Effective Dandruff Relief Provided by Shampoo Containing Zinc Pyrithione and Medium Fatty Chain Acid

Close up of dandruff
Notable improvements in adherent scalp flaking and pruritus in patients with moderate dandruff may position a shampoo as the new generation of treatment for adherent dandruff.

An antidandruff shampoo formulation (product code: VB-3222) consisting of a synthetic medium chain fatty acid derivative and zinc pyrithione was highly tolerable and effective for reducing scalp flaking and itching in a study of patients with moderate dandruff. Findings from this study were published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology.

A total of 25 healthy people with moderate dandruff on the scalp were enrolled in the open-label, single-group study. After a 2-week wash-in period, participants were asked to use the VB-3222 shampoo 3 times a week during the 21-day study. A 0- to 10-point scale was used to calculate the adherent scalp flaking score (ASFS) in 8 zones of the scalp for each participant, with a score of 10 representing heavy flaking. In addition, the Investigator’s Global Assessment for pruritus score was calculated, with a maximum score of 3 representing extreme discomfort.

In all in vitro cases, the VB-3222 shampoo formulation performed significantly better than marketed competitors, including a product that contained both zinc pyrithione and ketoconazole, in its fungicidal activity (P <.001). In the participants, the VB-3222 shampoo was well tolerated throughout the study.

Approximately 86% of participants had improvement in the ASFS by day 5, whereas all participants had improvements by day 7 onward. On day 9, mean adherent dandruff level reached a negligible score. At day 5 and days 9 to 16, there was also a 50% and a 95.5% reduction in the pruritus score, respectively.

Study limitations included its single-group design, the small sample size, and its exploratory nature.

The researchers concluded that the “potentiated ZPT shampoo, VB-3222, provides an effective, safe and sensorial attractive formulation for treatment of moderate adherent dandruff ensuring strong compliance.”

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Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Sadhasivam S, Garkhal K, Singh H, et al. Newly developed anti-dandruff regimen, VB-3222, delivers enhanced sensorial and effective therapeutic benefits against moderate adherent dandruff. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:187-195.