Last updated: August 20, 2021

Our method

14Products analysed

23Hours spent

5Evaluated articles

77User reviews

Here is one of the most effective treatments for dandruff and other scalp conditions, ketoconazole shampoo. You may have heard of it, and if you haven't we'll tell you all you need to know.

Difficult solutions require drastic measures and sometimes when it comes to scalp skin health, you need a treatment that really works. That's why this medicated soap ensures a progressive improvement in various infectious ailments.


  • Ketoconazole shampoo is a scalp soap that contains ketoconazole in its formula. It belongs to the imidazole family of antifungals, which slows down the growth and reproduction of fungi.
  • Depending on the severity of the problem, two types of ketoconazole shampoo can be used. One requires a prescription and the other does not. Each involves a different type of use and application. In order to
  • you need to know how to choose the right shampoo to get the results you are looking for. Some factors to consider are the ingredients, presentation and weight.

The Best Ketoconazole Shampoo in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Buying guide: what you need to know about ketoconazole shampoo

Scalp conditions such as dandruff, flaking and itching can have an impact on our self-esteem and self-perception. So if you suffer from any of these or even more severe conditions, it's important to know that you can treat them safely. So don't miss out on the following information.

Feel confident if it's in your head. (Photo: Citilliance/

What is ketoconazole shampoo and what is it for?

Ketoconazole shampoo is characterised by having ketoconazole in its formula. Ketoconazole belongs to the family of antifungal imidazoles that are responsible for stopping the growth and reproduction of skin fungi that cause infections such as ringworm, tinea corporis, athlete's foot, among many others.

These can occur on the arms, legs, neck, chest, back or head in the form of rashes, irritation, peeling or discolouration. One of the various forms of ketoconazole is a shampoo. This product is used to treat dandruff (mild to severe), seborrhoeic dermatitis and tinea versicolor.

  • Eliminates tinea versicolor fungus
  • Controls flaking
  • Eliminates dandruff
  • Eliminates itching
  • Positive effects in a short time
  • May have side effects such as rashes or burning
  • Must be used under medical supervision
  • Cannot be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Prescription and non-prescription ketoconazole shampoo - what should you look out for?

This type of shampoo is very effective and is used in cases where medium to severe scalp conditions need to be treated. For this reason, there are two variables of the product that also determine the type of treatment you are looking for. We explain what they are.

Prescription ketoconazole shampoo. It is used to treat pityriasis versicolor, or tinea versicolor. It is a fungal infection that affects the scalp causing small spots or discoloured areas. It affects mostly adolescents and older adults. It should be applied once a week for up to 6 weeks.

Non-prescription ketoconazole shampoo. This type of hair soap is readily available and is used to treat dandruff and its symptoms such as flaking and itching. It should be applied 3-4 times a week for up to 8 weeks. After that, the product is only used for control.

Use with medical prescription Use without medical prescription
How to apply With little water With very wet hair
Duration of treatment Up to 6 weeks Up to 8 weeks
Quantity Do not use more than the prescribed amount Use the usual amount of shampoo
Physical points of sale In pharmacies In pharmacies and supermarkets

Shopping criteria

If you are looking for a ketoconazole shampoo treatment to treat your scalp, we recommend that you consider the following points when making your choice. The purpose of reviewing these aspects is so that you can purchase the product that will bring you the most benefits.


A ketoconazole shampoo, because it contains ketoconazole in its formula, is in itself effective. However, it is possible that you may find products that contain some other active ingredient that intensifies the results and helps you to treat your condition. Some of the most effective ones are:

Salicylic acid. This is a colourless solid that comes from willow bark and is used to exfoliate the scalp. This gets rid of the layers of dead skin that cause flaking. If your shampoo contains this ingredient we recommend using a conditioner afterwards as it can be very drying.

Zinc pyrithione. An antifungal and antibiotic that helps eliminate the fungus that causes dandruff. Another function it has is to slow down cell turnover, which causes flaking. This is one of the most commonly used ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos and is recommended for its positive effects.

Tar derivatives. This ingredient comes from coal tar when it is manufactured. It is also listed as a good aid in the treatment of dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis. It slows down hair cell renewal, preventing flaking. If you have light-coloured hair, we do not recommend it as it can change your colour.

Selenium sulphide. To treat some cases of pityriasis versicolor. In addition to killing the fungus that causes this infection, it helps to keep the skin cells alive to prevent early desquamation. It can also bleach the hair, so we recommend you follow the instructions for use carefully.

The health of your hair does matter, and matters a lot! (Photo: belchonock/


Ketoconazole shampoo for treating scalp conditions can come in different forms. These vary depending on the type of treatment you require, so there can be a big difference in size and price. Here's how you can find them.

Small presentations. These are usually between 100 ml and 120 ml. If your problem is severe and you require a shampoo with a medical description, this is the type of presentation you will find. It should only be used 1-2 times a week. You should only consider that this type of presentation is usually much more expensive because of its formula.

Medium and large sizes. If you want to have a continuous control of conditions such as dandruff and flaking, you should use the shampoo consistently (4 to 5 times a week) so it is good to look for products of more than 200 ml. There are presentations of 200 ml, 230 ml, 500 ml and up to 700 ml.


If you have any of the following conditions or a reaction to the product, it is not recommended to use it or to continue its use. Despite the scientific absence of possible harm in some cases, experts prefer to avoid its use if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You are allergic to ketoconazole or any imidazole derivative.
  • If you experience burning, itching, stinging, stinging or redness.
  • If you notice a change in the structure of your hair (especially if it is curly)

Image source: Torwai Suebsri/