Comparative anti-dandruff efficacy between a tar and a non-tar shampoo

Dermatology. 2000;200(2):181-4. doi: 10.1159/000018362.


A randomized double-blind clinical study was conducted on two groups of 30 volunteers using either a non-tar shampoo (2% salicylic acid, 0.75% piroctone olamine and 0.5% elubiol) or a 0.5% coal tar shampoo. Subjects were diagnosed as having moderate to marked dandruff. The study consisted of a 3-week washout, followed by a 4-week treatment and a 4-week posttreatment regression phase. The clinical evaluations and subject self-assessments showed that the non-tar shampoo was as effective as the tar shampoo. Both received high approval ratings (> or =70%). Biometrological methods proved to be more sensitive than clinical evaluations to assess the efficacy of the shampoos. The non-tar shampoo yielded a significantly better reduction of Malassezia spp. counts (p<0.02) during the treatment phase and reduced the spontaneous increase in squamometry values (p< 0.01) during the posttreatment phase. It is concluded that a formulation associating salicylic acid, piroctone olamine and elubiol exhibited increased beneficial effects compared to the coal tar shampoo.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coal Tar / analysis*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Hair Preparations / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / analysis*
  • Malassezia / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Scalp Dermatoses / microbiology
  • Scalp Dermatoses / pathology
  • Scalp Dermatoses / therapy*


  • Hair Preparations
  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Coal Tar