Can You Use Nizoral Shampoo For Thinning Hair as Well as For Dandruff?

There are four reasons why Nizoral can also be seen as a potential shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss.

This page explains what they are so that you can decide whether or not his dandruff shampoo is worth trying.

And you can also use the comparison chart on the next page to compare all hair loss shampoos reviewed in this section (Alpecin, Nisim and Nizoral) as well as other hair growth shampoos too.

This should help you choose which products you might prefer to use.

Nizoral Dandruff Shampoo

Nizoral is a medicated shampoo containing the drug ketoconazole.

Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent, which is why the primary use of Nizoral shampoo is for treating dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis (as explained in the box below).

Ketoconazole most likely treats dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis by killing off a type of yeast called malassezia ovale (formerly known as pityrosporum ovale). This yeast lives quite normally on the skin but can proliferate, especially if it has an excess of sebum to feed on.

Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands within the hair follicles. So, given just how many follicles there are on the scalp, it’s easy to see why the scalp can be badly affected by these conditions.

Also, the sebaceous glands can be particularly overactive in those with androgenetic alopecia. That’s because sebum production is related to the amount of DHT present in the scalp follicles (high DHT levels means more sebum is produced). And, since many of those with androgenetic alopecia do usually have excessive levels of DHT in the hair loss region of their scalp, this explains why many people with hair loss also suffer dandruff.

But, ketoconazole also seems to help those with androgenetic alopecia – this condition starts off as thinning hair but can quickly develop into hair loss and, eventually, male pattern baldness.

How Does Nizoral Work for Hair Loss?

Can Nizoral regrow hair if it’s not even marketed as a shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss?

Yes, is the simple answer.

Studies have shown that topical application of the active ingredient in Nizoral (ketoconazole) can produce results comparable to minoxidil (with each drug being at the same 2% strength).

Here are the four ways in which Nizoral should be able to help if you have hair loss:

1. By reducing yeast levels in the skin. The body has an inflammatory response to the excessive growth of yeast, and this inflammation can affect hair follicle health. So, by reducing yeast levels back to normal (as explained in the box above) inflammation can subside and hair growth improved.

2. Ketoconazole is an anti-androgen. It can bind with androgen receptors and so reduce DHT availability to the hair follicles - something that might help hair grow because DHT is strongly linked to this type of hair loss.

Nizoral shampoo for dandruf... and thinning hair?

3. Less DHT, less sebum. By binding to androgen receptors, ketoconazole can also address the skin inflammation problem explained in point 1 above. That’s because, if there’s less DHT, there’ll be less sebum too (as explained in the box above). And if there’s less sebum (to feed the yeast) this should help control both yeast proliferation and the inflammatory response the body has to it.

4. Less sebum, more hair. In excess, sebum might clog up the follicle roots and contribute slightly to hair loss. So, if there’s less sebum in the follicles, this might also support hair growth.

Important note: Although high sebum levels, DHT, skin yeast (and the inflammation it causes) might all contribute to the hair loss process to some extent, none of them are the actual cause.

Skull expansion is the reason behind this type of hair loss, and I believe it’s only by treating this underlying mechanism that you can truly get to grips with your hair loss.

And this also explains why not everyone who tries Nizoral shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss will experience a positive outcome, as you’ll see below.

For Any Type of Hair Loss?

No, probably not.

Since ketoconazole is antagonistic towards androgens, it seems likely that Nizoral might best be tried with androgenetic alopecia.

However, the disease tinea capitis (i.e., scalp ringworm caused by a fungal infection) can lead to hair loss and has also been treated successfully using Nizoral shampoo.

As for any other type of hair loss, it’s probably not going to help. However, I would also say that studies on mice do suggest that ketoconazole can promote hair growth, and I’m pretty sure mice don’t suffer from male pattern baldness!


Nizoral has 12 ingredients including SLES (which was cautioned against as being potentially bad on page 1).

Obviously, ketoconazole is the most important Nizoral ingredient, and the one that sets it apart from any other shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss that you might be thinking about trying.

Any Side Effects?

It seems to me that an "occupational hazard" of being a drug is that it will cause side effects!

And ketoconazole is no exception. Here are some of the side effects you could experience if you try Nizoral:

  • Changes in hair colour and texture.
  • Hair loss.*
  • Inflammation of hair follicles* and skin (dermatitis).
  • Itching, blistering or burning sensation of the skin.
  • Increased tear production and irritation to the eyes.
  • Allergic reaction (e.g., swelling of the face, lips, tongue, etc).

* It seems very bizarre that hair loss and inflammation of hair follicles are listed as both possible side effects and symptoms that Nizoral aims to treat!

When taken as an oral drug, ketoconazole can also cause liver damage. But, this is highly unlikely from the small dose you’d get from a topical application of Nizoral.

Even so, clearly you don't want to use Nizoral any more often than you need to.

Studies have shown that effective treatment has been achieved with both 1% and 2% strength ketoconazole shampoo for thinning hair, hair loss and dandruff using it two or three times per week. 

In the UK, Nizoral is now sold without prescription at a strength of 2% ketoconazole. So, if you were to try this product, perhaps using it just once a week might be appropriate.

Some Final Thoughts…

There are loads of great Nizoral reviews!

But, virtually all of them are from dandruff sufferers, which is as you should expect because Nizoral is not really intended for use as a shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss.

Other reviews mention some of the side effects listed earlier, including an increase in hair shedding.

So, use Nizoral shampoo and you run the risk that you might just make your hair loss worse!

To help you compare hair loss shampoos and decide which, if any, to use, see the next page.

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Read next page? Which is the best hair loss shampoo?

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