What Is Therapeutic Shampoo?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2019
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Therapeutic shampoo refers to any product which is used to clean the hair as well as to treat a particular condition. Most conditions therapeutic shampoo aims to treat involve the skin of the scalp since it is prone to certain conditions such as dandruff, psoriasis, and even parasitic infestations like head lice.These shampoos may have to be alternated with regular shampoos because they are often damaging to the hair.

One type of therapeutic shampoo is used in the treatment of dandruff. This is a condition of the scalp that is hallmarked by flaky skin and sometimes redness and severe itching. Although the appearance of the skin in those with dandruff is similar to what one would expect in those with dry skin, this condition is often caused by an overproduction of new skin cells. The skin rejuvenates faster than the dead cells can be shed, and it's more common in those with oil complexions. Dandruff shampoo is sold over the counter and should be used a few times a week for the treatment of dandruff.


There are other skin conditions of the scalp that may also require the use of a therapeutic shampoo. These can include psoriasis and eczema, but there are a wide range of others that may occur. Shampoos contain tea tree oil, sulfur, and other ingredients may be used to help treat these conditions. It is generally best to start with the mildest potential treatment and then work up from there to harsher treatments. For severe skin conditions, a doctor should be notified because a medicated shampoo may be prescribed.

A dermatologist may prescribe a medicated therapeutic shampoo for those with serious problems of the scalp. This can include severe skin irritation like peeling, bleeding, scabbing, or itching. Other times, shampoos may be used to prevent the hair from falling out, but this is less common. Over the counter shampoos for baldness are also available, and they may help those who have genetic reasons for hair loss.

Another type of shampoo includes those used to treat head lice and similar conditions. Lice are small mites which infest the hair and scalp. They typically lay eggs on the air shaft close to the head for warmth and cause severe itching and irritation in sufferers. Treatment usually includes use of a medicated lice killer shampoo and using a fine-toothed comb to remove any remaining insects and eggs.



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