Ketoconazole Shampoos Deliver Benefits for Scalp Conditions

Ketoconazole Shampoos Deliver Benefits for Scalp Conditions

First developed in 1976, ketoconazole has been available on the market since 1981. Topical formulations of 1% ketoconazole are available without a prescription, and the drug is used in a number of products as a result. The drug is an anti-fungal agent that is effective against an array of fungal microorganisms. When the drug comes in contact with fungi, it changes the structure of the protective outer covering of their cells known as the cell wall. These changes cause an imbalance inside of the cells that leads to their destruction.

One of the fungi that ketoconazole is effective at eliminating is malassezia. Nearly all people have traces of this yeast on their skin and don’t experience any symptoms as a result; however, in some individuals, the scalp becomes overpopulated with malassezia, resulting in a very common condition–dandruff! While the yellow, gray and white flakes that signify the presence of dandruff can also be caused by dry skin, scalp irritation and poor hygiene, the yeast seems to play a role in many cases. As a result, many dandruff shampoos and topical treatments contain 1% ketoconazole.

Research into the benefits of ketoconazole continues today, and studies indicate it may have uses beyond the treatment of fungal infections and dandruff. A 1998 trial at the Department of Dermatopathology at the University of Liège in Belgium and published in the journal “Dermatology” found that men who used a ketoconazole hair loss shampoo experienced an improvement in symptoms. Since the study, many researchers have worked to determine how the drug benefits those with alopecia. One theory is that malasezia may play a role in hair loss by causing inflammation that increases the rate of shedding. Another is that ketoconazole interferes with the actions of a male sex hormone called DHT, which is responsible for symptoms of male pattern baldness. Hair loss shampoos like Regenepure DR or Regenepure NT stop the production of DHT and remove buildup from the scalp’s hair follicles. After totally cleansing the scalp, these shampoos stimulate the hair follicles to increase growth.

While science continues to work to understand all of the benefits of ketoconazole, doctors continue to recommend the topical solution and shampoos that contain the drug to patients dealing with dandruff and symptoms of hair loss. Although shampoos do not require a doctor’s prescription, those facing symptoms of hair loss should seek the advice of a doctor, as some serious medical conditions and dietary deficiencies can lead to thinning.

By Simon Shamay – Hair Loss Expert at


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