Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis

W. Steven Pray, PhD, RPh, Professor of Nonprescription Products and Devices, School of Pharmacy, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, OK

US Pharmacist. 2001;26(4) 

In This Article

Topical Minoxidil and Scalp Flaking

Although topical minoxidil (e.g., Rogaine) is used to enhance the appearance of the scalp, it may cause an unexpected effect. Alcohol in the product may dry the scalp, resulting in flaking. Then, after using topical minoxidil for several months, the patient may notice that he or she has dandruff. The pharmacist may expect to receive an inquiry from a user who has either never had dandruff or who grew out of it years ago. Company specialists stress that this is a common side effect, and that the patient may choose to discontinue the topical minoxidil for a brief period, using a moisturizing shampoo and moisturizing conditioner (e.g., Progaine). If the problem continues, the company advises discontinuing the product completely and contacting a dermatologist for advice.


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