Shampoos with zinc are essentially dandruff shampoos. The chemical ingredient is zinc pyrithione, and three popular brand names on the market are Head & Shoulders, Denorex, and Dermazinc. Dandruff is seborrhoea of the scalp. Seborrhoea is an extremely common skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body where high concentrations of oil, or sebum, exist. Nearly 5 per cent of the population has the condition, says MedicineNet.com. An itchy red rash can appear with seborrhoea, and it's more common in men than women.
Commonly targeted areas where seborrhoea can occur are any folds of skin--as those under the breasts, along with the face, ears, chest, and, of course, scalp. No one really knows how seborrhoea arises. According to MedicineNet.com, Malassezia furfur is a skin yeast that is suspected of playing a part.
Dandruff, that all-too frequently advertised social stigma, is a seborrhoea infection. More scientifically known as seborrhoea of the scalp, dandruff is seen as thick, scaly patches on the head. But when seborrhoea occurs on the face, look for brownish, dry or greasy scaling around the nose, behind the ears and over the eyebrows. Be aware that seborrheic skin has a tendency toward dryness, but applying moisturiser, or conditioner in the case of the scalp, will worsen the redness and itching.
An antiseborrheic, zinc shampoo acts directly on the skin cells, retarding their growth and development, and thereby easing flaking of the skin. Besides zinc shampoo, other dandruff shampoo treatment options are preparations that have ketoconazole, salicylic acid, selenium sulphide, and tar.
Know that zinc shampoo and other shampoo preparations are effective at treating dandruff, but do not offer a cure. Even shampoos that require a prescription can't claim to keep the the seborrhoea permanently at bay. In most cases, dandruff is an occasional problem that requires treatment only now and then.
Zinc pyrithione is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, explains Drugs.com. The mineral compound kills a range of bacterial agents, including both staphylococcus and streptococcus. It is used to treat fungus-related medical conditions other than dandruff, such as athletes foot, eczema, ringworm, tinea, and vitiligo, among others. In addition to shampoos, zinc pyrithione is used in soap and lotions.