It’s getting to be that time of year when we might not mind seeing some white flakes drifting around…as long as they aren’t the kind that drift down on to our black sport coat, navy sweater, or any other dark clothing that serves as a flashing sign that says “Look world! I have dandruff!”
So, What Is Dandruff Anyway?
The simple answer: dead skin that flakes off your scalp. The more complicated version of the answer is that Seborrheic dermatitis, as dandruff is known scientically, can happen any time of year and for any number of reasons. If we take a deeper, more scientific dive, we learn that there is a microbe present on everyone’s scalp called Malassezia globosa. It turns out that fully half of us humans are sensitive to it. As the microbe breaks down the sebum hidden on your noggin, it produces oleic acid, which an irritate your scalp and start a chain reaction of bad things that results in your friends brushing off your clothes. (For a more in-depth — and partly animated — explanation, check out this video from Head & Shoulders featuring science vlogger Derek Muller, of the Veritasium vlog. It get into genetics, treatment…and how we share dandruff with the dinosaurs!)
If you’re a man experiencing the horror of dandruff, don’t fret. There are shampoos designed to treat dandruff for just about every type of itchy head, utilizing chemicals that help fight back the conditions leading to an itchy scalp and a personal blizzard. Here we’ve gathered a selection of products that are easily available over the counter, for you to look calm, cool, and flake-free.
Best Dandruff Shampoos
If you’re already an American Crew fan for their styling products, shaving and beard care range, or even fragrances, it’s great to know that they have a great dandruff shampoo, too. Besides addressing the problem at its (ahem) roots, the shampoo also enhances hair strength, repairs damage, adds volume, and packs a one-two punch in that it also conditions hair with each use.
This rich and potent anti-dandruff shampoo is the latest addition to the Swedish brand Recipe For Men. Its winning ingredient, piroctone olamine, is an anti-fungal agent that fights the yeast that actually makes dandruff atop that head of yours. Add to that an exhilarating tingly peppermint oil that cools and soothes the scalp and you have a head that looks as good as it feels. For extra relief, follow up with their Anti-Dandruff Cooling Tonic.
Another shampoo with piroctone olamine, which works in tandem with climbazole — an anti-fungal agent for dandruff and eczema — this option from Sachajuan removes dandruff with ease. That’s not all when it comes to scalp health either. Rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acid, and ginger extract soothe irritated, rubescent scalp to help maintain a healthy moisture balance. After washing, use a conditioner to hydrate, smooth, or add thickness to hair.
We can go no further without mentioning the granddaddy of all dandruff shampoos, Head & Shoulders. The product first launched in 1961 and has been saving reputations ever since. Now a full suite of products for both men and women, you can find Head & Shoulders in various combinations and fragrances, including collabs with another iconic men’s brand, Old Spice. Of course, because we know you like to save time in the morning, we like this 2-in-1 product that includes, of course, dandruff-tackling ingredients, as well as conditioner.
Another of the OG dandruff treatments that still competes with the new guys, T/Gel tingles and smells medicinal, but in a good way! The scent of this extra-strength formula says, “I’m not here for games, I’m here to work.” Coal tar, the star ingredient in this molasses-hued head wash is shown to control a flaky, itchy scalp hours after it’s been rinsed out, which means those are hours you can go without being worried about flakes falling. It’s also the number one dandruff shampoo recommended by dermatologists. Guys, if you’re looking for a bang for your buck, you found it.
Yes, there are a lot of great dandruff shampoos out there, but sometimes you have to break out the big guns. This detoxifying, purifying shampoo from Davines fights microbial attacks and dandruff with selenium sulfide and dandelion root, establishing the optimal environment for hair growth. For an intense treatment, lather up and leave on for a few minutes two times a week for three weeks. After that, to keep that healthy scalp healthy, use once a week and follow with a good conditioning treatment.
With a name like First Botany, of course, the company is dedicated to natural and healthy skin care. This shampoo soothes and treats the scalp while taking advantage of tee tree oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties. Plus, the fresh scent will make shampoo-time into spa-time. Great for all hair types, First Botany removes excess buildup, while it strengthens, and supports natural hair growth.
Another way to battle dandruff is to make sure you use a great conditioner. Check out our selection of the best conditioners right here.