Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoos that are Worth Buying

Dandruff – Causes and Treatments

beautiful woman in white bathrobe

Scalp flaking happens because of increased turnover of skin cells and can be triggered by several conditions:

  1. Small, fine flakes from the dry scalp can be temporary, caused by winter dryness. Many people get a dry, itchy scalp during the winter.
  2. Fungal dandruff is caused by the fungus called Malassezia which irritates your scalp and contributes to dandruff.
  3. Skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema, may lead to dandruff.

Anti-dandruff prescription shampoos have been the first choice for most people suffering from dandruff for years. There are also many over the counter chemicals based shampoos formulated to combat this issue. The best dandruff shampoo should eliminate dandruff without using harsh chemicals that have potentially harmful effects on your scalp and your hair health.

Unfortunately, some dandruff shampoos contain highly toxic ingredients that can cause health problems if absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or accidentally ingested. These toxic chemicals can accumulate inside the body, causing health problems in some users. Dandruff-fighting fungicides can also have an impact on the environment. The common anti-dandruff agents include coal tar, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, and zinc pyrithione. 

Coal tar is known as a human respiratory toxicant, allergen, and possible human carcinogen. 

Selenium sulfide is another toxic chemical that is commonly found in anti-dandruff shampoos. Studies have shown that this anti-fungal chemical is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. 

Ketoconazole is the human endocrine disruptor based on the classification and labeling of dangerous cosmetics in the European Union.

Zinc pyrithione is suspected to be an environmentally hazardous chemical because of its persistence and bioaccumulative properties.

Woman washing hair with sulfate-free dandruff shampoo.

Make sure to look for natural and sulfate-free anti-dandruff shampoos whatever possible. Natural dandruff shampoos are made of plant extracts and oils to provide relief from dandruff without any adverse effect. You can feel confident that you are not harming your skin and your health.

These shampoos tend to have low suds because they do not contain sulfates that produce a lather. They are made with natural ingredients without nasty chemicals we should stay away from. 

What are the Best Brands to Start with?

Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo for Anti Dandruff with Jojoba. Argan and Organic Tea Tree Oil is sulfate-free shampoo formulated to treat moderate to severe dandruff. Sage is dermatologist-recommended for its’ ability to combat dermatitis. Spikenard and Sage work together to promote hair growth. Jojoba and Argan Oils add shine to your hair, balance sebum production, and nourish the scalp. The consistency of the product is fairly creamy and like most natural shampoos, it doesn’t create a rich leather. It has a strong herbal aroma, but the smell doesn’t linger. This shampoo, as well as other Maple Holistics products, is not tested on animals.

The Wonder Seed Hemp Shampoo is an all-natural vegan shampoo formula that uses a powerful combination of plant oils and herb extracts to balance oil production, help soothe the dry and itchy scalp, and relieve scalp flaking associated with dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis. This soothing, balancing and moisturizing shampoo is completely free of harsh chemicals which may cause many chronic hair and scalp conditions. It is safe for daily use and suitable for people with a sensitive scalp.

ORIBE Serene Scalp Anti-dandruff Shampoo is a gentle dandruff shampoo formula that contains 2% salicylic acid. Salicylic Acid gently exfoliates the scalp to remove sebum build-up and dead skin cells. This shampoo is supposed to relieve and prevent dandruff and soothe the dry and irritated scalp.

Scalp soothing and healing ingredients include Bilberry Fruit & Sugar Maple Extracts,  Caffeine, Sugarcane Extract, and Orange & Lemon Fruit Extracts.

Oribe’s Signature Complex moisturizes, reduces breakage, and protects your hair and scalp from the elements.

Pea Sprout Extract stimulates hair growth and strengthens hair to prevent breakage.

This anti-dandruff shampoo is formulated without sulfates, parabens, and sodium chloride and is safe for colored and chemically straightened hair.

Leave-on Treatment: ORIBE Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-on Treatment is formulated to reduce scalp irritation and nourish the dry and itchy scalp. This fast-absorbing, leave-on treatment rejuvenates hair follicles and exfoliates the scalp while removing loose dandruff flakes.

The product is very easy to apply either on damp or dry hair. This vegan scalp treatment is safe for color and keratin-treated hair.

Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo for Dandruff is formulated with natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients to reduce dandruff, soothe the itchy and flaky scalp, and help control hair loss and acne breakouts. The shampoo doesn’t include any harsh chemicals, which is important if you have sensitive skin. It has a light, refreshing, and soothing fragrance.

This product is free of paraben, sulfate and animal testing. It is safe for color-treated hair.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo is formulated with natural and certified organic ingredients to deeply cleanse the hair and scalp, remove product build-up, and soothe the dry, itchy and flaking scalp. These natural ingredients help calm and clear the symptoms of dandruff and mild scalp dermatitis without the use of harsh chemicals. The African Black Soap has clarifying, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, but it can dry out your hair if used too frequently. To prevent dry hair, don’t use more than once or twice a week and follow with accompanying conditioner or any other good moisturizing conditioner.

If you travel a lot, you need a compact anti-dandruff treatment to pack it in your carry-on bag. Peppermint Shampoo Bar Soap will perfectly meet your needs while protecting your luggage from spills.

Another option is Solid Shampoo Bar for Dandruff or Touchy Scalps by Ethique.  This eco-friendly solid shampoo bar is formulated with natural oils that help combat dandruff and relieve sensitive and irritated scalp problems.

Seven Reasons to Use a Sulfate-free Dandruff Shampoo 

  1. Having a very dry scalp can cause flaking that provides a prime environment for fungi to grow. Sulfate-based products strip the scalp of its natural oils that protect you from fungal infections. Natural anti-dandruff shampoos are much less drying than sulfate-containing shampoos. These shampoos are very mild due to their herbal ingredients. Your scalp and hair are clean without feeling stripped. They do a good job of keeping dandruff under control without harming your scalp and hair. Although most natural anti-dandruff shampoos are mild enough for daily use, keep in mind that every other day would be a reasonable frequency of hair washing.
  2. Sulfate-free dandruff shampoos are gentle enough to be used on very sensitive skin. This is important if you are allergic to preservatives and certain chemicals in skincare products. Many popular shampoos contain irritating ingredients that can cause scalp flaking or inflammatory reaction. Artificial fragrance and harsh chemical ingredients often trigger or exacerbate dandruff. Natural dandruff shampoos not only reduce dandruff, but they treat and heal your scalp.
  3. Some active ingredients in medicated antidandruff shampoos can affect the vibrancy of your hair color. Sulfate-free shampoos are gentle on your colored hair. After dying your hair, you can use sulfate-free shampoo for dandruff with no problem.
  4. If you recently have received Keratin treatment, you need to use only sulfate-free products including sulfate-free dandruff shampoos. Natural dandruff shampoos are the only keratin safe shampoos you can use to keep your dandruff symptoms under control.
  5. Scalp inflammation can inhibit healthy hair growth, contributing to thinning hair or hair loss. Gentle sulfate-free shampoos help reduce the severity of hair thinning associated with scalp inflammation.
  6. Natural dandruff shampoos don’t leave your head with an unpleasant medicated scent that most anti-dandruff shampoos do. Instead, they have a relaxing and refreshing herbal fragrance that doesn’t linger on your hair.
  7. Sulfate-free shampoos are not harmful to the environment. When washed away there are no toxic chemicals entering the water system.

What Results Should You Expect?

A natural anti-dandruff shampoo won’t cure severe dandruff completely-however, it can significantly reduce symptoms and keep your condition bearable. A sulfate-free dandruff shampoo can definitely give you relief from itchiness and leave your scalp moisturized and nourished. It also makes your hair much better looking and more manageable.

Although they don’t create many suds they are effective in cleaning your hair.
Natural dandruff shampoos also help with scalp acne, skin blemishes, eczema, psoriasis, and hair loss.

How to Get the Best Results from Using a Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoo?

  1. Be sure to leave the product in your hair for at least a couple of minutes, to allow your scalp to absorb the therapeutic benefits. Massage gently for a couple of minutes to rub the product into your scalp. Rinse and repeat the process because the first shampoo will get the scalp clean, and the second shampoo will nourish it.
  2. Do not give up if the shampoo doesn’t work the first time. Dandruff is going away after each wash. It can take a few shampoos to notice a difference.
  3. Rinse hair with cool or lukewarm water. The cool water rinse helps reduce irritation. Your scalp gets itchy and dry when you wash your hair with hot water.
  4. Applying a vinegar rinse once a week helps with flakes and leaves your hair shiny.
  5. Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your favorite shampoo or conditioner to help dissolve the dandruff scales and keep the pores clean.
  6. It is recommended to use a good conditioner (Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Conditioner is a good accompaniment to any shampoo) because shampoo can be a little drying on the hair, and combing out can be a challenge.

If you have been using the same shampoo for several months, your scalp maybe seems to have become a little immune and the shampoo seems to have lost its effectiveness. Once you figure that the effectiveness of the product that worked very well at first seems to be decreasing a bit you should rotate your shampoos. Switch to a different natural brand every few months. A combination of multiple shampoos can provide long-term effectiveness.  

Medical Disclaimer

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Which Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to Use on Color-Treated Hair?

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