What Conditions Are Commonly Treated with Zinc Pyrithione?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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Zinc pyrithione is a chemical compound designed with antifungal and antibacterial properties and used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis are often treated with this medication. Additional uses for zinc pyrithione include the treatment of vitiligo, athlete's foot, and dandruff. Skin irritation and allergic reactions are the most frequently reported side effects of this product. Specific questions or concerns about the use of zinc pyrithione should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff are often treated with products containing zinc pyrithione. Dandruff is a scalp condition that is characterized by dry, flaky skin, which often causes itching and embarrassment. There are a variety of potential causes for the development of dandruff, including dry skin, infrequent hair washing, and eczema. Seborrheic dermatitis may affect the scalp, face, or chest and causes dandruff as well as red, inflamed, itchy skin.

Eczema is a term used to describe a variety of skin conditions that cause dry, itchy, inflamed lesions to form on various areas of the body. Cradle cap is a form of scalp eczema that often appears on infants. The exact cause of this skin affliction is not clearly understood, although genetic, autoimmune, and environmental factors are believed to be contributing factors.


Psoriasis is among the skin disorders often treated with zinc pyrithione. This is a chronic skin disease that leads to the development of thickened, scaly, and often painful lesions. Frequently believed to be caused by an autoimmune disorder, there is no cure for psoriasis, so treatment is based on managing individual symptoms and avoiding triggers such as stress and skin injury.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that causes some of the pigment cells to be destroyed. This leads to patches of skin that are lighter than the rest of the skin. There may be an increased risk of sunburn or skin cancer among those with vitiligo, so sunscreen and appropriate clothing should be worn during sun exposure.

Athlete's foot, ringworm, and jock itch are fungal infections that may be treated with zinc pyrithione. Itching, burning, and peeling of the skin between the toes are common symptoms of athlete's foot. Ringworm causes a raised red rash that looks like a circle or ring and can appear anywhere on the body. Jock itch affects the groin and can lead to a scaly rash that may itch or burn in the groin area. A doctor should be consulted in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan before using zinc pyrithione to treat any of these conditions.


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Post 3

My anti-dandruff shampoo has zinc pyrithione and it works very well. This is actually the only shampoo that has worked for me and I had severe dandruff. The best part about it is that the shampoo is available over-the-counter. I hope that it keeps working because I don't want to have to deal with dandruff again.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- I have rosacea but I also have seborrheic dermatitis. So I'm not sure if my experience will be of any help to you.

I have used a cream with zinc pyrithione. It did make a difference in that it reduced scales and irritation. But as you know, rosacea causes redness and zinc pyrithione did not seem to improve the redness for me.

I recommend calling your dermatologist and asking about this. If the doctor says that it's okay for you to try it, you can test a zinc pyrithione cream for a few days and see if it helps.

Post 1

Can zinc pyrithione treat rosacea? Has anyone here used it for this purpose? I have rosacea, should I try zinc pyrithione products?

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