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What are the treatment options for dandruff?

Medicated shampoos containing coal tar (Ionil T, T/Gel, Pentrax), salicylic acid (X-Seb T Plus, Meted), selenium (Selsun Blue), zinc (Head & Shoulders, ZNP) or sulfur (Sebulex) can help control dandruff. For best results, buy two or three types and alternate them. Prescription shampoos and topical steroid medications may be necessary in difficult-to-treat cases.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are various treatments for dandruff, including both prescription and non-prescription products. Dandruff in infants, known as "cradle cap," usually clears up with the use of a mild shampoo, but you may speed up the process by applying warm mineral oil to the scalp and gently brushing the area.

In children and adults, for mild dandruff on the scalp, eyebrows, or beard area, using a dandruff shampoo may be all that you need to treat the problem. The active ingredients in these shampoos all work to varying degrees; it may be worthwhile to try out a few shampoos to see which works best for you.  Dandruff around a beard or moustache can often be improved simply by shaving the area.

Dandruff on the body can be treated by exposing the skin to moderate amounts of sunlight, which is thought to reduce the population of dandruff-inducing yeast in the area. For more severe dandruff that doesn't respond to over-the-counter products, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications containing corticosteroids.
Donnica Moore, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

If you're bothered by dandruff, you may be able to skip the medicated shampoo and make your own flake-foiling treatment using a product that's likely on your kitchen shelf. Find out what it is and how to use it to treat dandruff by watching this video featuring women's health expert Dr. Donnica Moore.


Mild cases of dandruff do not generally require medical evaluation. These cases can usually be managed effectively by cleaning the affected area on a daily basis with a mild shampoo. If this proves insufficient, there are a variety of over-the-counter treatment options that can be tried. More severe forms of dandruff, particularly when associated with other symptoms, should be treated by a qualified healthcare professional and may require prescription medication.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.