University of Iowa Health Science Relations and
Laura Myers, MD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology
First Published: 2000
Last Revised: September 2004
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
If the anti-dandruff shampoo you bought doesn't control your itchy scalp, don't give up hope.
"You may just need to leave the anti-dandruff shampoo on your scalp for a longer time," says Dr. Laura Myers, assistant professor of dermatology in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
Dandruff shampoo should be left on the scalp for at least five minutes, Myers says.
People with a dandruff problem usually have an overgrowth of the body's natural yeast-like organism, pityrosporum ovale.
Dandruff shampoos contain anti-yeast agents. Simply applying the shampoo, lathering and immediately rinsing will not be effective for controlling dandruff. But, if the shampoo is left on the scalp for five minutes, it should slow the intensified growth of the natural yeast-like organisms, she says.
"If dandruff cannot be controlled with the medicated shampoos, it is important to see your dermatologist," Myers advises. The problem that appears to be dandruff could be psoriasis or a more severe form of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis.