Do you experience itchy, uncomfortable and flaking scalp that often presents itself as white specks on your dark coloured shirt? You probably have dandruff — a relatively common scalp condition often caused by seborrheic dermatitis, a result of infection from a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia. Other causes could be dry skin and underlying skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.
Although dandruff is not contagious nor life-threatening, it can cause great discomfort and embarrassment, negatively affecting one’s quality of life.
Thankfully, in Singapore, there are a variety of treatments available to tackle dandruff; the most common being anti-dandruff shampoos. The most important ingredient to look out for is zinc pyrithione, a potent antifungal and antibacterial solution that helps mitigate dandruff and alleviate inflammation on the scalp. Read on to find out what makes this ingredient pivotal in restoring hair and scalp health.
What is zinc pyrithione
As its name suggests, Zinc pyrithione (ZPT) is a derivative of the chemical element zinc and is commonly found in anti-dandruff shampoos and other hair care products. This active synthetic compound is known to effectively treat dandruff with its antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Research shows that ZPT inhibits the growth of these microorganisms through increased cellular levels of copper, which damage iron-sulphur clusters of proteins that are needed by these microorganisms to survive. Because of this, it can effectively manage fungal and bacterial growth, while reducing scalp inflammation and oil production.
You may notice a reduction in itching and flaking shortly after using zinc pyrithione-containing anti-dandruff products, and results will continue to improve over the next 6 weeks when used as advised.
Benefits of zinc pyrithione for dandruff treatment
The benefits of zinc pyrithione include:
- Antifungal and antibacterial — Zinc pyrithione is known for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, making it both antifungal and antibacterial. It works by inhibiting the growth of fungus cells and bacteria, hence, effectively mitigating dandruff.
- Regulates sebum production — Malassezia on the scalp can cause dry and oily skin. By controlling the growth of this yeast, ZPT can, in turn, regulate sebum production over time.
- Promotes cell turnover — Because of its mild keratolytic properties, zinc pyrithione promotes the shedding of dead skin cells.
- Anti-inflammatory — As ZPT is a derivative of the element zinc, it releases zinc ions, which have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and itching. Studies show that these zinc ions may also help with hair restoration and the treatment of hair loss.
- Balances scalp microbiome — As zinc pyrithione helps get rid of harmful microorganisms on the scalp and regulates sebum production, it can effectively restore the scalp’s natural microbiome for a healthier scalp.
How to incorporate zinc pyrithione into your anti-dandruff routine
Zinc pyrithione is available in various types of skin and hair care products to effectively mitigate dandruff and treat seborrheic dermatitis.
- Shampoos — Anti-dandruff shampoos with zinc pyrithione in various concentrations can effectively manage dandruff and an oily scalp.
- Topical creams — Topical antifungal creams and ointments can be applied on the scalp to address dandruff and reduce flaking throughout the day.
- Facial cleansers — Facial washes and medicated facial soaps for seborrheic dermatitis can contain zinc pyrithione to help manage redness and itching on the face.
It is important to note that there is no such thing as the “best product”, but one that would be best for you and suits your specific needs and lifestyle. If you experience excessive itching, redness and flaking on your scalp, consult your aesthetic doctor or skin specialist for a proper examination and treatment recommendation.
Tips for maximising the efficacy of zinc pyrithione
To get the most out of your zinc pyrithione anti-dandruff treatment, consider these tips:
- Pick the right product — There are a variety of zinc pyrithione-containing products, with various concentrations and formulations.
- Lather properly — Make sure to wet the scalp and lather the product through the scalp. Let it sit for one to two minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly.
- Don’t forget to condition — Some anti-dandruff shampoos may dry out the hair, leaving it stripped of moisture. Applying conditioner to the ends of your hair (avoid your scalp) can help maintain your hair’s moisture balance and keep it hydrated.
- Add peppermint and tea tree oil — Peppermint and tea tree oil have natural antifungal properties that can be added to your anti-dandruff shampoo in small amounts for enhanced results. Additionally, these natural solutions help calm the skin and reduce inflammation and irritation.
- Adopt a healthy diet — A nutrient-rich diet can support hair and skin health, complementing your efforts in managing dandruff.
Common misconceptions with zinc pyrithione for treating dandruff include:
- A quick fix — Using zinc pyrithione-containing products is not a one-and-done solution to treating dandruff. Be patient and use the product diligently. Improvements will happen over time, and consistency is key!
- More is better — Follow product instructions as stated, and do not overuse it. This may cause scalp irritation and other harmful effects to your skin.
- Zinc pyrithione causes hair loss — Contrary to popular belief, zinc pyrithione is generally safe and does not lead to hair loss.
- All zinc pyrithione-containing products are the same — Anti-dandruff products with zinc pyrithione can come in various formulations, concentrations and additives. It is important to pick the right one suited to your scalp condition and skin sensitivity.
- A cure-all for dandruff — Although zinc pyrithione is effective at mitigating dandruff, it might not be the solution to your scalp issues. Dandruff may also be caused by other underlying conditions. If you’ve used this product over a considerable period of time and symptoms persist, please consult a doctor for professional advice and further treatments.
Medical-grade anti-dandruff hair shampoo at TrichoLab
TrichoLab offers a range of medical-grade hair and scalp solutions for all your dandruff woes. One such treatment is a patented anti-dandruff shampoo, complete with active ingredients like zinc pyrithione and propanolamine for a flake-free and healthy scalp.