The Best Dermatologist-Approved Dandruff Shampoos

Dandruff is one of those common issues many of us struggle with, yet shy away from speaking about. Having white flakes fall on your black turtleneck has been portrayed in beauty campaigns and commercials as a nightmare, but the reality is that dandruff is super common and doesn't have to prevent you from feeling fabulous in black — or in general. Some cases are mild, and others more severe, but thankfully, with the right regimen, dandruff can be easily controlled.

Stephen Pullan, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in New York, tells Refinery29 that all dandruff doesn't look the same."It can be thought of as dead skin cells shedding off the top layer of the scalp, [which] happens all over the body," he says. "The process can speed up, however, creating visible dandruff, or even worse, [symptoms] such as a bothersome form of flakes that adhere to the hair shaft and can create hair loss."


The good news for people living with this annoying issue, however, is that it is treatable — and it starts with finding the right shampoo. "Dandruff shampoos work to decrease flaking, normalize rapid cell turnover, hydrate the scalp, and indirectly decrease itching," dermatologist and Dove hair expert Francesca Fusco, MD, adds.

Dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD, of Sadick Dermatology in New York City notes that it's important to pay attention to ingredient labels when shopping for cleansers. "Look for shampoos that have ingredients like ketoconazole or zinc pyrithione," he says. "Both of these are chemical compounds have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that reduce and prevent fungus growth on the scalp."

To help you have a more soothing shampoo experience, we asked the pros for their favorite formulas for ditching dandruff, ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, of Marmur Medical, treating mild dandruff at home is as simple as adding a drugstore pick into the mix. "This shampoo has dandruff-fighting agents such as zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and zinc carbonate," she says. "These ingredients work together to moisturize and soothe the scalp to prevent further flaking."
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Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Therapeutic Shampoo

Dr. Marmur also recommends this formula, which has 0.5% coal tar. It helps thoroughly cleanse the scalp and relieve itchiness and discomfort caused by scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff.
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Selsun Blue Medicated With Menthol Dandruff Shampoo

This classic formula is also a great option for scalp relief. It has selenium sulfide solution, a topical medication used for treating scalp dermatitis and dandruff. It's also silicone- and paraben-free for those avoiding these common ingredients.
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Dove Beauty Derma Care Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo

Dr. Fusco recommends the DermaCare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo to her clients with mild dandruff. "In addition to treating dandruff, this is pH balanced and has nourishing ingredients so you can use it as your everyday shampoo," she says.
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Nizoral Anti Dandruff Shampoo

Dr. Sadick recommends shampooing with Nizoral if you experience regular flaking. "This is a good option because it contains ketoconazole, which is anti-fungal," he says. "Some anti-dandruff shampoos can be slightly harsh on hair, so always use a moisturizing conditioner that doesn't leave behind residue after."
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Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo

You don't have to compromise the appearance of your strands for a soothed scalp, though — especially if your hair is color-treated. Dr. Sadick recommends this Redken formula for anyone with fresh color. "It's formulated with pyrithione zinc, which treats dandruff without fading hair color," he says.
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Malin + Geotz Dandruff Shampoo

For an option that's luxurious and efficacious, grab a bottle of this Malin & Goetz formula. It has pyrithione zinc to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, while tea-tree oil and eucalyptus extract work to soothe itchiness and make your bathroom smell like you're at a spa.
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Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo

Not only will this formula treat dandruff and cleanse the scalp, but it also has nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil to make your strands softer and smoother after one use.
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Oribe Serene Scalp Shampoo

Salicylic acid and caffeine in this formula work to exfoliate dry scalp and stimulate your follicles, but let's be real — the glossy pink bottle is the real catch.
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Matrix Biolage Scalpsync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

When itchy scalp strikes, put a bottle of this Matrix shampoo in your shower. It's antibacterial and formulated with pyrithione zinc and peppermint oil to fight flakes and make your scalp feel clean and tingly.
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Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Tea tree oil is common in anti-dandruff shampoos because it's a powerful antifungal ingredient. Mixed with white ginger and lavender, this clarifying formula soothes itchiness and irritation while providing a wonderfully-relaxing scent.
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Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

Scalp-soothing shampoos tend to be not-so-nice to the hair shaft, with many of them leaving your strands dry AF. This formula does the opposite: Its ingredients list is full of flake-fighting essentials like zinc pyrithione, lavender, and rosemary oil. Still, it also has hydrating and smoothing benefits thanks to coconut oil and algae extract, so your hair won't feel like wire when you're done shampooing.
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