How to fight scalp itchiness and dandruff - without toxic ingredients?

The European Union (EU) has banned the anti-dandruff ingredient Zinc Pyrithione due to its reproductive toxicity 1B of GHS classification. The ban will go into effect on March 1, 2022. Zinc Pyrithione (ZPT) is a widely used anti-dandruff ingredient that has been used for over 60 years. It is common in anti-dandruff products such as Head & Shoulders, Free & Clear, Kiehl’s, Alpecin, First Aid Beauty, and many more. At superzero, we do NOT use Zinc Pyrithione – in fact we found a more effective, natural and safe alternative.

superzero against scalp itchiness and dandruff

The problem with ZPT

The EU bans ingredients classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductively toxic in cosmetics unless the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) evaluates that the ingredients are safe under certain conditioners of use and the raw material is irreplaceable. In 2018, the Risk Assessment Committee of the European Chemicals Agency categorized ZPT for Reproductive Toxicity 1B after evaluation. While the SCCS issued a safety conclusion in March 2020 that shampoo containing below 1% ZPT should be safe for consumers, it cannot be proved that it is an irreplaceable anti-dandruff ingredient, and thus ZPT does not meet the exemption conditions and was eventually banned. In addition to the ban in the EU, Zinc Pyrithione has also been found to have some side effects such as skin irritation, dryness, and allergies. 

At superzero, we are committed to plant-based remedies for itchiness and flakes. We do not use Zinc Pyrithione in our shampoo bar for itchy and flaky scalps but instead use a natural ingredient that has been proven to reduce dandruff and scalp irritation even more effectively. Its name? Brazilian Ziziphus Joazeiro Bark Extract, a natural and safe alternative to Zinc Pyrithione. 

superzero against scalp itchiness and dandruff
What causes dandruff and itchiness?

Dandruff is characterized by an itchy and flaky scalp with a mild inflammatory reaction. There are several extrinsic factors (like excessive use of hair products, lack of hygiene) and intrinsic factors (like scalp microbiota dysbiosis, hormonal imbalances, stress, etc.) that play a role in causing dandruff and in causing scalp skin barrier disruption. Your scalp has a biotic network with important bacteriobiota and mycobiota components and a disbalance in the proportion of these major fungal and bacterial colonies can cause irritation, itchiness, and flakes. More precisely, the lipophilic yeast Malassezia (previously known as Pityrosporum) is believed to be the main cause of dandruff as its level increases to almost double of that of a normal level. Brazilian Ziziphus Joazeiro Bark Extract is a natural solution that effectively rebalances scalp microbiota, thus effectively treating dandruff, flakes and itches with lasting effects. In fact, it has been proven in studies to be more effective than Zinc Pyrithione in doing so with lasting effects while acting more rapidly.

superzero against scalp itchiness and dandruff

A clean alternative to ZPT to fight itchiness and dandruff

Clinical studies have shown that at a 1% use level, both dandruff and itchiness were reduced significantly after 2 washes and even more significantly after 4 and more washes – the reduction being at similar levels to Zinc Pyrithione but showing effects faster. Further studies have shown that Brazilian Joazeiro Bark Extract has longer lasting effects than Zinc Pyrithione since it does also regulate sebum production and thus avoids a rebound effect while Zinc Pyrithione was shown in the study to increase sebum secretion. And if that isn’t enough, Brazilian Joazeiro Bark Extract has also shown to calm and soothe the scalp and to help restore the skin barrier function.


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Important note: the data and effectiveness information above is for the ingredient used in our shampoo bar for itchy/flaky shampoo bar, not for the finished shampoo itself. No testing was done and no claims are derived for the finished product accordingly.