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13.9 Shampoos and other preparations for scalp and hair conditions

General Notes

  • Dandruff is considered a mild form of seborrhoeic dermatitis. Patients should be encouraged to manage dandruff with long term over the counter treatments.
  • Ketoconazole should be considered for more persistent or severe dandruff or for seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp
  • Corticosteroid gels and lotions can also be used
  • Shampoos containing coal tar and salicylic acid may also be useful
  • Patients who do not respond to these treatments may need to be referred to exclude the possibility of other skin conditions


1st choiceCapasal® shampoo 250mls (coal tar 1%, coconut oil 1%, salicylic acid 0.5%)
Polytar Scalp shampoo 150mls
T/gel® shampoo 125mls/250mls
(coal tar extract 2%)

Shampoos with antifungal

1st choice

 Nizoral® 2% Shampoo (ketoconazole 2%) 120mls

Scalp Treatments

1st choice

 Cocois® ointment: (coal tar solution 12%, salicylic acid 2%, precipitated sulphur 4% in coconut oil emulsion basis)

Prescribing Notes

  • Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Shampoo formulations are preferred for moderate scaly scalp conditions, whereas more severe conditions may require an ointment
  • Ketoconazole shampoo is often helpful for seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp