A high glycerol-containing leave-on scalp care treatment to improve dandruff

Skinmed. 2014 May-Jun;12(3):155-61.


Dandruff is a common cosmetic condition associated with flaky scalp skin and pruritus. It is generally treated with regular use of antifungal-based shampoos. Research into factors underlying the characteristic skin lesions has revealed perturbations in epidermal differentiation and a dramatic deterioration in the associated process of stratum corneum (SC) maturation. These observations suggest that directly addressing the quality of the SC could have a scalp benefit. In this study, the authors investigated the efficacy of a moisturising leave-on lotion (LOL) containing a high concentration of glycerol (10%) and other known skin benefit agents (saturated fatty acid and sunflower seed oil) to reduce dandruff over an 8-week treatment period with 3 applications per week. Results of expert visual grading and biophysical measurements of SC parameters (transepidermal water loss and hydration) revealed a significant reduction in the dandruffcondition over this period, with significant improvement in both SC water barrier function and hydration. These scalp skin benefits were maintained for up to a week following cessation of the treatment. This study indicates that use of a glycerol-rich substantive LOL, designed to directly improve the quality of the SC barrier can have a significant impact on the dandruff condition.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dandruff / drug therapy*
  • Dandruff / pathology
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / chemistry
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glycerol / administration & dosage*
  • Glycerol / chemistry
  • Glycerol / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Scalp / pathology*
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Water Loss, Insensible
  • Young Adult


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Oils
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Glycerol