Best Anti Dandruff Shampoos For Men

We get to hear a lot about anti dandruff shampoos for men, but most of us don’t really know what they are and what dandruff-fighting ingredients to look for when choosing an anti dandruff shampoo. Read our tutorial on anti dandruff shampoos to next time pick the best shampoo if you happen to suffer from dandruff!

What is an Anti Dandruff Shampoo and which are the best for men?

Anti dandruff shampoos are shampoos that carry out the duties of a regular shampoo but that also have specific active ingredients to treat dandruff. Unfortunately, dandruff is an on-going issue that is caused by an excess turnover of dead skin cells, which itself is caused by chronic inflammation of the scalp through the action of the Malassezia globosa fungus; yet, the etiology of dandruff remains unknown for the most part and a genetic susceptibility is involved, so there are too many factors to pin point the exact cause of dandruff. Ergo, there is no cure for dandruff although you can certainly treat it with specialized anti dandruff shampoos.

For what is worth, around 60% of men will experience dandruff at any time in their lives, so don’t worry; you are not alone, and you can have a great dandruff-free mane with the use of the shampoos outlined in this guide.

Picture of hair covered with dandruff prior to using an anti dandruff shampoo for men

…And now I go to the bathroom and I puke

There is, in fact, quite a wide range of anti dandruff shampoos on the market, with the most common anti dandruff shampoos being those that contain zinc pyrithione as their active ingredient. Because anti dandruff shampoos already perform the hair-cleaning action of convention/regular shampoos, you should go by the active dandruff-fighting ingredient when buying an anti dandruff shampoo. The following are the active ingredients found in anti dandruff shampoos; they can be found in an anti dandruff shampoo’s formula either alone or in conjunction depending on the shampoo brand. Furthermore, I’ve selected the best anti dandruff shampoo for each of the active ingredients:

Zinc pyrithione

This ingredient is both antifungal and antibacterial, which makes zinc pyrithione the most used active ingredient in anti dandruff shampoos. Zinc pyrithione works remarkably good, especially to manage the Malassezia globosa fungus, and shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione alone as an anti dandruff agent can be used as frequently as desired. This is one of the best anti dandruff shampoos on the market that contains zinc pyrithione.

Coal tar

Despite the funky name, coal tar is an effective antifungal and antibacterial agent and it works by reducing the turnover of dead skin cells (dead skin cells are the component of dandruff). This is one of the best anti dandruff shampoos on the market that contains coal tar.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid as an anti dandruff ingredient is great at removing the dead cells that are building up on the scalp and that cause the visible flakes of dandruff. Anti dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid are sometimes advertised as “exfoliating” as they do indeed remove dead skin cells. This is one of the best anti dandruff shampoos on the market that contain salicylic acid.

Selenium sulfide

Selenium sulfide also works as an antifungal and antibacterial agent and is thus effective against dandruff. A paradoxical side effect reported by some users is that selenium sulfide makes the scalp oily. This is one of the best anti dandruff shampoos on the market that contains selenium sulfide.


Ketoconazole is an excellent antifungal agent that works against a wide range of fungi and yeast on the scalp, not just the Malassezia globosa fungus (i.e. the fungus that causes dandruff). Ketoconazole is also purported to be a good addon to a hair-loss regimen as ketoconazole can help with slowing down male pattern baldness. This is one of the best anti dandruff shampoos on the market that contains ketoconazole.

Ciclopirox olamine

Just like ketoconazole, ciclopirox olamine is an excellent broad-range antifungal agent although its mechanism of action is poorly understood. This is one of the best anti dandruff shampoos on the market that contains ciclopirox olamine.

Neem and tea tree oil

Both neem and tea tree oil are derived from trees and are natural antifungals that present themselves as good alternatives for men who prefer a more natural hair care strategy and foundation. Tea tree oil has also some anecdotal evidence behind showing tea tree oil as a good agent to use to treat hair loss caused by inflammation of the scalp (male pattern baldness is thought to be mediated partially through scalp inflammation).

Best Anti Dandruff Shampoos for Men

As you’ve seen, there is a wide range of active ingredients that are used in anti dandruff shampoos to treat dandruff. Anti dandruff shampoos can contain one or more of the above anti dandruff ingredients and, when buying an anti dandruff shampoo, you should simply scan the ingredient list to identify the anti dandruff active ingredients that you’ve learned of in this article. My recommendation is to try one of the recommended anti dandruff shampoos and then, if you see that your chosen anti dandruff shampoo isn’t working, move on to another anti dandruff shampoo that has either another anti dandruff ingredient or has more of them.

In my bestselling book, The Men’s Hair Book, I dedicate a big section to anti dandruff shampoos and to how to insert them into your hair-grooming routine. Essentially, anti dandruff shampoos that only contain zinc pyrithione can replace your regular shampoo whereas the rest of anti dandruff shampoos (with other ingredients other than zinc pyrithione) should be used as directed in the instructions. Lastly, I recommend you to visit a qualified dermatologist as dandruff can sometimes mask a more several scalp disorder.

All the best.

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Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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1 comment for “Best Anti Dandruff Shampoos For Men

  1. Damien
    October 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I have a question, I have been using the Selsun Blue medicated shampoo for years and I just started really growing my hair a few months ago and want to maximize my chances of growing great long hair.
    I do have an itchy scalp and the few times I have tried not to use the Selsun Blue shampoo in the past, it left my scalp really itchy, I didn’t notice any major flaking when I stopped (I think I have a really dry scalp) though i did see small stuff. Should i just keep using the Selsun Blue anti dandruff shampoo or is there a better alternative to this shampoo?
    My hair gets fairly oily quickly and is of medium thickness, I also have diabetes if that makes a difference. Thanks for the help.

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