Zinc pee-ree-tyone. You probably haven’t heard of this ingredient before, but you probably will in the coming months.

Zinc Pyrithione is the most used active in anti-dandruff shampoos. It works by killing both local fungi and bacteria on the scalp. It’s cheap, efficient and has a variety of uses outside of haircare: you find it in kitchen sponges so that they don’t grow mouldy for example.

So as of today, it’s the main active ingredient used in the anti-dandruff shampoos from the biggest and most famous brands. But this is going to change.

Earlier this year, the European Union decided to put the ingredient on the banned list because of its potential to damage DNA. Which means that the main ingredient in dandruff shampoos is being banned. In the dandruff shampoo circles, it’s big news!

For Gallinée we see it as a good thing. Not because of the risk of cancer, because science has shown it’s ok at low concentrations. But, it means a LOT of products need to be reformulated.

And formulators will have two choices:

  • Same of the old stuff: There are a few alternatives to Zinc Pyrithione: Piroctone Olamine, Ketokonazole, Coal Tar. The idea of these ingredients is always the same: kill Malassezia, the yeast that overgrows and creates the flakes. It works, but only for a bit as Malassezia tends to adapt and reappear.
  • Something new: Why if, instead of trying to fix things by killing the ecosystem, we were helping by supporting the resident microbiome and help them keep Malassezia under control? That’s the route we’ve taken with our Soothing Cleansing Cream, and the results are there! We’re thinking lactic acid, fermented rice water, prebiotics, etc.

I think it will probably a bit of both, but in any way, this is going to be a few interesting months in the dandruff world. Which, let’s be honest, is not always super exciting! 

And you, had you ever heard of Zinc Pyrithione before?

Marie Drago, founder of Gallinée

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