Head & Shoulders Shampoo in Pregnancy

Dandruff, which consists of itching and flaking of the scalp, can be more common during pregnancy. This is because your hormones are producing extra oil, causing buildup and flakes on your scalp. Before attempting to use medication to get rid of dandruff, it is important to consider the safety of any medication used during pregnancy. Head and Shoulders is safe to use, but you should still ask your doctor first.

A pregnant woman laying on the couch. Credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

Products and Ingredients

Head and Shoulders shampoo comes in a variety of types for different hair and dandruff problems. The regular dandruff shampoo and the shampoo and conditioner combination contain zinc pyrithione, as indicated by MayoClinic.com. Other Head and Shoulders shampoo products, such as the intense treatment shampoo, contain selenium sulfide as the active ingredient.


Selenium sulfide works by relieving itching and removing scales produced by your scalp. In some cases, it can cause side effects such as dryness. According to MayoClinic.com, pyrithione zinc is an antifungal medication that reduces the fungus that can cause dandruff. In the Head and Shoulders shampoo products, these medications are available without a prescription.


According to PubMed, use 1 to 2 tsp. of selenium sulfide shampoo twice a week for the first 2 weeks of treatment. After that, you can use the shampoo once a week. Zinc pyrithione shampoo should be used the same way. Be sure to rinse the shampoo thoroughly and follow the directions on the bottle exactly. If your doctor has given you different directions, follow the ones from your doctor.


Drugs.com states that neither selenium sulfide nor pyrithione zinc have been shown to cause birth defects if used during pregnancy. However, it is still recommended that you tell your doctor before using any type of medication if you are pregnant.


To reduce dandruff naturally during your pregnancy, you can limit the amount of hair products you use to prevent buildup and flaking. MayoClinic.com also recommends reducing your stress, which can trigger dandruff, and eating a diet rich in zinc and B vitamins.

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