How do I get rid of dandruff with head and shoulders not working?

That’s the question that one recent graduate of St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, Erica Glenn, MD, asked herself while she was working with a pediatric dermatologist and encountered many parents asking about natural remedies for their babies’ dandruff. So she searched the scientific literature on the topic and made an interesting discovery.

She found that not only does this popular natural treatment not cure dandruff—it actually may make dandruff worse.

To set the record straight, she cowrote a letter that was recently published in a major medical journal, and then I spoke with her to get the lowdown on which dandruff remedies actually work…


Dandruff—dried skin that peels off the scalp—is most frequently caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia. This fungus appears on the scalps of many people in small amounts without causing problems, but sometimes stress, illness, excess skin oil, changes in hormones and even just a bad roll of the genetic dice can cause it to overgrow.

The common Web remedy typically instructs people with dandruff to apply about eight to 10 drops of olive or vegetable oil to the scalp, cover the head with a shower cap and then keep the oil on the scalp overnight.

The problem with this treatment, said Dr. Glenn, is that these two oils provide the perfect environment for the Malassezia fungus to thrive! That’s because this fungus consumes saturated fats. (Even though vegetable and olive oils contain mostly unsaturated fats, they contain some saturated fats, too.) To make matters worse, the unsaturated fats in the olive oil and vegetable oil can cause further inflammation and scaling.

So if vegetable or olive oil isn’t the solution, what’s the best way to treat dandruff—and prevent it from forming in the future?


Most people will be able to make “hair dust” a thing of the past by following Dr. Glenn’s tips, below…

Snowflakes should be the only type of flakes acceptable! But sadly, there’s another type of white flakes that fall generously over your pretty sweater, every time you shake your head. We’re talking about dandruff. As if we didn’t have enough hair problems already! Dandruff often tests your resolve, as you constantly wonder, “should I give in to the itch or not?” Not only is dandruff annoying, it can also get quite painful. Sometimes, these pesky white flakes on your scalp can even lead to itchy, red patches that scab and also bleed, when you scratch it. 

Instead of waiting for it to take over your life, let’s understand how to get rid of dandruff and prevent it from returning. But first, let’s look at what causes dandruff in the first place, and which is the ultimate dandruff cure. 

Before we delve into the details of what causes dandruff, do you know what dandruff is? Interestingly, dandruff is quite common. It affects the scalp and causes the skin to become itchy, which later transforms into flakes of dead skin. Yikes! 

Dandruff is caused by a microbe that goes by the name ‘Malassezia globosa.’ As gross as it sounds to have microbes on scalp, it is actually present on every scalp! Yes, yours too! However, some scalps react to the presence of this yeast, while others are perfectly comfortable nurturing this yeast.Therefore, some people have dandruff, while others don’t. Other causes of dandruff include:

• Dry skin
• Oily, irritated skin
• Sensitivity to certain hair care products
• Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis

As you know, our skin replaces itself and pushes old cells outwards, where they die and flake off. Typically, these flakes are relatively small and barely noticeable. But if a person has dandruff, the skin cells work more rapidly than their regular cycle. The severity of dandruff varies from person to person. While some cases can be treated with home remedies, others need medical intervention.

Which hair products to use? 

"Want to know how to get rid of dandruff?  Choosing the right hair products is your answer. Your regular shampoo and conditioner won’t serve as the right dandruff cure; you need something more specific. 

Enter Head & Shoulders and its wide range of anti-dandruff haircare products that are devised to get rid of dandruff by tackling its root causes.  "

Anti-dandruff shampoos

Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoos are specially formulated to deal with the symptoms and causes of dandruff. So, how do you get rid of dandruff with these shampoos? They contain anti-dandruff active that tackles the root cause of dandruff—the unpleasant microbe Malassezia globosa. This ingredient works wonders by breaking the cycle of dandruff irritation rather than simply treating its symptoms like regular shampoos do. These shampoos work as an excellent dandruff cure since they contain another zinc compound called zinc carbonate that maximises the bioactivity of the anti-dandruff active. 

Anti-dandruff conditioners

What goes together with an anti-dandruff shampoo? An anti-dandruff conditioner!  Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Conditioners are formulated to take on dandruff and provide immediate relief from its various causes and symptoms. These conditioners moisturise your scalp and hair, and reduce the chances of dandruff occurrence caused by dryness.

Anti-dandruff 2-in-1 products

 Want to know how to get rid of dandruff without an elaborate hair care routine? Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 Anti-Dandruff products are the answer to your dilemma. The entire range is created to combine the dandruff-fighting power of an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner, into a single potent dandruff cure. 

Why is head and Shoulders not helping my dandruff?

There are many reasons that Head & Shoulders might seem to be ineffective. The first, and most obvious, is not using it in the best way. To get the best out of your dandruff shampoo, you should wash with it regularly – even when you don't see or feel symptoms.

Why do I still have dandruff after using head and Shoulders?

If you've been using a dandruff shampoo for several weeks but still have dandruff, it may be time to see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if your scalp is swollen or red, if your hair is falling out, or if you have a red, scaly rash on other parts of your body.

What to do when dandruff shampoo doesn't work?

If you've tried over-the-counter dandruff shampoos and are still fighting flakes, see a dermatologist. You may need a stronger, prescription-strength shampoo or another treatment.

Why is head and Shoulders not working for me?

Regular washing replenishes the amount of dandruff-fighting active on your scalp, so you always have enough. Anything less, and you risk dandruff coming back. This is probably the most common reason why people don't get the results they expect from dandruff shampoo.