Category Archives: Ketoconazole

Nizoral Shampoo for Dandruff and Hair Loss

Nizoral is an extremely popular dermatologist recommended Ketoconazole 1% based dandruff shampoo. It also has modest hair growth properties. Nizoral has over 50,000 ratings on Amazon, averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars as of 2021. It costs just $15, which is a very affordable price.

In June 2018, Germany’s Stada acquired Nizoral from Johnson & Johnson. For more information, see Nizoral’s official Instagram page.

Nizoral Shampoo

Nizoral A-D Shampoo for Dandruff Treatment.
Nizoral Shampoo 1% Anti-Dandruff.

Nizoral shampoo (1%) is one of the highest rated and reviewed anti-dandruff shampoos that you can buy without a prescription. I rank it as one of the 10 best hair loss shampoos in the world. You can buy it at most stores, including Walmart and Target.

Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with Ketoconazole 1%, is consistently rated as one of the best products to counter dandruff, scalp itching, flaking and fungus. We all shed millions of dead skin cells every single day. However, some people have excessive skin turnover on the scalp, leading to dandruff.

Nizoral (often misspelled as Nizarol) can improve psoriasis symptoms, scaly scalp skin, yeast infections and even foot fungus. Some reports suggest it can also benefit acne, although facial use is not recommended.

Nizoral 2% Dandruff Shampoo.
Nizoral 2% Ketoconazole Medicated Shampoo.

A small bottle of this highly rated antifungal anti-inflammatory product will last for many months. Note that Nizoral 2% shampoo comes in a red bottle and is a different product. The 1% Nizoral is an over-the-counter product, while the medicated 2% requires a prescription in the US.

Also worth noting, Nizoral shampoo can help reduce hair loss to a moderate extent due to its anti-androgenic properties. See the studies listed at the end of this post that support this point.

Ketoconazole: the Active Ingredient

To date, only two drugs with very different mechanisms of action have been approved by the US FDA to treat hair loss:  Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine). Spironolactone, while not officially approved as a hair loss treatment, is also an important drug for countering androgenic alopecia.

Nizoral Shampoo Ingredients.
Nizoral shampoo ingredient list. Includes Ketoconazole 1% to fight dandruff.

However, there is one other drug that has significant beneficial properties in helping hair loss sufferers. Yet it never gets sufficient credit. This drug is Ketoconazole, the active ingredient in Nizoral shampoo. It is an imidazole anti-fungal agent.

Unfortunately, Ketaconazole will likely never be officially approved to treat hair loss, because its manufacturer is unlikely to ever file for approval. With sales of Nizoral already going strong globally, it is probably not worth going through all the rigorous expensive clinical trials to get little added benefit in terms or increased revenue.

Ketoconazole is a synthetic drug that is used to treat fungal infections. In particular, the drug flushes out Malassezia (formerly known as Pityrosporum) yeast fungus. Malassezia has been implicated in problems such as dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. The latter leads to clogged hair follicles.

Other names for similar fungal infections and overgrowth of the scalp include Pityriasis Versicolor, Pityrosporum Ovale and Malassezia Furfur. Skin conditions such as tinea and ringworm may also benefit from this product.

Ketoconazole was originally available in tablet form, but has since also been developed into topical forms such as creams, lotions and shampoos. Note that oral ingestion of Ketoconazole can lead to serious side effects such as liver damage in some patients. However, topical cream and Ketoconazole shampoo usage have generally not been linked to such side effects.

My Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Experiences

A large proportion of hair loss sufferers seem to also get itchy and dry scalp conditions, including dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. I am one of those, although the severity and frequency of my symptoms is moderate.

Some years ago, I started using Nizoral 1% anti dandruff shampoo for my itchy inflamed scalp instead of other regular shampoos. I was absolutely amazed at its effectiveness in completely eliminating my scalp itching and dandruff for at least a day or two after each application. My hair looked better and healthier, and it seemed like my daily hair shedding rate also declined.

There is some evidence that Ketoconazole  blocks the synthesis of dihydrotestosterone in the scalp and acts as an antagonist of the androgen receptor (see list of studies at the bottom of this post).

How often should you use Nizoral Shampoo?

I would recommend using Nizoral shampoo no more than twice a week in order to prevent excessive skin dryness. You also do not want your scalp microflora and fungi to become immune to the effects of Ketoconazole. Overuse will make your scalp skin excessively dry and make your hair brittle. I would recommending rotating between several different products among the best dandruff shampoos available.

When you do shampoo with Nizoral, make sure to keep it on your scalp for at least 3-4 minutes after lathering and before rinsing. Some people recommend rinsing hair in cold water rather than hot water in the shower. The former prevents excessive moisture loss and skin drying out.

Shampoo Shortage

In 2012 or so, it seemed like US drug stores and pharmacies such as Walmart, Walgreens and CVS stopped carrying Nizoral shampoo, at least when it comes to the most popular blue bottle variety (see photo further below). I thought this was because of the warnings related to side effects from taking oral Ketoconazole. I later found out that the problems with availability were due to the shampoo’s manufacturer having production issues at its main plants, rather than any issues related to side effects.

Luckily, I had sufficient supplies to last me for a while, since you only need a small amount of Nizoral shampoo to make a big difference. Most people do not need to use it more than twice a week. However, this shortage continued in 2013 and I then had to pay a significant premium to buy it from a seller on ebay. A lot of people took advantage of this situation by selling their surplus Nizoral stock online in 2012 and 2013.

In 2014, Nizoral came back on the market and the shortages finally ended. No supply issues have occurred since that time. You can read numerous favorable reviews of Nizoral online.

Nizoral Side Effects

As long as you are not taking Nizoral (i.e., Ketoconazole) orally, side effects are usually limited and transient. The main side effects that can arise from using Nizoral shampoo include:

  • Itchy scalp.
  • Dry scalp skin.
  • An unnatural hair texture and feel.
  • Rashes, hives and other allergic reactions.
  • Red inflamed eyes in case the product accidentally gets in there.

Ketoconazole and Hair Loss Studies

You can find many studies that suggest Nizoral causes a reduction in hair loss and thinning. Ketoconazole has anti-androgenic properties that could slow the progression of androgenetic alopecia (aka male pattern baldness). Below are some such studies in order of oldest to most recent:

Regenepure DR

I have mentioned Nizoral a few times on this blog and even have it listed as one of the recommended hair loss products on this blog. For one, it is personal. That Ketoconazole 1% containing shampoo has helped me more than any other product out there when it comes to combating my on-and-off itchy, dry, dandruff or dermatitis inflicted scalp. Since I do not get excessive dandruff too frequently these days, one 7-ounce bottle of Nizoral can last me for quite a few months. I use very little of the product each time I shampoo with it since it lathers well, and I rarely need to use it more than once every two weeks as of late. There was a time I used it twice a week as recommended, but sometimes I felt that my scalp was starting to become reliant/dependent on its regular usage and itching more than normal when I reduced usage frequency.

Besides its anti-fungal properties, a second reason for using a shampoo with Ketoconazole in it is due to the fact that there have been a few studies that suggest that the product also has anti-androgenic properties.

Regenepure DR Shampoo With Ketoconazole

However, this blog post is not about Nizoral. Rather, it is about a new potentially superior alternative called Regenepure DR. Until last year, I did not know that there was another shampoo product for sale in the US containing Ketoconazole 1%. Then I discovered Regenpure DR and recently had a chance to try it. My first impression after usage was that it seemed to result in slightly silkier and smoother hair in comparison to Nizoral.

Regenpure Ingredients

Upon checking the ingredients of this product, I was impressed to see that besides Ketoconazole, this product contains Saw Palmetto Extract, Emu Oil, Caffeine, Jojoba Oil, Zinc Oxide and various B Vitamins (B3, B5, B6).

Saw Palmetto has been known to counter DHT when ingested orally, and many people have tried to use it as a natural substitute to Finasteride (although it can ever be as effective, even at very large doses). I am not sure about the usefulness of topical Saw Palmetto on a wet scalp, but maybe it has mild anti-androgenic or anti-DHT properties?

Emu oil has anti-inflammatory properties based on various studies on PubMed, as does Jojoba oil to a lesser extent. For self-experimenters, note that Blue emu oil from Walmart is a popular less expensive version of imported emu oil. Overall, these ingredients are far more impressive and superior in comparison to the list of mostly harsh ingredients of Nizoral. Moreover, unlike Nizoral, Regenepure DR does not contain sulfate.

To purchase Regenepure shampoo and/or conditioner on Amazon, click on the below photos (make sure to read the reviews on there first):

Salonceuticals

While Nizoral is made by multinational behemoth Johnson & Johnson (via the McNeil Consumer Healthcare subsidiary), Regenepure is made by a small US-based company called Salonceuticals. This company specializes in a few hair loss and hair health related products and one nail related anti-fungal product. Although I am impressed with this product, I would be more at ease if I could verify the ingredients of Regenepure DR (especially the Ketoconazole 1% quantity in each 8-ounce bottle) at a lab or via some government testing agency report.

Johnson & Johnson, due to its size, cannot avoid any mistakes in the legitimacy of its product composition and risk losing huge amounts of revenues across the company’s product lines due to bad publicity from one bad product. I am a bit more wary about products made by smaller companies. Most likely, US government regulations are strict and this product gets tested frequently. I am, however, curious as to why more companies have not come up with a Ketoconazole containing shampoo when the market for it has to be very significant, yet has been dominated by one product (Nizoral)? Is it difficult to get access to Ketoconazole or difficult to add it to a shampoo? How did Salonceuticals succeed where others failed?