Dandruff is one of the primary complaints people have about their scalps. Aside from the itching, one of the biggest downsides is that it is hard to conceal. But dandruff goes beyond the annoying white flakes dusted across your shoulders: it can also lead to inflammation and even hair loss. Treating dandruff is necessary for a healthy mane, and one of the key ways to treat it is with an antifungal agent called ketoconazole. Here’s what you need to know about using ketoconazole to treat dandruff.
What Causes Dandruff?
Most people think a dry scalp causes dandruff. But, surprisingly, this is not the case. Instead, dandruff is usually due to excess oil production in the skin. Too much oil causes a build-up of skin cells, which eventually shed.
The primary cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis, a condition where the skin turns oily, red, and scaly. You can determine if you have this condition by the color of the flakes. Often, they are yellow or white scales that flake off and feel oily when rubbed between the fingers. Seborrheic dermatitis can show up anywhere you have oil (or sebaceous) glands, such as the eyebrows, armpits, or the pubic region.
Malassezia is often the culprit behind dandruff. This fungus naturally occurs on the scalp, but it can grow out of control, leading to those embarrassing flakes. Your age, hormones, stress levels, and hair hygiene practices can all lead to dandruff.
What Is Ketoconazole?
Ketoconazole is a topical antifungal medication that targets fungal growth on the skin. This medication can be available over-the-counter and is also prescribed by doctors. Aside from treating dandruff, it helps treat other fungal skin infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, tinea versicolor, and jock itch.
When it is in a shampoo, it treats fungal infections with every wash. Most people can use the strength of the antifungal found in most over-the-counter shampoos. However, in severe cases, a doctor may need to prescribe a stronger dose of ketoconazole to combat dandruff or any flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis.
What Conditions Can Ketoconazole Shampoo Treat?
Along with dandruff, ketoconazole can also help treat other skin infections that may be caused by or worsened by Malassezia, including:
- Tinea infections (like tinea capitis and tinea versicolor)
- Hair loss from conditions like androgenic alopecia
At the root of all of the above conditions is an underlying source of inflammation. When the scalp becomes inflamed, it can cause the hair to become unhealthy and even lead to hair loss. Treating fungal overgrowth can also reduce inflammation.
Another surprising role of ketoconazole is that it blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the scalp. Thus, for people suffering from male or female pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia), shampoos containing ketoconazole can help suppress further hair loss from this frustrating condition.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Most people do not have any unpleasant side effects associated with the use of topical over-the-counter ketoconazole. However, some individuals with sensitive skin may have some skin irritation that causes pimple-like bumps to form on the scalp. Others may experience a drier scalp, and it may also change the texture of your hair if it has been permed or colored.
With that said, most reactions occur in people using shampoos that contain several other ingredients that may cause scalp irritation. Therefore, when it comes to treating dandruff, it is best to shop around for a product where every ingredient serves a purpose and is hand-selected by a team of dermatologists and scientists to better your scalp and hair health.
Using Ketoconazole Shampoo
One of the best ways to combat dandruff is to use a shampoo with ketoconazole in it. We know that not washing your hair enough can lead to dandruff, so it pays to increase your hair washing while using a product that also fights the underlying problem.
One of the best things you can do is pick a shampoo that is thoughtfully made. The Revita and Revita.CBD shampoos from DS Laboratories have the right amount of ketoconazole to fight fungal infections that cause dandruff and combat hair loss due to DHT sensitivity. Ketoconazole blocks the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which inhibits your ability to convert testosterone to DHT. By curbing DHT levels in the scalp, you can prevent common issues that lead to hair loss like follicular fibrosis.
Aside from ketoconazole, the Revita line also contains:
- Apple extract
- TriCopper peptides
- Rooibos tea
To get the most out of your Revita or Revita.CBD shampoo, wash your hair daily or every other day (depending on your hair type). Ideally, you will want to use this shampoo 5 times a week.
After a thorough rinse in the water, work the shampoo all over your scalp with your fingertips. Allow the shampoo to sit for two minutes after massaging so that the ingredients can penetrate the scalp. Rinse your hair with warm water instead of hot water, which can aggravate your scalp and further dry out your skin. Follow up with the Revita or Revita.CBD conditioner to give your hair and scalp the hydration it needs.
For people who struggle with severe dandruff that does not improve with medicated shampoos with ketoconazole, it is necessary to see your dermatologist to make sure you have an accurate diagnosis and treat the problem correctly.