How do I Treat Severe Dandruff?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2018
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Though everyone may have a slightly different view of what severe dandruff may be, it should be sufficient to say that it is a condition that is minimally responsive to traditional courses of treatment. Those treatments vary from using dandruff shampoo available over the counter to changes in diet. Even stress reduction techniques can be tried. If none of these work, then the case is severe enough to seek the help of a dermatologist.

Most of the time, a dermatologist may simply recommend trying various other over-the-counter treatments, such as a particular dandruff shampoo, before moving on to more drastic measures. If typical dandruff remedies do not work, then a medical professional may recommend an anti-fungus shampoo, usually one that contains ketoconazole. Such shampoos used to only be available with a prescription, but they are now available without one. The reason to use anti-fungal shampoo to treat severe dandruff is due to the fact that some believe fungus plays a contributing role, if not a major role, in the condition. Many people experience favorable results, which seems to reinforce the belief.


In some cases, when dandruff is particularly bad, a steroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, may be used. These steroids will only treat symptoms, such as scaling, itching and flaking, and will do little to nothing to treat the underlying problem. As such, those using those creams could get used to the symptoms being eliminated, even though the problem remains. Further, steroids can only be used for a limited time because such creams can thin the skin, creating additional medical problems.

For those adults who do have severe dandruff, the reality is that the condition is often chronic. This condition can be controlled, but it sometimes cannot be cured. As a result, even with the advancements that have been made in controlling dandruff, some control measures will likely be necessary the rest of a person's life.

In most cases, there is no one answer for treating severe dandruff. Several hair care products may be beneficial and are often rotated in an effort to make sure the dandruff does not become resistant to a single product. While the itching is persistent, the good news is with simple treatment every few days, it can usually be suppressed enough to make the individual comfortable.


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Post 6

I tried several anti-dandruff shampoos before finding one that worked. The cheaper scented kind only worked for about a day, so I needed to find something stronger.

I bought this shampoo that contains coal tar. You can use it for several different scalp conditions, but dandruff is the main one.

It smells a little odd, but it works great. I only use it once a week, and it keeps me from getting a flaky scalp.

Post 5

I didn't know you could use hydrocortisone cream as treatment for severe dandruff! I'm going to try that. My scalp has been itchy, red, and flaky in one spot for weeks, and since the spot is right above my hairline, I can easily work the cream into it.

Post 4

@Perdido – I'm not going to say that it won't work at all if you just leave it on for one minute, but I will say that if you want to get the most out of the shampoo, you need to leave it on for five full minutes. Since you are trying to avoid seeing the doctor, you should follow the instructions.

Just remember to keep your head up and to keep a towel within reach so that you can wipe away any shampoo that does drip toward your eyes. Also, you could keep a space heater in the bathroom to keep from getting too chilly.

Post 3

I just got some Nizoral A-D shampoo, because every other kind I've tried hasn't worked on my dandruff. This is my last shot before I give up and go see a dermatologist.

The label says I need to leave it on my hair for five minutes. Is this really necessary? I'm afraid the shampoo will drip down into my eyes, and I know I'm going to get cold just standing around in the shower for that long!

Post 2

Does vinegar help at all?

Post 1

I have heard that you need to change your towel every day when you start trying to fight the dandruff. Does anyone know if this is true?

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