Shampoos
Anti-dandruff shampoos traditionally prescribed by dermatologists contain coal tar, selenium sulphide and anti-fungal ingredients such as ketoconazole. Tar and selenium have strong odours which can put users off and affect compliance. In addition, these have a potent astringent effect which also affects the scalp barrier function. Much like skin, the scalp barrier has an important role to play—as it is also home to millions of microbes, forming the microbiome that plays host to a healthy scalp ecosystem.
Ketoconazole is considered a broad spectrum anti-fungal which indiscriminately targets good and bad yeast and fungal organisms. While in severe cases, it can be used successfully in the short to medium term, zinc pyrithone is likely a safer, healthier alternative that rebalances the scalp microclimate without drying effects that harm the scalp barrier function.
The Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for the Whole Family
The Hair Spa by Dr.TWL Pharmacy is a range we develop for those with sensitive scalps, dandruff and hair fall concerns. It is gentle enough for use with children, breast-feeding mothers and adults who suffer from dandruff and hair fall. Copper tripeptide and a comprehensive amino acid formula stimulates growth of hair and strengthens from the inside out.
More Tips for Healthy Scalp and Hair
Proper Hair Hygiene is important. Therefore, other than regular use of a gentle and suitable anti-dandruff shampoo, do condition your hair to keep your scalp clean and free from excess oil and dead skin cells. Maintain a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including zinc and B vitamins, to promote a healthy scalp. Stress can cause inflammation, so incorporating stress management or stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine can help reduce the risk of dandruff. Finally, do limit heat styling as excessive use of hot styling tools can dry out the scalp, so use them sparingly.