Flakes Are Frustrating: These 10 Dandruff Shampoos Will Help

Dandruff got you down? We can help. Referred to by doctors as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff typically appears as dry, scaly, and even waxy flakes that develop on oily or hair-bearing areas of the body (so normally the scalp, the eyebrows, and even the chest). As Rachel Nazarian, MD, explains, “severe cases can be quite irritating, appearing as red, itchy areas of flakes.” The cause is still slightly unclear (bummer, I know) but Nazarian says it’s in response to a natural yeast that’s found on the skin, and it tends to flare up with stress and cold, dry weather. It can even be caused by certain medications, so check with your doctor to see if that may be the case.

People sometimes judge this condition and blame it on poor hygiene or uncleanliness, but Nazarian is quick to refute such claims. Although the condition is not at all dangerous, it can be distressing for sure. No one wants to live with red, oily skin or feel like they’re constantly leaving flakes everywhere they go. As someone who dresses in almost entirely black clothing, this seems like a nightmare. As such, Nazarian suggests the top treatments for dandruff (as there’s still no cut-and-dry cure) are the ones that contain salicylic acid, selenium, sulfur, or tar. While they don’t sound particularly pleasing, these products work. That being said, it’s also best to steer clear of greasy or oil-based hair products, as they encourage yeast to flourish.

Below we’ve detailed a list of the top-rated over-the-counter options, but Nazarian suggests some cases may need stronger medication. Your dermatologist can prescribe either prescription-strength topical creams, gels, or even oral medication.

Keep scrolling for the answer to your dandruff woes.