Dermatologists share their go-to products for getting rid of flakes.
From the telltale itchy scalp to white flakes on your dark sweater, there's no doubt about it—dandruff is a pain. The good news: Over-the-counter shampoos can help remedy the chronic skin condition, which affects nearly 50% of people in the United States.
Dandruff has many causes—dry skin, sensitivity to hair products, and a yeast-like fungus are common culprits—so you may need to experiment with a few different products to find the formula that works best for you.
Here, four anti-dandruff shampoos that dermatologists recommend for a smooth, flake-free scalp in no time.
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
"I really like ketoconazole shampoos for their efficacy," says Mona Gohara, MD, a Connecticut-based dermatologist. The ingredient, which you can find in shampoos like Nizoral, helps specifically target fungus.
Head & Shoulders
Head & Shoulders contains zinc pyrithione, which has been found to help kill fungus and bacteria on the scalp, says Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. She recommends using the anti-dandruff shampoo daily at first to combat flakes, then gradually re-introducing your regular shampoo when symptoms subside. (Want to stock up? They're also available in packs of two or more on amazon.com.)
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
Dr. Jaliman also likes Neutrogena's T/Gel Shampoo, which contains flake-fighting coal tar. The brand carries an entire line of anti-dandruff products, including their T/Sal shampoo (with salicylic acid), but coal tar in particular is known for helping slow down shedding of dry skin cells, reducing the appearance of white flakes. One thing to note: Coal tar may darken light hair, so skip this one if you're blond.
Maryland-based dermatologist Geeta Shah, MD is a fan of the DHS brand shampoos, which come in a few varieties that contain different active ingredients like zinc and tar. "These shampoos have a nice formulation," she says. "They lather really well and actually work." As with Neutrogena T/Gel, skip the DHS Tar Shampoo if you have lighter hair; opt for the brand's Clear Shampoo instead.