Imagine if there were a £4.99 cure for your rosacea. A cure that promised no use of antibiotics, no oral medications and no steroid cream rebound. Sound too good to be true? Here’s the thing, if you read around our world-wide-web, you’ll find 100’s of rosacea sufferers telling you it exists!
The answer… dandruff shampoo!
The internet tells us, dandruff shampoo is the perfect treatment for taming and potentially curing your rosacea. Is It true? How could such a simple thing work, when your doctors tried no-end of creams and medications? Is it even safe to use shampoo on your sensitive rosacea prone skin?
Let’s get you some answers my friend…
What Is the Cause of Rosacea?
The reason why, your doctor isn’t able to cure your rosacea, is because we don’t yet know what causes it. We have our suspicions but until there’s enough evidence to double, triple, quadruple confirm them, there will be no prescribed cure.
This is where it can sometimes get confusing. Cure is a pretty emotional word ‘eh. Cure means you wouldn’t ever have to worry about attending an interview in the midst of a rosacea flare-up. That you’d be able to eat spicy foods again and the sun wouldn’t feel like an enemy.
You’d get all that and you’d never have to panda to your skin again.
Can you feel the pin coming closer to your bubble?
While we aren’t yet sure what causes rosacea, we can’t be sure what will cure it. There are 3 key theories for the cause of rosacea. These 3 identified causes/differences between rosacea patients and non-rosacea patients could be independent, or they could all be linked! #DominoTrain
- An overgrowth of facial mites
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
For a fuller explanation of each number currently under suspicion of causing rosacea, take a read of, ‘What the Heck Is Rosacea?’…
Whether your rosacea can be cured or treated by dandruff shampoo, will depend on the cause of yours. This is all getting very Mr.Green with the spanner in the dining room ‘eh *winks*.
Dandruff shampoo could improve and potentially cure your rosacea if…
- Your rosacea cause is an overgrowth of facial mites.
- Facial mites is your only cause of rosacea.
- Overgrowth of facial mites are a cause of rosacea and not a consequence of under-lying genetic factors.
Rosacea and Dandruff Shampoo – How Could It Work?
If you’re feeling panic (or a sudden itchy feeling) at the thought of facial mites living on your skin, let me reassure you we all have them! We all have them, it’s completely normal to have them and in the right amounts, it’s even healthy to have them.
You might have seen or even used some skincare products designed to add back to this healthy balance. I like to call them yogurt for your skin!
In just the same way a pro-biotic yogurt helps the healthy bacteria in your gut. The design of pro-biotic skincare is to create balance within your skins. You’ll hear it called the microbiome, it’s kinda like your body’s own project Eden *winks*.
If you’re wondering what probiotic skincare looks like, Aurelia are a skincare brand that base themselves completely on being probiotic.
Back to rosacea and dandruff shampoo!
Dandruff shampoo is designed to get rid of flaky scalp skin. The kind that’s caused by an overgrowth or sensitivity to a microbe called Malassezia globosa (fungus). We have one hell of a microbiome ‘eh *winks*.
When we get dandruff, our skin isn’t reacting to the microbe, its reacting to other stuff the microbe makes.
Imagine a 2 year old toddler let loose on your scalp without supervision for 4 hours. Can you imagine the havoc they’d cause? The ‘fluids’ that might be left behind? *jokes*
That’s exactly what happens when you get dandruff. It’s what that dandruff causing microbe leaves behind that causes the scalp irritation that leads to dandruff.
Microbe -> leaves stuff behind -> scalp irritation -> dandruff
The active ingredients in dandruff shampoo are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. See that domino train above? They stop domino no.1 from leaving the station!
Now, I have another domino train for you…
Overgrowth of mites (called Dermodex) -> that have certain bacteria on them (Bacillus oleronius & Staphylococcus epidermidis) -> irritation -> inflammation -> rosacea
Starting to see how dandruff shampoo could help your rosacea?
Those anti-bacterial ingredients in dandruff shampoo get to work on domino no.2. Stop that one from falling and you’ve stopped the train from reaching station rosacea.
Rosacea and Dandruff Shampoo – Does It Work?
Yes and No… but more yes than no. Sat on the fence much ‘eh *winks*. Here’s the thing, dandruff shampoo works on domino no.2. That means, yes it will work, but it’s not likely to cure your rosacea.
A cure would mean getting your facial mite population back to normal (it’s up to 18x higher in rosacea sufferers). Dandruff shampoo doesn’t work on your facial mites, it works on the bacteria that live on them.
This means if facial mites are the cause of your rosacea, dandruff shampoo could push your train back from rosacea station. It’ll stay pushed back for as long as you keep using the dandruff shampoo.
Is It Safe to Use Dandruff Shampoo on My Skin?
Yes and No… but more yes than no. *winks*… Dandruff shampoo, and shampoos in general contain a lot of ingredients called surfactants. These are the ingredients that eat up oil and dirt. You’ll also find them in face wash. Have you ever experienced a ‘squeaky’ feeling on your skin? That’s because surfactants have eaten up too much of your protective skin oils. Which can be irritating and leave your skin vulnerable. #OutInTheCold
Skin that suffers from rosacea tends to be super sensitive to any kind of irritant.
- Using an Irritant = inflammation (= rosacea flair-up)
- Irritant = itchiness (= more rosacea symptoms)
- Irritant = bad skin health (= worsening of rosacea)
If your skin is sensitive because of the rosacea ‘n not because you have a sensitive skin type. Then rosacea and dandruff shampoo could be a winning relationship for you.
If you have an underlying sensitive skin type, then you might end up keeping rosacea flare-ups away, but you’ll end up with inflamed, itchy skin from the dandruff shampoo anyhows!
Pro tip: Using a shampoo on your skin is likely to make it dry, so make sure to use lots of hydrating skincare products afterwards.
Which Dandruff Shampoo’s are Best for Rosacea?
So, here’s the thing. You want to find something that kills of those mite bacteria, dandruff shampoos contain different actives. Which works best is a little hard to know as they haven’t been directly tested on those mite bacteria, so it is a little trial and error…
Zinc Pyrithione has some good hear-say evidence for helping rosacea sufferers. It’s an anti-bacterial and the main active in Head & Shoulders shampoo. You can find it in;
- Head & Shoulders (£3.50/500ml) – Zinc pyrithione & Zinc Carbonate
- Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo (£14.50/300ml) – Zinc pyrithione
Or, my friend, there are also Zinc pyrithione containing skincare products – as these are designed for use on your skin and not your scalp, they likely to be most effective and most sensitive;
- Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) Bar Soap(£13/90g) – 2% Zinc pyrithione
There’s also a lot of chatter about Selsun Blue shampoo helping rosacea, it contains an active which is anti-fungal, not anti-bacterial (remember the bacteria in the rosacea domino train?). So I’d recommend trying the above before these…
- Selsun Blue shampoo (£11.80/325ml) – 1% Selenium Sulfide
- Vichy Dercos Anti-Dandruff Shampoo For Dry Hair (£9.00/200ml) – Selenium Sulfide
Tell me your stories… Have you tried dandruff shampoo for your rosacea? Did it work for you? Let’s chat in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.