We receive a lot of questions from patients about shampoos and there is one in particular that comes up often, ketoconazole shampoo.  It is important to understand that most shampoos are not going to significantly regrow hair, regardless of what they advertise.  Many of these products will have ingredients that are known to help with hair loss, like DHT blockers or proteins, but it is not known how much of this is really absorbed in scalp.  This does not mean that there is no benefit to these shampoos.  While they will most likely not regrow hair, there is the potential to get healthier hair, less dry hair, or even increased volume.  In terms of what should be in the shampoo, ones that have panthenol and proteins can make hair appear thicker. Some shampoos have dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blockers in them, which brings us to ketoconazole shampoo.

Ketoconazole shampoo is a potent DHT blocker and is sold under the brand Nizoral. Excessive DHT has been found to be one the causes of androgenic alopecia.  It is important to note, that you would not want to use ketoconazole shampoo every day, and most people would only use it once or twice a week. Ketoconazole shampoos come in two strengths, over the counter, which is 1% strength and prescription, which is 2%.  When would we recommend these types of shampoos?  The over the counter Nizoral can be a good option for anyone with androgenic alopecia, also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss.  It is believed that ketoconazole shampoos may also have anti-inflammatory benefit, which could possibly help with other types of hair loss.  The over the counter strength can also be used for patients with a dry scalp or dandruff.  We often prescribe the 2% strength ketoconazole shampoo to patients experiencing severe dryness or seborrheic dermatitis.  Ketoconazole shampoos have been known to dry out hair, so it is really important to use a good conditioner with it.

In short, ketoconazole shampoo with an added conditioner once or twice a week is a good choice for any woman with known androgenic alopecia.  As always if you have any questions, we recommend consulting with a female hair loss specialist.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team

 The content contained herein is for education only and should not be considered medical advice.  Medical advice may only be given through a one-on-one, private consultation with an appropriate licensed medical provider.