Don’t Rinse That Lather So Soon


      It seems like a no brainer-leaving anti-dandruff shampoos on for 5 minutes will work better than rinsing it immediately out. Amazingly, many anti-dandruff shampoos have instructions that just say “lather, then rinse.“ 1% OTC Nizoral is a classic example. Studies with both 1% and 2% have shown benefit in treating hair loss, with the 2% performing better. No wonder- the 2% prescription version, which is twice the active ingredient to begin with, says to leave on for 5 minutes prior to rinsing Many have tried and abandoned Nizoral altogether for hair loss due to lack of effect because they used the 1% and followed the directions-that is rinse immediately out.

      What the following study illuminates, which seems like common sense, is that leaving the shampoo in for 5 minutes prior to rinsing it works better for treating dandruff. This without a doubt holds true for treating hair loss as well.


Int J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Dec;25(6):267-71.

Effect of residence time on the efficacy of antidandruff shampoos.

Piérard-Franchimont C, Uhoda E, Loussouarn G, Saint-Léger D, Piérard GE.

Department of Dermatopathology, Unit of Dermocosmetology, University Hospital Sart Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium.

Dandruff is known to be controlled by fungistatic shampoos active against Malassezia spp. These products also remove the loosely attached scales. This study was performed to assess the effect of a 5-min residence time on the efficacy of antidandruff shampoos. Two commercially available shampoos were used in two groups of 21 panelists with severe dandruff. They contained either 1% ketoconazole or 1% piroctone olamine. In each group, intraindividual comparisons were made by a split-scalp design between the effect of a 5-min residence time versus no residence time. Both shampoos induced significant reductions in scaliness and yeast colonization. The beneficial effects were obvious immediately after one single shampooing and 3 days later as well. The improvement was greater with a 5-min residence time. The piroctone olamine treatment benefited more than the ketoconazole treatment from the extension of shampoo-exposure time. In conclusion, the benefit of a residence time in treating dandruff is documented. The level of improvement in efficacy may vary according to the nature of the shampoo.


      Comment: Either Nizoral or better yet Piroctone Olamine based shampoos should be an integral part of any meaningful hair loss treatment regime. They are not terribly expensive but not cheap either, and they do a lot to counter hair loss.

      You’d hate to think that something as simple rinsing prematurely could be putting both your money and hair down the drain.



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