The headscratchers

A round-up of OTC products to help manage dandruff and head lice.

Itching - flaking - crawling. Head and scalp issues range from unpleasant to downright cruddy.

For distressed patients who come into the pharmacy seeking relief, every bit of useful information is appreciated.


The authors explain that dandruff is more than a clinical presentation; it has an impact on society as well. They cite its unhygienic look, its cause for embarrassment, self-consciousness, and lessening of self-esteem. "Dandruff causes more social and psychological problems than medical ones," they note.


And dandruff is widespread, regardless of whose statistics one cites. Medscape Reference says that dandruff is present in an estimated 15% to 20% of the U.S. population (that's about 50 million people).

The IJT authors note that "several studies on the prevalence of dandruff across the world have shown a prevalence of dandruff in up to 50% in the general population. The prevalence may be increasing sharply with rapid urbanization. One survey in the USA has shown that nearly $300 million is spent on various dandruff treatment products annually."

Fortunately, that money appears to be well spent. A website developed by the American Academy of Dermatology states, "Shampoos specially formulated for dandruff relief are often effective. Sometimes getting results requires alternating dandruff shampoos so that a different shampoo is used every few days."

Enter the manufacturers with those dandruff shampoos.

From Garnier Fructis: A new generation of breakthrough dual-action formulas for fighting dandruff. One part of the formula is purifying action, with infused natural extracts purifying hair and scalp for a deep clean. The second part of the formula is fortifying action, with
B vitamins strengthening the hair. The result: 100% flake-free hair (based on visible flakes with regular use).

Garnier Fructis offers six different anti-dandruff formulas: Intense Cleanse Scrub (microbeads scrub to purify hair and scalp for a long-lasting, deep clean), Clean & Fresh (invigorates hair and scalp), Clean & Fresh 2 in 1 (invigorates hair and scalp and provides extra conditioning), Dry Scalp (moisturizes and relieves scalp itch), Clear Control (crystal clear formula infused with citrus cleansers and 3% salicyclic acid to remove buildup), and Mint Cleanse (treats scalp with menthol and cooling microbeads).

From Procter and Gamble: Two additions to its Head & Shoulders brand:

To deliver dandruff relief and a fresh scent that lasts, the new Green Apple collection was developed to combine sophisticated fragrance, consisting of a combination of crisp fruits, florals, and clean musks, with a new cleaning system and the efficient Head & Shoulders scalp- and hair-care ingredients.

From Unilever: The Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy brand,which includes anti-dandruff products. Its Nourishing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is clinically proven to relieve dandruff symptoms, with its active ingredient pyrithione zinc. It is formulated with Nutrium 10, an advanced moisture complex of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins B5, C, and E, sunflower, almond, soybean, and coconut oils, and aloe vera. Its new Clear Men Scalp Therapy line provides 100% dandruff protection (no visible flakes with regular use). The active ingredient is pyrithione zinc, and the shampoos are specially formulated with Bio-Nutrium 10, a blend of 10 nutrients and botanical actives, including ginseng, tea tree, and natural mint. The Complete Care product gently cleanses and conditions. Cool Sport Mint deeply cleanses hair and nourishes the scalp, leaving a cooling sensation. Clean & Fresh is a 2-in-1 daily anti-dandruff product that gently cleanses and conditions. Dry Scalp Hydration is clinically proven to reduce dry scalp and help eliminate dandruff symptoms. Strong & Full is a shampoo and conditioner that eliminates dandruff symptoms and leaves the hair stronger and fuller.