Stop the Flakes With This Guide to Dandruff Treatment

For anyone dealing with dandruff, the constant itching and visible flaking can be incredibly uncomfortable. Some may even feel a sense of self-consciousness because of these  effects, especially when those tell-tale flakes make their appearance. Because of this, people are always on the lookout for a dandruff treatment that can solve their problems once and for all.


Dandruff is caused by several factors, such as dry skin, sensitivity to shampoos and other products that are applied on the scalp, and seborrheic dermatitis. However, the primary root cause is a microbe called malassezia globosa, which can be found on everyone’s scalp. Although it is naturally occurring, it only causes dandruff for approximately 50% of people. Malassezia globosa causes dandruff because it feeds on sebum, the oils that the body naturally produces to keep the scalp and hair moisturized. When malassezia globosa breaks down sebum, oleic acid is produced. Some people react to oleic acid, causing them to scratch. This irritates the scalp, making it even more itchy and inflamed. The body then attempts to shed skin cells as a response, causing visible flakes on the scalp that eventually fall around the hair and shoulders. 


Because dandruff is a result of a naturally occurring microbe, it is difficult to fully cure or even manage. However, there are some ways to mitigate the production of dry and flaky skin on your scalp. 

What Are Dandruff Treatments?

Dandruff treatments can take many forms, but they are most commonly substances that are applied to the scalp to manage the production of sebum. This lowers the levels of oleic acid on the scalp, and the need to scratch. 

The degree of treatments depends on the degree of dandruff production on a patient’s scalp. While there are many home remedies that have been rumored to help manage dandruff, you should always consult with a medical professional first, especially for cases of severe dandruff. If you or anyone you know is seeking expert medical advice in managing dandruff and other health issues, our doctors are well trained and highly equipped to address any concerns you may have. 

Dandruff Shampoos?

Dandruff shampoos are one of the most popular types of anti dandruff treatment because they are applied directly onto the scalp and can be easily integrated into a patient’s personal care and hygiene routine. While there are over the counter options for dandruff shampoo, some cases require prescriptions, especially for anti-dandruff shampoos that have stronger formulations. Different types of dandruff shampoos have different effects on the scalp. Each formulation has its own way of managing the visibility of dandruff flakes and other negative effects of dandruff. Some of the most common formulations of dandruff shampoo include the following:

  • Pyrithione zinc shampoos – Pyrithione zinc shampoos contain zinc pyrithione, which is an antifungal and antibacterial agent. 
  • Tar-based shampoos – Tar-based shampoos target the rate at which skin cells on the scalp flake off and shed. These types of shampoos may make a patient’s scalp more sensitive to sunlight, and can sometimes cause discoloration for patients with light-colored hair. 
  • Shampoos containing salicylic acid – Salicylic acid is an active ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos that may help eliminate scaling in a patient’s scalp.
  • Selenium sulfide shampoos – Selenium sulfide is an antifungal agent that targets the root cause of most dandruff cases. These shampoos must be used according to the directions and rinsed well after the proper application, as they can sometimes cause discoloration in the hair and scalp. 
  • Ketoconazole shampoos – Ketoconazole shampoos are formulated to target malassezia, reducing the production of oleic acid that causes irritation on the scalp.
  • Fluocinolone shampoos  – Fluocinolone shampoos aim to help manage flaking, itching, and irritation with the help of a corticosteroid.

Some doctors may recommend a combination or alternation of different dandruff shampoos to balance effectiveness. Some shampoos are recommended for more severe cases of dandruff, while some over-the-counter options can suffice for mild cases. To learn where you can approach a doctor for expert advice on solutions for dandruff, you may check our FAQ.

woman checking if she needs dandruff treatment

Home Treatments for Dandruff

While specialized medical treatment for dandruff will always be the most effective, there are also some available options for dandruff treatment at home. Some of the most commonly mentioned home treatments include the following: 

  • Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil has been known to be effective in treating other skin ailments, such as psoriasis and acne. With both anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, tea tree oil can be helpful in managing symptoms of dandruff as well as fighting malassezia globosa which is the root cause of dandruff. 
  • Coconut Oil – With its wide range of health benefits, coconut oil has also been known to be helpful in managing dandruff. Its powerful skin hydration properties can be incredibly effective in preventing the dryness that further aggravates dandruff symptoms. Coconut oil can also act as a hydrating layer to prevent skin from further dryness and inflammation.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Currently, there is no scientific proof that apple cider vinegar helps with treating dandruff, and most evidence is only anecdotal at this point. However, its acidic properties have also been said to help balance pH levels on the scalp to manage the growth of dandruff-causing fungus. 


When to See a Doctor for Dandruff Treatment

You should always talk to a qualified healthcare provider first to help manage symptoms of dandruff and other skin issues. For cases of severe dandruff that manifest in scalp issues such as inflammation, redness, crusting, and pain, it may be time to seek medical help. This way, you can be prescribed topical medication or shampoo to help address issues. While it may be difficult to fully cure dandruff, approaching a doctor for the earliest possible treatment is the first step to eliminating uncomfortable itching and visible flakiness. For pointers on how to seek treatment from the comfort of your own home, learn how EVA works today. 

How EVA Teleconsult Can Help with Dandruff Treatment

EVA Teleconsult is prepared to assist patients with almost any dermatological concern, including dandruff treatment. That’s because, with us, our patients can always expect the following:

  • Timely appointments – No more time wasted while waiting outside a doctor’s office. With us, appointments begin right when they’re supposed to, even if they’re made the same day.
  • Guaranteed 30-minute consultation times – No more rushing or quickly dashed off prescriptions with no explanations. Our doctors take the time needed to give you information about your concerns, and are open to answering all your questions.
  • 5-star ratings for our doctors – Because our doctors know to explain things in a way patients can understand, we frequently get positive feedback from them.

Get started on getting the treatment you or your loved one need, and book an online consultation today.

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