Does TRESemmé Cause Dandruff? Explained

Tresemme shampoo and conditioner dandruff

This article looks at the ingredients in TRESemmé shampoos and conditioners, the possible side-effects of its use, and also its effectiveness in battling dandruff, in particular. 

TRESemmé Shampoo Ingredients

TRESemmé has 12 different kinds of shampoo, which are designed for specific purposes such as hair fall, to promote shiny hair, smoothening, nourishment, detoxing, replenishment, etc.  

They all have a couple of unique ingredients specific to each of them, but this article will list the main ingredients that are common to all the shampoos. 

  • Sulfates

Most TRESemmé shampoos contain some type of sulfate, either Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Sulfates help deep clean hair and remove excess oil. The sulfates are necessary to allow the shampoo to foam and give a soapy feel as you wash.

  • Cocamidopropyl betaine

This is also common across shampoos. It augments the foaming capacity along with the sulfates.

These are also known as surfactants. Surfactants are used to help in the smooth application and movement of the shampoo across all hair types. 

  • Fragrance

They also contain some kind of perfumes or fragrances as well, mainly phthalates or parabens.

  • Silicones

Silicone is also a key ingredient in many TRESemmé shampoos. Silicone smoothens your hair adding a glossy coating and preventing frizz, so your hair looks sleek and lustrous. The main type of silicone used is Dimethicone. 

TRESemmé also makes shampoos that are free of sulfate, paraben, and silicone such as the TRESemmé Pro Pure Light Moisture Shampoo. 

ALSO READ: Is Dove shampoo bad for your hair?

TRESemmé Conditioner Ingredients 

Many of TRESemmé’s shampoos have built-in conditioning ingredients, but there are also separate conditioners as well. 

  • Silicones

The conditioners also contain Dimethicone to provide a sleek, shiny, and frizz-free look to hair, just like with the shampoos.

  • Hydrolyzed keratin 

This is an ingredient present in all TRESemmé conditioners. 

Keratin is the protein that makes up hair, and hydrolyzed keratin is made up of keratin that is broken into smaller molecules that can soak into hair strands and create a sheath around the hair strands that protects it from damage. 

It also locks in moisture i.e. it is a humectant and it prevents frizz and dry hair. 

  • Panthenol

It’s another common ingredient that is also a humectant and derived from pantothenic acid- a Vitamin B-5 variant. It is used to smoothen and strengthen the hair. 

  • Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a lubricant that allows for easy application and movement and promotes silky, glossy hair. It is also a keratin booster that promotes growth and blood circulation to the scalp. This promotes the growth of strong, healthy hair, which looks bouncy and nourished. 

  • BTC

Behentrimonium chloride (BTC) is found in all conditioners as it is a chlorine-based compound that conditions the hair, smoothes out frizz, and combats dry hair. 

ALSO READ: Is L’Oreal serum really good for your hair?

Why is TRESemmé bad for your hair? 

TRESemmé is quite harsh on the hair because it has sulfates and salt i.e. Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate which if used regularly can weaken the hair and in the long term can damage your hair strength. So you could use the sulfate-free version.

The sulfates also create irritation and damage to your scalp which is worse if your scalp is already sensitive. 

Fragrances/perfume on the label is actually an umbrella term to refer to 50-100 other chemicals which can be irritating to the hair and scalp. 

Various preservatives are also used in most TRESemmé shampoos and conditioners, the most common of which are Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and Methylisothiazolinone (MI). These preservative chemicals are alleged to cause skin irritation if they remain on the skin, but less so if washed off once its use is over. 

TRESemmé claims to have removed these ingredients but various products across jurisdictions still contain them.

The hydrolyzed keratin that is used to strengthen and protect hair, can in high concentrations do the exact opposite. With sustained use, the excess of keratin can actually cause more hair breakage, brittleness, hair fall, and dryness. 

TRESemmé also contains a controversial ingredient- DMDM Hydantoin, which it claims is certified as safe by regulators. But other members of the scientific community fear that this compound which discharges small amounts of formaldehyde can cause hair loss, and in high amounts and with regular use could even be carcinogenic. 

The presence of DMDM Hydantoin even in small percentages has caused fear because of many reported cases of hair loss. But many experts still maintain that its use in lower concentrations usually does not have negative impacts and is okay for inclusion in hair and skin products. 

ALSO READ: Does Heeta scalp massager good for hair growth?

Can TRESemmé cause itchy scalp? 

TRESemmé contains DMDM Hydantoin that could be responsible for scalp irritation, and itchiness because of its release of formaldehyde. 

Even the fragrances, parabens, and other ingredients used to add color and scent could cause irritation. 

Some of the ingredients mentioned above can cause reactions in the scalp. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate are very strong and harsh cleansing agents which cause dryness and itchiness. 

Propylene glycol, which is found in many TRESemmé products, acts as an antifreeze agent in shampoos, but it can cause allergic reactions and scalp irritation.  

Dimethicone, which is the silicone used to lock in moisture and create a sleek, glossy look can cause redness, rashes, clogged pores i.e. it is comedogenic and can block hair follicles as well. 

ALSO READ: Is Garnier Fructis bad for your hair?

Can TRESemmé cause dandruff or is it good for dandruff?

The negative reactions from the compounds/chemicals mentioned above could lead to an itchy, irritated, and dry scalp which further leads to dandruff. 

The dandruff isn’t caused by the TRESemmé shampoo itself, but by individual skin reactions to certain chemicals in the product. It does not hold good for everyone and is thus not a universal truth. 

Cases of dandruff caused by its use have been reported mainly due to the presence of DMDM Hydantoin and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and Methylisothiazolinone (MI) which cause the most itchiness, allergies, rashes, redness, and dryness. 

But TRESemmé does offer shampoos and conditioners that will moisturize your scalp and hair and prevent dandruff. 

The use of essential oils e.g. Tea Tree Oil and the application of ZPTO (zinc pyrithione) – a formulation that is designed to treat any scalp infections caused by fungi help to combat dandruff.

It specifically targets fungal infections, like the one caused by Malassezia, which thrives on the oil in the scalp and causes dandruff. So it reduces dandruff by killing fungi and also reduces hair loss due to too much dandruff. 


Anand Srinivasan
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