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Dandruff (cont.)

Dandruff Treatment

Self-Care at Home

Proper home care often includes daily scalp shampooing with over-the-counter cleansers. The best shampoos for heavy adult dandruff include:

  • ketoconazole (Nizoral Shampoo)


  • Head and Shoulders Shampoo


  • selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue Shampoo)


All affected areas including the scalp, ears, face, and chest should also be washed with the therapeutic shampoo.

People who shampoo less often (once or twice a week) are usually much more prone to dandruff. Simply increasing shampooing frequency often helps clear mild dandruff. Getting rid of dandruff permanently is not possible.

Skin inflammation may be treated with topical applications of mild over-the-counter cortisone creams or lotions like hydrocortisone 1% or Cortaid over two to four weeks. Apply the cortisone cream sparingly one to three times a day to the affected skin areas to help decrease inflammation. Home remedies include:

  • Hydrocortisone 1% cream or lotion


  • Cortaid cream


For face and ear dandruff, washing the areas with a medicated shampoo such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) may be very helpful. Avoid oily or heavily oiled hair and skin products. Avoid closely fitted hats, caps, head wraps, or helmets.

Eyelid dandruff may be treated with gentle daily applications of special baby shampoo. Typically, Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo is most commonly recommended by many dermatologists and ophthalmologists. A cotton tip applicator (Q- tip) may be used to clean the lash margin while avoiding getting the shampoo directly into the eyes.

"Cradle cap" in babies may be treated with more frequent scalp washing using Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo. For really thick, stuck-on scalp flakes, a small soft toothbrush dipped in warm olive oil can be used to very gently massage away some of the flakes daily or every other day. Care should be taken not to scrub or aggressively rub the fragile scalp skin. A pediatrician or dermatologist may be very important in the guidance of care for infants.

For those desiring natural or holistic types of treatments, white vinegar (it has natural cleansing properties) may be used to clean the scalp and facial skin. While this may not take the place of other more effective therapies, it can be helpful to use a dilute (one part white vinegar to three or four parts water) solution once a day or two to three times a week to clean the scalp.

Since dandruff tends to be chronic, the person should not expect an overnight cure or quick response. Dandruff control may require long-term skin and hair care for best results.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Seborrheic Dermatitis »

Seborrheic dermatitis is a papulosquamous disorder patterned on the sebum-rich areas of the scalp, face, and trunk.

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