Selsun Blue vs. Head & Shoulders vs. Nizoral: Best Dandruff Shampoo
Many people suffer from dandruff. In some cases it's caused by dry scalp, but chronic dandruff is caused by a fungal growth. If you've ever had athlete's foot, the same kind of sweaty and oily environment can be a feeding ground for dandruff-causing fungus. Fortunately, it's easy to go to the drug store and pick up an over-the-counter shampoo. The two most commonly used dandruff shampoos are Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue. While these shampoos work for light to moderate dandruff, though, they do not do well for severe flaking.
Those who suffer from severe dandruff need something more. The active ingredients in these common shampoos are not enough to deal with fungal growth. It may sound gross that a fungus is growing on your scalp, but dandruff is a condition that can seriously impact self esteem.
Head & Shoulders
Head & Shoulders is probably the most recognized dandruff treatment on the market. When I first had dandruff, it did an okay job controlling the flakes, but as some of you may know, it doesn't always work. Sometimes, it would work and then completely stop working, as if the fungus develops an immunity to the treatment. Head & Shoulders only seem to work for people with light dandruff. Using it is fairly pleasant. It has a distinct but light odor. It lathers moderately well too.
Selsun Blue is the more serious version of Head & Shoulders. Everything about it is more intense. If you had a severe dandruff outbreak and used it for the first time, you would feel it sting your scalp. It's a strange sensation. The smell is also very strong and "medicinal." It lathers on strong and feels very heavy. The odor can linger after rinsin, even if you've rinsed thoroughly. It may be a good idea to apply a conditioner after using it to mask the strong odor.
Pyrithione Zinc vs. Selenium Sulfide?
The active ingredient in Head & Shoulders is pyrithione zinc. Pyrithione zinc is an anti-fungal ingredient that treats mild dandruff well. If you've never had dandruff before, using pyrithione zinc is an easy and cost-effective way to control dandruff.
Selsun Blue's active ingredient is selenium sulfide. Selsun Blue have been acclaimed for being more effective than Head & Shoulders in treating flakes and ranks second in the treatment of dandruff. First time users will be overwhelmed by the strong scent but will be happy with the results compared to Head & Shoulders. If you have moderate dandruff, Selsun Blue may be right for you. It's is available over the counter with 1% pyrithione zinc or with a prescription increasing the strength to 2.5%.
Nizoral is currently the best treatment for chronic dandruff. Not surprisingly, it is also the most expensive. A small bottle can cost over $15. Nizoral not only works great, it is also the most discreet. When you buy it, it looks very generic as not many people know about it. This can save you some embarrassment in the checkout line. It also lathers the best out of the three. It lathers strong and smells like a regular shampoo. It has a very light feel and the smell is very pleasant. It doesn't linger too long either, so no one will know you are using it. It doesn't have the "medicinal" feel of Selsun Blue yet it is the strongest dandruff shampoo you can purchase over-the-counter. It was originally a prescription shampoo having 2% ketoconazole as the active ingredient while the over-the-counter is 1%.
Ketoconazole is the King
Dandruff is a common condition that is seemingly minor compared to other health problems. Unlike others, though, dandruff can affect other aspects of your life. Especially your social life. If you have chronic dandruff, you may be shy to go out or hide under a hat.
At the moment, there is no cure for dandruff. There are only treatments. There are speculations that in 5 to 10 years there will be a cure. Some people including myself believe a cure already exists, but is kept secret to protect the industry. Why cure it when it can be treated for years?
While over-the-counter ketoconazole is the best treatment for dandruff, it is important to follow other habits to control your flaking:
- Do not wear a hat. Hats trap moisture and sweat. Fungi thrive in damp and dark places. What better place to grow than under a sweaty baseball cap?
- Go out in the sun. Shed some stimulating light on your scalp.
- Eat your vitamins. Fungus seem to grow poorly in zinc-enriched diets. This means eat your avocados and oysters.
- Also, throw away your pillows and change them regularly. They are fairly cheap and having dandruff-ridden pillows can mean regression after a long period without flaking.
Another noteworthy mention is hair loss. Some studies have suggested that ketoconazole helps in the treatment of hair loss. The benefits even rival the popular hair-loss product, Rogaine.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.