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Medicated Shampoo

Using Medicated Shampoo for Various Hair Concerns


It’s easy to find suitable shampoo for your hair type. However, the same could not be said if you have hair and scalp concerns. Most scalp concerns can’t be treated using regular shampoos. You might need specific shampoo by hair issue. Restore the luster and volume of hair with these shampoos.

A woman having her hair washed in the salon

Medicated shampoos target specific hair and scalp concerns. They contain active ingredients that help improve scalp and hair. Some of the most common hair and scalp concerns include dandruff, hair fall, and head lice. You can treat and prevent these hair concerns using medicated shampoo.

Most medicated shampoos contain ingredients that can help reduce the symptoms of these hair and scalp concerns. It is important to use medicated shampoos regularly to prevent scalp concerns. The best brands of medicated shampoos have effective formulas that do not damage hair or scalp. They help cleanse and treat scalp without sacrificing the health of your hair.

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    What Are Medicated Shampoos

    It’s tricky to find the right shampoo for your hair especially if you have scalp and hair concerns. You need to consider your hair type, scalp concerns, and which ingredients are safe for you. Professional brands created shampoos that can help improve the state of your hair and scalp. If you suffer from conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and hair loss, pick the best medicated shampoo for you.

    Most medicated shampoos are used for specific hair and scalp concerns. They contain active ingredients such as strong chemicals and synthetic fungicides. These shampoos can have strong physical effects that can improve scalp and hair. However, they can also be too potent for healthy scalp. Some shampoos can have drying effects too. This is why it’s important to choose and use the shampoos properly. If you have serious scalp concerns such as hair loss, psoriasis, and eczema, consult a doctor first.

    Squeezing out medicated shampoo on small bowl

    Types of Medicated Shampoos

    Most medicated shampoos are made to help treat scalp and not your hair. You can use medicated shampoos for mild, moderate, or severe scalp issues. There are various types of medicated shampoos based on their effects and uses. These shampoos can help relieve irritation or itchiness of scalp. Some formulas are made to treat fungal infections as well too.

    If you need shampoos that contain high levels of chemicals or active ingredient, you need to consult a doctor first. These are called prescription medicated shampoos. On the other hand, shampoos you can buy in drugstores and supermarkets are called over-the-counter medicated shampoos. Here are the differences between the two:

    Over-the-Counter Medicated Shampoos

    Over-the-counter shampoos may contain active ingredients that can help improve the state of your scalp without causing drastic side effects. You can buy them from drugstores and supermarkets. Most OTC medicated shampoos are safe to use on hair and scalp. They have mild formulas that do not cause hair damage or irritation. The downside is that OTC medicated shampoos may not be as effective as prescribed medicated shampoo.

    You can just buy OTC shampoos without prescriptions. Since they contain mild formulas, OTC medicated shampoos are not regulated. However, they may still have drying effects on hair. Make sure that you only use these shampoos when you have scalp concerns.

    Prescription Medicated Shampoos

    Some shampoos can only be bought and used when prescribed by doctors. Prescription medicated shampoos contain chemicals and active ingredients that can have significant effects on the body. Most prescription shampoos are too potent to use on normal scalp.

    Prescribed medicated shampoos may contain stronger chemicals or active ingredients. They are more effective due to their stronger effects. These shampoos are regulated as well, to ensure that you are using the right shampoo for your scalp concern.

    Shampoo with green container

    When Do You Need Medicated Shampoo

    Medicated shampoos are not for everyone. You might do more harm than good if you use the wrong type of shampoo. If you have healthy hair and scalp, you don’t need to use medicated shampoo. Medicated shampoos are for those who suffer from serious hair and scalp concerns. Below are the various scalp concerns you can treat with medicated shampoo:


    Psoriasis is a condition characterized by pink rashes with silvery scales. Psoriasis happens when skin cells build up, which leads to formation of scaly patches that can become crusty and itchy. They may hurt and bleed too. There are no certain treatments for psoriasis since it is an autoimmune disease. However, medicated shampoos can help alleviate symptoms of psoriasis such as itching, irritation, and scaly patches. Here’s a key ingredient in medicated shampoos you should look for:

    • Clobetasol Propionate – This is a topical steroid that can suppress immune system to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. It can help alleviate the pain and itchiness caused by psoriasis. You need prescriptions to use this medicine or medicated shampoo.

    Seborrheic Dermatitis

    Seborrheic dermatitis is the condition where skin develops flakes all over the body, especially on scalp. Some symptoms include redness, scaly areas of skin, and dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis can affect everyone, even babies. Cradle cap is the term used for babies who have seborrheic dermatitis. Look for this ingredient in medicated shampoos:

    • Selenium Sulfide – Selenium Sulfide is an ingredient that helps slow down the growth of yeast, which can be the cause of seborrheic dermatitis. Medicated shampoos that contain selenium sulfide can reduce the itchiness and flaking of scalp. It helps prevent irritation and redness as well. You can get drugstore shampoos or prescription medicated shampoos that contain selenium sulfide.

    Woman scratching her scalp


    Dandruff is different from seborrheic dermatitis as it only makes scalp flaky and itchy. Seborrheic dermatitis can also spread all throughout the body and not only on scalp. Flaking caused by seborrheic dermatitis looks oily and yellowish. It can also cause pain or irritation whereas dandruff only causes flakiness of scalp. You can get over-the-counter medicated shampoos that can help alleviate dandruff. Here are some key ingredients to look for:

    • Coal Tar – Coal tar is a keratoplastic drug that can help treat dandruff. It reduces the itchiness and flaking of scalp. Coal tar is found in many anti-dandruff shampoos. A small amount of coal tar is safe for scalp. However, using shampoos with large amount of coal tar can cause side effects such as irritation, burning, and dryness.
    • Salicylic Acid – Salicylic acid is an ingredient that helps remove the buildup of excess flakes and product residue from scalp. Salicylic acid helps cleanse hair and scalp well, which can cause dryness. Make sure you use the shampoo properly to prevent dryness, brittleness, and breakage.


    Eczema is a skin condition that causes inflamed dry skin to form on scalp. Patches of inflamed skin can be itchy and painful too. Dandruff is a common sign of eczema. This scalp condition can lead to hair loss if not treated properly.  Eczema is a more general term for scalp or skin conditions that cause dry and inflamed patches of skin. However, it is different from dermatitis and psoriasis. Below are ingredients you should look for in shampoos if you suffer from eczema:

    • Ketoconazole – Ketoconazole has antifungal effects that help reduce the symptoms of eczema on scalp. It prevents growth of fungus that may be causing irritation, inflammation, and flakiness. The ingredient is safe for scalp and helps treat eczema and other scalp conditions like psoriasis.
    • Selenium Sulfide – Selenium sulfide is a shampoo ingredient that helps reduce the itchiness, irritation, and flaking of scalp. Using shampoo that contain selenium sulfide regularly can help prevent eczema and other scalp conditions.

    Woman washing her hair

    Hair Loss

    Both men and women can suffer from hair loss. There are many causes behind hair loss. The presence of a hormone called DHT can lead to hair loss. This hormone attaches to receptors on hair follicles, which makes them shrink. It affects supply of blood and oxygen to hair follicles. Excess DHT can make it harder for hair roots to receive nourishment as well, due to shrinking hair follicles. Here are some ingredients that may help prevent hair loss:

    • Saw Palmetto Extract – Saw palmetto oil is extracted from the berries of the tree. The extract has properties that help inhibit DHT in scalp. This can control hair loss and prevent hair fall. The ingredient can be used in various shampoos.
    • Rosemary Extract – Like saw palmetto extract, rosemary extract has DHT-blocking properties as well. It even helps improve blood circulation on scalp to prevent shrinking follicles. Rosemary extract is rich in various nutrients that can help nourish hair as well.

    Head Lice Infestation

    Head lice infestation is a common scalp problem that can affect anyone regardless of age and sex. Even children suffer from head lice infestation. Some shampoos made to kill head lice used to contain pesticides, which are harmful to hair and body. These days, most brands use natural extracts such as tea tree oil. Here’s why:

    • Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties that help kill and repel head lice. Using shampoos that contain a small amount of tea tree oil can get rid of head lice and nits from scalp. It is important to use shampoo containing tea tree oil regularly. This helps prevent head lice infestation.

    How to Use Medicated Shampoo

    Medicated shampoos are different from regular shampoos. They often contain active ingredients that can have physical effects on scalp and hair. It is important to choose the right type of shampoo for your scalp concern. Some ingredients can have drying effects on hair and scalp. Make sure you use medicated shampoos properly.

    Most medicated shampoos come with instructions on how to apply them. Use the products as directed by doctors. They might also include directions on the label. Here are the basic steps on how to apply these shampoos:

    Shampooing hair in salon

    1. Wet hair and scalp with lukewarm water. Avoid using warm water since it can leave hair and scalp dry.
    2. Squeeze enough shampoo on palms to cover entire hair.
    3. Apply the shampoo on scalp and massage for a few minutes. Leave on scalp for 2-3 minutes. This helps active ingredients work on your scalp.
    4. Rinse off with lukewarm water and make sure to remove product residue from hair.

    Some shampoos should only be used a few times per week. They may have drying effects that leave hair dry, weak, and brittle. Make sure you follow the directions for application to get visible results. When you choose a medicated shampoo, check if the ingredients are safe for your scalp. Improve the state of your scalp and restore the luster of your hair. Check out this list of the top ten medicated shampoos and their benefits for your hair.

    Debbie Jean Harris

    I used to live in a remote small town just outside Omaha. When I moved to Maryland, I felt a bit lost and turned to writing to keep me company. I found my way and found a new passion in writing.

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