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Anti-Dandruff Shampoos: 7 Ingredients To Have & Avoid

So many of us strive for healthy hair that is smooth and bouncy. It is a sign of health and beauty, and also gives you confidence in your appearance. But seeing flakes and dandruff on your shoulders? That can be an instant confidence killer.

Fortunately, you don’t have to hide in shame for long because of your dandruff. With a good shampoo, containing the right ingredients, you can keep your dandruff in check.

In this article, we’ll share seven essential ingredients to look for in anti-dandruff shampoos and what to avoid.

Understanding The Causes Of Dandruff

Before we dive into the essential ingredients for anti-dandruff shampoo in Singapore, let’s first look at what causes dandruff.

Dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia. This fungus feeds on the natural oils produced by your scalp and produces an excess of dead skin cells. The dead skin cells accumulate on the scalp and begin to flake off, causing dandruff.

Several factors can contribute to the growth of Malassezia. These include:

  • skin irritation
  • dryness
  • poor hygiene
  • certain medical conditions


It’s important to identify the underlying cause of your dandruff in order to choose the most effective treatment. Now that we understand the causes of dandruff, let’s discuss the essential ingredients for anti-dandruff shampoos.

Anti-dandruff Shampoos: What You Should Really Be Looking Out For

Anti-dandruff shampoos are one way to get rid of flakes and restore the health of your scalp. They contain one or more active ingredients that work to exfoliate your scaly and dry scalp, reduce the growth of fungus and inflammation, and prevent new dandruff from growing.

When looking for an anti-dandruff shampoo, it’s critical to consider the ingredients. Most anti-dandruff shampoos commonly contain:

  • zinc pyrithione
  • ketoconazole
  • selenium sulphide
  • salicylic acid


Each of these ingredients has different properties that can help reduce dandruff and promote scalp health. But when looking for a good anti-dandruff shampoo that actually works, these are the ingredients you should be looking out for.



How to use it?

Salicylic acid

– Exfoliates clogged hair follicles

– Dissolves dead skin cells and fungi on the scalp

– Increases moisture

– Anti-inflammatory

– Anti-fungal

– Use salicylic acid shampoos with the lowest concentration first

– Then, build up to higher concentrations over time


– Kills Malassezia fungus

– Reduces inflammation

– Prevents new infection

– Anti-fungal

– Use ketoconazole shampoo twice a week for 2 to 4 weeks

– Then, once every 1 to 2 weeks

Coal tar

– Breaks down skin buildup

– Slows skin cell growth

– Relieves itching

– Use coal tar shampoo twice a week

Tea tree oil

– Inhibits the growth of Malassezia

– Relieves itching, redness

– Reduces oiliness

– Add a few drops to your regular shampoo

Zinc pyrithione

– Anti-fungal

– Anti-bacterial

– Kills fungus and bacteria that cause itching and flaking

– Use zinc pyrithione shampoo twice a week

– Lather and leave shampoo on scalp for 1 minute before rinsing

Selenium sulphide

– Reduces the growth of Malassezia

– Reduces flaking and itching

– Enables easier removal of flakes and better penetration of treatment

– Frequency of use based on brand of shampoo

– Lather and leave shampoo on scalp for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing

Lavender oil

– Antimicrobial

– Reduces inflammation

– Reduce scalp dryness

– Aids hair growth

– Add 2 to 3 drops of oil to your regular shampoo on your palm

Rosemary oil

– Boosts scalp circulation

– Prevents dandruff

– Reduces itching

– Add 2 to 3 drops of oil to your regular shampoo on your palm


Ingredients to Avoid in Anti-Dandruff Shampoos

While there are plenty of anti-dandruff shampoos available in Singapore, you should still practice caution in your selection. Ingredients like sulphates and alcohol can make your condition worse. So, we strongly advise you to read the ingredient labels before your purchase to ensure that aggravating ingredients are not present in your shampoos.

1. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives that are used to extend the shelf life of products, but they can be damaging to the scalp. Parabens can disrupt the natural balance of the scalp and cause irritation and dryness.

2. Sulphates

Sulphates can be harsh on the scalp and deplete the hair and scalp of their natural oils. As a result, the scalp may produce excessive amounts of oil in an effort to compensate for the dryness and irritation. This oily scalp environment may then promote the growth of Malassezia.

3. Silicones

Silicones are added to shampoos to make your hair feel soft and silky. They do that by covering each strand of hair with a protective coating that repels water. On the scalp, it creates a barrier that can trap dirt, oil and dead skin cells. Since silicones are not easily removed even with regular shampooing, buildup can occur over time and worsen your dandruff.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride is added to shampoos to thicken the product. Using a shampoo with high levels of sodium chloride may further irritate an already dry and inflamed scalp.

Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are also something to be wary of. These are often added to products to make them smell appealing, but the alcohol in synthetic fragrances can be harsh on the scalp and cause irritation.

Home Remedies for Dandruff

To compliment your shampoo regiment, you may also include natural remedies, like those mentioned below.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from apples. It is commonly used as a natural hair care product because it contains several beneficial properties that can help treat dandruff and other scalp problems.

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps exfoliate dead skin cells from the scalp and balance its pH levels. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can help reduce the growth of Malassezia and inflammation of the scalp.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural oil extracted from the fruit of the coconut tree. It is high in fatty acids and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. It is especially valued for its ability to improve the health of the scalp and hair.

Coconut oil’s moisturising abilities help to restore moisture to the scalp and reduce dryness and itching. Its antimicrobial properties can also curb the growth of Malassezia and reduce inflammation.

Before applying coconut oil to your scalp, test your skin for any sensitivities. While some users respond positively to coconut oil for their dandruff, it may not be suitable for users with sensitive skin or eczema. In that case, it is better for you to seek an alternative.

Is It Time For Professional Dandruff Treatment?

Besides making sure that there are effective active ingredients in your shampoo, choosing an anti-dandruff shampoo is fairly easy. You can purchase hair restoration products in Singapore from a nearby drugstore, supermarket or even online.

We hope you now have a clearer understanding of the active ingredients that can help you in banishing dandruff for good. If you have dandruff that persists despite your best efforts, you may want to consider professional dandruff treatment by a scalp specialist.

TrichoLab is a hair and scalp clinic in Singapore specialising in various hair and scalp treatments. We have treated customers with various dandruff problems, and we would love to help you, too. To learn more about our treatments and how we can help with your scalp condition, contact us today.

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