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Zinc Pyrithione Shampoo on Your Hair: A Guide

Written by Ross Goodhart
Reviewed by Julie Karen, M.D.
Zinc Pyrithione Shampoo on Your Hair: A Guide

A picnic without fresh bread. A party with no music. The internet minus dogs. Some things just don’t work without their key ingredient.

Perhaps the best example is dandruff shampoo. There’s a wide range of different ingredients that dandruff shampoo brands use to fight a flaky scalp and dryness. If you want to be sure that your dandruff shampoo actually works in fighting a dry scalp, there’s an ingredient that’s absolutely essential. It’s called Zinc Pyrithione - and if you’re looking for a better scalp treatment to deal with those pesky white flakes on your head & shoulders, it’s your new best friend. Let’s learn what Zinc Pyrithione is, why it’s included in the best dandruff shampoos, and why it’s the gold standard in anti-dandruff scalp care.

What is Zinc Pyrithione?

Zinc Pyrithione - also sometimes called Pyrithione Zinc, or ZPT for short - is a specific form of the chemical element zinc.

Zinc is one of many minerals you should consume as part of your diet for your body to function well. It’s considered a trace mineral, meaning you only need a very small amount of it in your diet. (This is in contrast to macro or “major” minerals, which you need in larger amounts.)

Zinc is part of every cell in your body and is known to play an important role in moisturizing your skin and hydrating your hair. Some researchers in dermatology suspect that people with dandruff may be more likely than others to have diets lacking in zinc - although many other issues are known to contribute to dandruff, as well. These include seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, stress, family genetics, allergies, environment, and more.

Fortunately, there’s a proven way to fight dandruff, whatever its underlying cause. Study after study has shown that routine use of a shampoo containing the active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione is an excellent way to relieve scalp irritation and help eliminate dandruff flakes for all hair types. This makes it an effective cleanser for an itchy scalp and effective in delivering itch relief.

Of all the active ingredients people have tested in the fight against dandruff, Zinc Pyrithione has been the most widely and consistently proven for effectiveness in clinical trials.

How Does Zinc Pyrithione Fight Flakes?

To understand how Zinc Pyrithione treats dandruff, it’s important to understand a little more about the destructive cycle that causes itchiness and flaking.

Dandruff & Scalp Health: A Primer

People with dandruff tend to have an excess amount of both sebum and Malassezia yeast on their scalps, along with a buildup of dead skin cells. Curly hair, straight hair, textured hair, it doesn't matter — dandruff can affect anyone.

Sebum is the natural oil produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands to help moisturize your hair follicles. Malassezia is a fungus that lives naturally on human skin, and feeds on your sebum.

In healthy scalps, this isn’t a problem. Malassezia feed and reproduce in reasonable numbers, and they’re part of a larger ecosystem of microbes - your scalp microbiome - which keeps them in balance. But in people with dandruff, the process gets out of control. Malassezia breed like crazy, leaving behind waste and other byproducts as they go. 

These waste products can spark irritation, redness, and itching on your scalp. Pieces of skin then die and flake off. And those are the pesky white flakes that end up all over your hair and clothing when you’re dealing with dandruff.

How Zinc Pyrithione Helps Fight Your Dandruff Problem

Zinc Pyrithione is an unrivaled tool for getting your flakes under control. But how exactly does it work?

Zinc Pyrithione has a special chemical structure that makes it a powerful antimicrobial agent, effective against both bacteria and fungi. Crucially, it helps stop the population growth of Malassezia by keeping its cells from dividing. This is a key step in breaking the dandruff cycle.

Zinc Pyrithione molecules also tend to stick around in the scalp even after you’ve washed out your anti-dandruff shampoo. This is further protection for your sensitive skin - guarding against Malassezia coming back and keeping your scalp microbiome balanced.

Of all the active ingredients people have tested in the fight against dandruff, Zinc Pyrithione has been the most widely and consistently proven for effectiveness in clinical trials. Regular use of a dandruff shampoo containing Zinc Pyrithione is the science-based method to control the recurrence of dandruff and soothe an irritated scalp. Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo uses Zinc Pyrithione to safely and effectively treat dandruff. Follow up your shampoo with our Restoring Serum, formulated with Zinc Pyrithione to help continue your dandruff control between washes.

Zinc Pyrithione: One Piece of a Puzzle

So now you know why Zinc Pyrithione is a key in the fight against dandruff. But is it all you need for holistic hair and scalp care? Not quite.

When you’re searching for a dandruff shampoo, you shouldn’t always be limited to expensive Dermstore products or the big names that you find lining the shelves of Ulta, like Redken. But you also shouldn’t be limited to drugstore options, like L'Oreal Paris, Selsun Blue, and Dove.

Keeping your scalp flake-free requires a healthy, long-term routine. That’s why Jupiter was created. Our dandruff care products are backed by science and dermatologist-tested for real results. But our products are also designed for the human senses and complete scalp and hair health. 

Just check our label. Alongside Zinc Pyrithione, you’ll see a safe, clean, paraben-free, and sulfate-free ingredient list - including hydrating coconut oil, probiotics, and salicylic acid, which also works to fight dandruff. Lather up and help promote healthy, stronger, and shinier-looking hair. And of course, these luxe ingredients smell and feel fantastic.

Want to know more about our uniquely elevated approach to dandruff treatment and total hair care? Learn more about Jupiter.

Balancing Shampoo
Balancing Shampoo

Meet our head honcho. This soothing multi-tasker gets to the root of flaking and irritation, thanks to our star active ingredient, Zinc Pyrithione. Backed by a lush aroma of mint, vanilla, rosemary, sage, tangerine, and lavender, it’s bound to elevate your mood, and your shower.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.