Alpecin Dandruff Killer Shampoo in a dermatological anti-dandruff test

Conducted by Derma Consult, organisation specialised in dermatological testing, Alfter.

Product: Alpecin Dandruff Killer Shampoo for dandruff

Test subjects: 10 male and female test subjects between the ages of 18 and 65 with severe or very severe dandruff.

Time period: The test subjects used Alpecin Dandruff Killer Shampoo every other day for four weeks.

Problem and study objective

Persistent dandruff (Pityriasis simplex capitis) is a cosmetic problem that occurs throughout the entire population. However, due to increased sebum production, males are frequently more strongly affected, since sebum promotes the formation of dandruff.

Dandruff occurs due to the increased detachment of keratinous cells that are normally not visible to the naked eye. However, if the scalp loses its natural balance, there is increased growth of yeast (Malassezia ovalis), which irritates the scalp and encourages the formation of keratinous cells. Excessive sebum makes these cells stick together to form large, visible dandruff.

This study tested the performance of an anti-dandruff shampoo that combines four anti-dandruff ingredients with different modes of action. Zinc pyrithione and piroctone olamine have an antimicrobial effect against fungi, yeast and bacteria; salicylic acid and fumaric acid help remove existing dandruff. The combination of these principles is designed to help reduce dandruff in a sustained manner.

Study design

The test was conducted with test subjects between the ages of 18 and 65 who suffered from severe to extremely severe dandruff.

To ensure that all test subjects started the study under comparable conditions, the test subject‘s scalps were prepared with a neutral shampoo without anti-dandruff ingredients for two weeks prior to the start of the study.

Subsequently, the test shampoo was applied under standardised conditions for a time period of four weeks. After 14 and 28 days of application, standardised photographs of the treated scalp areas were taken. Based on these photographs, the formation of dandruff was assessed and quantitatively classified by a dermatologist.

Fig. 1 Scalp at the start of the study
Fig. 2 Scalp after 14 days of treatment
Fig. 3 Scalp after 28 days of treatment


As shown in Graphic 1, an excellent reduction in dandruff was observed after just 14 days of shampoo application. This very good result was also confirmed after 28 days of application.

The comparison of the scalp photographs supports the quantitative results very well [Figures 1-3].


The present study shows that an excellent and sustained reduction in dandruff took place based on the combination of the four anti-dandruff ingredients. The different modes of action of the four ingredients ideally complement each other. Salicylic acid and fumaric acid facilitate the removal of existing dandruff, and the smoothed scalp surface prevents the new colonization of microorganisms. Based on their antimicrobial properties, zinc pyrithione and piroctone olamine prevent the formation of new dandruff and restore the scalp’s natural balance