1. You MUST use dandruff shampoo and dandruff conditioner together.
AsRyan Trygstadexplained, “Many clients think they can get away with using the dandruff shampoo and their own conditioner, but this defeats the entire purpose.” Using many of the regular, non-dandruff conditioners will render the active ingredient in dandruff shampoo, pyrithione zinc, ineffective. Instead, the best way to keep dandruff away is to use a dandruff shampoo and its recommended complimentary conditioner.
2. Dandruff is caused by a fungus – and Pyrithione zinc-based shampoos/conditioners need to be used 2-3 times a week perpetually to keep it away.
For years, dermatologists and other skin experts believed that dandruff was caused by a dry, flaking scalp. However, since 1999, it has been established that the origin of dandruff has been found to be a yeast (fungus) calledM. furfur. To keep M. furfur at bay, the experts interviewed recommended using a pyrithone zinc-based formula, like Head & Shoulders, 2-3 times a week on an ongoing basis. As for those of us who are addicted to our luxury shampoos and conditioners, the experts said it may be permissable to use theHead & Shoulders until symptoms improve, and then return to our chosen formulas.
3. Some products, like Head & Shoulders, are constantly being re-formulated to fight stronger strains of M. furfur (the yeast that causes dandruff).
One of my biggest questions for the experts was about the increased resistance of yeast over time: If you use pyrithone zinc-based formulas 2-3 times per week against a given strain of yeast, doesn’t the strain become resistant, eventually rendering your dandruff shampoo/conditioner ineffective? But as the experts informed me, Procter & Gamble invests millions of dollars per year in anti-dandruff research alone, and has continuously reformulates theirHead & Shoulders formula over the past ten years to protect against increasing resistances of M. furfur. (Sort-of like getting a new flu shot every year…pretty neat). So while other companies may or may not follow similar reformulation strategies, it is pretty much a safe bet to always go withHead & Shoulders when you are noticing those unsightly white flakes.
4. Rinsing is the most important part of using an anti-dandruff shampoo or conditioner.
AsDr. Marta Rendon, M.D. explained to me, most patients think that the application of product is the most important part of the anti-dandruff treatment process. However, it is when you rinse that the zinc molecules are able to lay flat on the scalp, providing an even layer of treatment. As such, it is vital that you rinse your hair well after using an anti-dandruff shampoo or conditioner.
5. All pyrithione zinc is not created equal.
As the experts explained to me, many anti-dandruff formulas will have their pyrithione zinc in droplets, while Procter & Gamble has developed theirHead & Shoulders to have larger molecules that cover larger surface area. While the data has not been released to the public, the experts claim that this results in greater efficacy in a shorter amount of time.
First, before I go further, I want to address that while I was not remunerated in any way for the interview, the experts I interviewed were speaking on behalf of Head & Shoulders. However, despite the experts’ association with the product, I found their insights to be both scientifically proven and largely unbiased. Overall, I think that these little-known facts about dandruff treatment are fascinating – and I know that I will recommendHead & Shoulders to my patients with dandruff someday!