What is Climbazole?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Climbazole is often found in shampoos formulated to treat dandruff.
Climbazole is often found in shampoos formulated to treat dandruff.

Climbazole is an anti-fungal ingredient that is used in over the counter shampoos to treat dandruff caused by a fungal infection. Most dandruff problems are a result of fungus, and the most effective treatment is a dandruff shampoo that delivers the medication directly to the scalp.

Consumers evaluating dandruff shampoo may find that most contain several “active ingredients.” In some brands, they’ll find climbazole, which is usually combined with other medicines like zinc pyrithione. The addition of extra anti-fungal medications may help dandruff shampoo work more effectively. Clinical research, suggests that climbazole is relatively effective alone. One study performed in Germany in the early 2000s indicated about eight out of ten people had moderate improvement of dandruff symptoms with the anti-fungal medicine after about four weeks of use. The other 20% showed mild improvement, though not full cessation of dandruff symptoms.

A negative side effect of climbazole may be increased itchiness of the scalp.
A negative side effect of climbazole may be increased itchiness of the scalp.

There are additional studies that back up the effectiveness of climbazole and reveal more about it. Its wide availability in so many over the counter products raises questions about its safety. Generally, findings are that this anti-fungal is safe. A small percentage of people may still have adverse reactions to it. The most negative side effects are increased itchiness of the scalp or localized skin irritation.

Visible white flakes of dry dead skin on the scalp are a sign of dandruff.
Visible white flakes of dry dead skin on the scalp are a sign of dandruff.

People using a dandruff shampoo at home aren’t always able to tell that climbazole is the active ingredient creating the problem. Any number of the chemicals in most shampoos will result in skin irritation in some users. Certainly, it makes sense to discontinue use of the offending shampoo and replace it with something much gentler. People could also retry a different shampoo with climbazole to determine if that is the offending ingredient, once rash and irritation have subsided. Should this anti-fungal be causing the problem, there are many other anti-fungal dandruff treatments available.

Most dandruff problems are a result of fungus.
Most dandruff problems are a result of fungus.

With the wealth of chemicals people regularly use, there exists concern about the safety of each. Some studies in rat populations suggest that systemic or organ toxicity may occur with regular use of climbazole. These studies date back to the late 20th century and don’t remain well-supported by present research. Moreover, the studies are limited to rats and no evidence of harmfulness in human populations from use of this anti-fungal has been proven.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • Climbazole is often found in shampoos formulated to treat dandruff.
      Climbazole is often found in shampoos formulated to treat dandruff.
    • A negative side effect of climbazole may be increased itchiness of the scalp.
      A negative side effect of climbazole may be increased itchiness of the scalp.
    • Visible white flakes of dry dead skin on the scalp are a sign of dandruff.
      Visible white flakes of dry dead skin on the scalp are a sign of dandruff.
    • Most dandruff problems are a result of fungus.
      Most dandruff problems are a result of fungus.