Medicinal shampoos - when and how to use them
The use of shampoo as a hair cleanser started in the 1970s. Before this, people used different kinds of soaps, baking soda, vinegar and a number of herbal infusions for cleaning their hair.
Medicinal or medicated shampoos contain an active chemical ingredient that treats certain scalp skin issues. Since there are numerous causes for having an oily hair condition, it is best to identify the main one before opting for a medicated shampoo. It is also best to make an appointment with a dermatologist that can properly diagnose the problem and recommend an adequate medicinal shampoo. The ingredients in such shampoos can be very powerful and can cause skin problems if not used properly.
Oily hair and dandruff
When an oily hair problem is accompanied by dandruff and itchiness, it can be caused by a fungus named Malassezia furfur that feeds on your skin oil. This fungus is normally present on the scalp skin, but for some people it can become overactive and cause flaking and irritation that can be quite unpleasant both physically and socially.
People that experience an oily hair problem feel the need to wash their hair very often, even daily. This encourages the sebaceous glands on the scalp to produce more sebum or skin oil. So in fact, washing daily can make this condition worse. What you need to do is talk to your dermatologist about using a medicated shampoo that contains Selenium Sulfide, Zinc Pyrithione or Ketaconazole. These ingredients help fight the fungus, eliminate dandruff by stopping the excessive flaking and make your scalp less oily. When you use a medicinal shampoo leave it on for five minutes before you rinse so that the active ingredient can be absorbed into the scalp skin.
Sometimes your hair and scalp skin get used to a certain medicated shampoo and the oily hair and dandruff problems come back. This is why many dermatologists recommend using two alternating shampoos twice a week for a month.
S e borrheic dermatitis and oily hair
This is a chronic condition of the scalp skin that produces excessive flaking, itchiness and red patches on multiple skin areas of the scalp, face and sometimes neck and ears. It can be accompanied by very oily or very dry skin and hair. It hasn't been determined what exactly triggers this condition but some of the risk factors include: stress and anxiety, extreme temperatures, acne, obesity, Parkinson's disease, alcohol based products, and an oily skin condition.
The seborrheic dermatitis diagnostic can be determined only by a dermatologist. The recommended treatment is usually to use a Ketoconazol and Selenium Sulfide shampoos two times a week. Since this is a chronic condition this treatment is not a cure, but it helps keep the flaking, itchiness and oiliness under control.
Salicylic acid based shampoos for oily hair
For an extremely oily scalp and hair condition sometimes it is recommended by dermatologists to try a shampoo that contains salicylic acid. It can also help alleviate dandruff, itchiness and scalp psoriasis.
Some dermatologists advise to use a salicylic acid shampoo 3-4 times a week during the first week of treatment and after that, for 2 times a week until the condition has cleared. It is best to ask for a personalized scalp treatment from your doctor if your skin and hair condition is more severe. Salicylic acid can interact with certain prescribed medications for diabetes, blood circulation or kidney disease, so it is imperative to only take this when prescribed by a doctor.
Do not use medicinal shampoos if:
- You are allergic to any of the ingredients
- You are pregnant, lactating or you are planning to get pregnant
- You have liver or kidney problems
- You are taking prescription medication (this should be discussed with a doctor beforehand)
- Your skin is severely irritated or infected(the ingredients might make it worse)
- You are planning to undertake medical tests (the ingredients can interfere with lab results)
There are also other reactions that can be triggered by chemical ingredients in shampoos so caution must be taken before using these kinds of products. If you do start using a medicinal shampoo, make sure to apply it only to the affected areas, and stop it immediately if you experience any adverse reactions. Never use a medicinal shampoo for very long periods of time unless your dermatologist has advised you otherwise.