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Ketoconazole for Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor and Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

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Hi my beautiful friends, today we are going to talk about Ketoconazole which is an antifungal drug. It is available in the market by numerous brand or trade names by various companies. Mostly Ketoconazole comes as a 2% or 1% concentration for topical use.

Ketoconazole Uses for Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor and Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

I strongly advice you guys to consult your dermatologist before starting any new drug and take his/her advices. Dermatologist would be able to look at your condition individually and suggest the best possible treatment. Internet gyan is for knowledge and exploring the possibilities. I never advice self medication or self treatment based on internet results. Remember, it takes years and years of specialised study to become a doctor, so a doctor obviously knows much more than internet would ever do. Doctor treats you, internet doesn’t.

Coming to these two common skin infections:
Ketoconazole for Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor and Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor

is a skin fungal infection usually occurs in warm and moist environment. It is caused by Malassezia a commensal organism in the natural skin flora which overgrows under circumstances of reduced immunity, high humidity with lack of proper hygiene. The fungus manifests as hypo or hyperpigmented roughly rounded patches usually on neck, chest, back and arms.

Ketoconazole for Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor and Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic Dermatitis 1

Ketoconazole for Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor and Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic Dermatitis 2

Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic dermatitis

is something we are all aware of. Let me write a few lines which may remove certain misconceptions. Dandruff is not contagious. It does not get transferred from one person to another. Another very important fact is, Dandruff is not a sign of poor personal hygiene. It is a long term condition associated with remissions and relapses. White flakes of dandruff with reddish skin can be seen. Mostly greasy skin underlies these white or yellow flakes. Again, the same fungus Malassezia is the commonest cause for this condition as of now. Dandruff is the main reason for hair fall in many people. It is very important to recognise and treat this condition as early as possible to prevent hair loss.

Ketoconazole for Pityriasis aka Tinea Versicolor and Dandruff aka Seborrhoeic Dermatitis 3

For both these conditions, topical Ketoconazole is an effective treatment.


Ketoconazole is also used for other skin conditions, but here we are focussing on these 2 which are extremely common.

Ketoconazole Shampoo for Dandruff

The ketaconazole shampoos usually contain 2% Ketoconazole with Sodium lauryl Sulphate. SLS is only meant to provide lather. Some famous shampoos like Nizoral or Sebamed shampoos have the active ingredient as Ketoconazole. However, I find that SLS is extremely drying for the hair. Ketoconazole must be used during the flare ups more frequently. If you are someone who usually gets dandruff, then even in the periods of remission you must use this at least once a week to keep dandruff at bay. For minimal to moderate dandruff, 1% Kz is usually enough however for severe dandruff, 2% Kz can be used.

How To Use?

Wash your hair with the Ketoconazole shampoo like normally you would wash with your usual shampoo. If possible, leave the Ketoconazole shampoo in the hair for 5 minutes before washing off with water. Make sure you do not get it near your eyes or mouth area. Usually recommended frequency of washing is 3-4 times a week for upto 6-8 weeks.

Ketoconazole Lotion/Cream/Gel for Fungal Skin Infection

Ketoconazole is very effective against skin fungal infection commonly known as Pityriasis. One needs to be consistent with the application to get rid of pityriasis versicolor completely. I know the skin patches may be itchy but remember, scratching the lesions makes them grow bigger. Usually for skin fungal infections, 2% Kz is prescribed.

How to Use?

Apply the lotion/Cream/Gel over the affected area. Do not wash the lotion from the affected area for at least 3 hours.

Ketoconazole Lotion/Gel for Dandruff

This is something that I advice my friends who have very dry hair. Instead of using Ketoconazole shampoo, using Ketoconazole lotion in the hair saves the hair from getting dry.

How to Use Ketoconazole Lotion/Gel for dandruff

Use your regular shampoo fist followed by Ketoconazole lotion/Gel and then rinse the hair. One of my friends mixes 50-50 Ketoconazole lotion with her regular shampoo which does not have any SLS. Use Ketoconazole lotion which is not oily or non greasy. Kz lotion usually is almost like a gel and comes off completely. If you are still not satisfied, try adding a little shampoo in the ketoconazole lotion itself after the first step.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Ketoconazole shampoos is that they make the hair extremely dry due to high SLS content. We want to get rid of dandruff but that does not mean we want to destroy our hair. So this method of using ketoconazole lotion/gel in the hair really eliminates the side effect of hair dryness. Of course, make sure that the Ketoconazole you are using for this is devoid of any cream base and is preferably a gel based formula.

PS. This is an informative post. It is advised that you consult your dermatologist for complete treatment of any skin or hair condition.

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