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How Can You Get Rid of Dandruff?

Learn what causes dandruff and how you can control your flakes.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
February 17, 2011

Page 2 of 2

How Can You Treat Dandruff?

It can be highly frustrating, but unfortunately there is simply no cure for dandruff.  Like diabetes, asthma, and other medical conditions, it’s something that many patients may battle their entire lives.  Though there’s no cure, there are several ways in which people can learn to keep their flakes in check:

Shampoos: Various over-the-counter shampoos that you leave on the scalp for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes have been shown to improve dandruff.  These shampoos typically include one of these three active ingredients:  selenium sulfide, tar, or zinc pyrithione.  These shampoos really need to be used for at least four to eight weeks before you can expect to see a significant difference.  Initially, you should use the shampoo daily until symptoms improve, and then use it every other day.  If there is no difference after four to eight weeks, you should then switch to a shampoo with a different active ingredient.

Steroid Creams: If your dandruff is itchy, using an anti-inflammatory product to decrease the inflammation can help calm down the process.  There are various potencies and concentrations of the prescription steroid creams, and your doctor will select the one that is most suited for you based on your symptoms and your exam.  The least potent is an over-the-counter cream called hydrocortisone 1% cream.  These creams often work best when the dandruff is on the body, but there are preparations that can be used on the scalp as well.  Again, initially they may need to be used daily, but then gradually decreased with time.  Long-term chronic use of steroid creams--unlike the previously mentioned shampoos--are not recommend because of possible thinning of the skin as a side effect.

Antifungal Treatments: An over-the-counter shampoo with the anti-fungal ingredient called ketoconazole can be applied as a shampoo, and even as a lotion to parts of the body that are affected.  Again, you really need to allow at least four to eight weeks of treatment before seeing any improvement.  There is also a stronger prescription version of the same product.

Combos: If you have severe symptoms, it may be worthwhile to treat your dandruff with a combination of the previously mentioned treatments. Don’t forget to join the GirlfriendMD Facebook page!

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only.  This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider.  Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

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Dandruff image courtesy of Shutterstock

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