The Difference Among Different Anti-dandruff Ingredients


When the ecological balance of the scalp is destroyed, the metabolism of keratinocytes accelerates and the clumps fall off, forming dandruff that is visible to the naked eye. The cause of dandruff is usually related to the overgrowth of Malassezia. Therefore, the anti-dandruff ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos currently on the market have a certain inhibitory and killing effect on Malassezia.

Common anti-dandruff agents in shampoos include: zinc pyrithione (ZPT), piroctone olamine (OCT), clomibazole, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, selenium disulfide, etc. What's the difference between them?



①Zinc pyrithione

Zinc pyrithione (ZPT) is the most common antibacterial and anti-dandruff ingredient. It can inhibit the growth of fungi and is not easily absorbed by the skin. It is high quality and low price. However, ZPT is toxic to many organisms in water, so the European Union has listed it as a banned ingredient in cosmetics. China also restricted its concentration in 2015, with the maximum allowable concentration in anti-dandruff products being 1.5%.


Piroctone Olamine

Piroctone Olamine (OCT/PO) is more environmentally friendly than ZPT, and its price is relatively high. It is an efficient, non-toxic and non-irritating anti-dandruff agent. It has a strong killing effect and inhibits the reproduction of bacteria, fungi and viruses. It can inhibit seborrhea and remove dandruff. Currently it is only used in mid-to-high-end products and leave-on products. Some acne products also use this ingredient as a bactericide.



It is also called Ganbaosin, which can fight fungi by inhibiting the synthesis of fungal cell membranes. However, its anti-dandruff and anti-itching effect is not as good as the previous two (ZPT, OCT), and its dosage has been declining in recent years.


④Salicylic acid

It can exfoliate the cuticle of the scalp and has a certain anti-itching effect, but its antibacterial effect is average and can only treat the symptoms. Generally, better results can be achieved when used in combination with other anti-dandruff agents, and salicylic acid is irritating to a certain extent. It is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, and children under three years of age are not allowed to use it.



Ketoconazole is only used in medicated shampoos and is a banned ingredient in cosmetics. The common anti-dandruff lotion in pharmacies is ketoconazole, which can effectively prevent the recurrence of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, but may cause mild skin itching, irritation and dryness. Need to be used under the guidance of a doctor.


⑥Selenium disulfide

It is also an antifungal drug that can quickly remove dandruff, prevent and treat seborrhea, and scalp seborrheic dermatitis. However, it also has a certain irritation. It is recommended to use it no more than twice a week.



Key words:

Piroctone Olamine