Among the different types of shampoos, medical ones are singled out. To understand whether they indeed treat the hair, it’s necessary to explore the features of these products.
A medicinal shampoo is a product that not only cleanses but also helps fight various diseases of the hair and scalp. Since such shampoos are most often sold in pharmacies, they are also called pharmaceutical or therapeutic shampoos. There are fundamental differences between medicinal and care shampoos. The first difference is in the composition. The usual products for maintaining the purity of hair and scalp contain the following components:
- Surfactants. Their proportion in the composition varies from 50 to 80%.
- Additives. These include perfumes, preservatives, thickeners, silicones, and dyes.
Medicinal shampoos are characterized by an increased concentration of active components aimed at combating a specific disease or problem. Manufacturers of medicinal shampoos choose the following substances as such components:
- Acids (fruit or salicylic). They help to cope with seborrheic flaking. Salicylic acid additionally provides a healing effect on the skin.
- Antifungal additives. These include climbazole, pyroktonolamine, and octopyrox. These additives resist the uncontrolled formation of fungal microflora on the scalp.
- Selenium disulfide and sulfur. They reduce the inflammatory process, act as antimicrobial additives, and normalize the process of sebum secretion.
- Menthol. It ensures improved blood circulation in the scalp cells and minimizes itching.
- Quinine and aminexyl. Such components are essential for active hair growth.
- Protein complexes, collagen, and hyaluronic acid. Due to them, the necessary moisture is provided to the curls.
- Vitamin complexes. They make hair stronger and improve its ability to cope with the influence of various external factors (temperature, styling, or coloring agents).
- Tar. It copes with chronic diseases of the scalp due to a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect.
- Peptides and amino acids. They’re responsible for restoring the damaged structure of the hair.
- Various oils (shea, coconut, almond, or argan). They allow damaged hair to recover and moisturize it. Essential oils help boost blood circulation in the scalp.
- Urea and glycerin. They compensate for the lack of moisture.
Another component of medicinal shampoos is zinc pyrithione. Thanks to this compound, it becomes possible to fight seborrheic dermatitis and some other diseases of the scalp that have a chronic nature.
The second difference between medicinal shampoos and conventional ones is in the rules of their use. You should use such products not permanently — but in courses until you solve a specific problem and achieve a pronounced positive effect. Specialists necessarily examine shampoos that have specific medicinal properties and evaluate their effectiveness. Only after thorough checks, do such products receive the approval of dermatologists and trichologists.
Another fundamental feature of medicinal shampoos is their cost and the place of sale. Such products are more expensive than care shampoos. You can hardly find them in ordinary stores that sell cosmetic products for care and beauty. It’s recommended to purchase such shampoos in special stores or pharmacies or on the Internet.
Medicinal shampoos are sold in 250-300 ml bottles. This amount is considered sufficient for the course use of the product.
Taking into account what kind of problem or disease medicinal shampoos help you get rid of, they are divided into several types.
The first includes anti-dandruff products. Its appearance is the result of a fungal infection that affects the scalp. Medicinal shampoos against dandruff are characterized by the following action:
The minimum course of using such shampoos is twice per week for a month.
The second type of medicinal shampoo is designed for use against psoriasis of the scalp, manifested by the following signs:
- Skin itching and flaking
- Redness of the skin
- Plaques on the skin
In the composition of shampoos of this type, the following substances may be present as a medicinal component:
- Coal tar. It has a pronounced antipruritic and soothing effect. It makes the scalp more sensitive to ultraviolet rays.
- Salicylic acid. As part of the shampoo, it’s sometimes combined with sulfur, which stops the spread of fungal infection.
Pharmacy shampoos recommended for psoriasis give a positive effect only if used twice per week. More frequent usage may backfire and worsen the problem — unless a medical specialist recommended it to you.
The third type of medicinal shampoo enables you to fight zoster and pediculosis. In the composition of such products, there are components that provoke the occurrence of side effects. For this reason, medicinal shampoos of this category are most often prescribed by a doctor.
The fourth group includes shampoos that treat hair loss. They are divided into two subcategories.
The first one features the products that regulate the synthesis of dihydrotestosterone. It’s this hormone that affects the hair follicles.
The second subcategory of shampoos is represented by products enriched with the following components:
- Oils of natural origin
- Black pepper extract
Shampoos with this composition stimulate hair growth.
Recommendations for use
The rules for using medicinal shampoos differ from the rules for using their conventional counterparts. Compliance with these rules largely determines the positive result of treatment.
Firstly, you shouldn’t wash off a medicinal shampoo immediately after application. To achieve the desired result, you should leave this shampoo for a period of 2 to 10 minutes. A specific period is determined by several factors:
- Type of shampoo (against dandruff, pediculosis, or alopecia)
- Proportion of active components in its composition
Secondly, it’s necessary to adhere to a certain scheme during the entire course of treatment. In one case, you should use the shampoo daily. In the other case, you should observe certain intervals between applications. You can read the specific scheme on the packaging of the shampoo or find it out from the profile doctor who prescribed this remedy to you.
Another important recommendation is the complex use of medicinal hair products. Additionally, it’s worth using an indelible serum or a lotion that has a similar effect to the shampoo. It will provide a therapeutic impact on the days when you won’t use the shampoo.
It’s better to choose shampoo and lotion not only with the same effect but also of the same brand. This will enable you to achieve the desired result faster, and it will last longer.