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Listerine for Dandruff

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A gentleman called in to our public radio show with an amazing story about Listerine mixed with baby oil. His veterinarian had recommended this combination for relieving itchy spots on his Dobermans and horses. He found that it worked and tried it for his own dandruff. He told us that it gets rid of dandruff in two to three days. Listerine contains a number of essential oils (thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate) that may have anti-fungal activity. Since dandruff appears to be caused in part by fungus (yeast), it stands to reason that a fungus fighter could provide some benefit. The caller did not tell us the precise ratio of Listerine to baby oil so if you want to try it you will have to experiment.

  • Currently 3.4/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Didn't Work ..... Really Worked!
Did this remedy work? Average rating: 3.4/5 (119 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

37 Comments

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I have another ailment that Listerine cured. A few years ago I had surgery that required the use of a wound-vac. When applied, a thin piece of plastic adhesive is used to ensure an airtight seal. This was an abdominal wound that covered a large area of skin that became infected with yeast.

After two months of using large doses of prescription anti-fungal to no avail, I tried applying Listerine at every dressing change. Within 6 days the yeast was completely healed.

It also works for a baby's "cradle cap." An older lady had told me that when my middle son was a baby and had a raging case of it. I just had my husband hold him over the sink and was very careful to not get it in his eyes. I put a small amount on and rubbed it in before I washed his hair. It only took about two times and it was completely gone!

This concerns Listerine and its many uses. One boring saturday afternoon I went to my college library to look through old magazines. I found an ad (full page!) for Listerine in an old Look or Life (from the 1940's). What amazed me was the fact that Listerine was advertised for use against dandruff. (It showed using a cotton ball saturated in Listerine and rubbing it onto the scalp.) (UNTIL that day, I had never heard of Listerine being used against dandruff.)

That so MANY old-time remedies are now being proven effective excites me! Why, there might be a cure for cancer or other diseases out there somewhere in some old home-remedy book just waiting to be re-discovered!

P.S.: Vick's sure did clear up my husband's toenail fungus! He applies it once weekly for maintenance.

Sheila Anne, Branson

Listerene's original purpose (in the 1930's, I believe) was as an anti-dandruff product.

Listerine will cure toenail fungus. I had a very bad case of fungus in my big toe nail. I soaked my toe in Listerine for 15 min. 2 nights before bedtime. In less than a week the fungus is all gone and my nail is back to normal.

I read somewhere of a solution for "hot spots" on dogs: 1/3 listerine (any flavor), 1/3 baby oil, 1/3 water. Shake up in a spray bottle and spray on the dog, rubbing into the spot. If done when you first see the dog "worrying" a spot, it stops the problem in its tracks. I think the Listerine dries it out and the baby oil soothes it. It works like a miracle!

I HAVE USED LISTERENE FOR ITCHY SCALP, AND IT WORKS. I DONT ADD BABY OIL BECAUSE I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT, BUT MAYBE I WILL ADD THAT.
TED

When I was young, the Listerine label had a laundry list of items it was to work for--dandruff was one of them. My mom used to apply it to her scalp when it got itchy and flaky. I seem to get the same problem when the seasons change. A few applications at night before bed and the problem is solved.

I have very sensitive skin that reacts badly to everything. I have used Listerine for years to clear up small blemishes. Apply a dab to the area at night and usually by morning the spot is clear. It doesn't irritate the surrounding skin either. My husband has started using it for shaving bumps too!

I have found that Tea Tree Oil rubbed onto the scalp before shampooing works wonders to get rid of the dandruff.

Listerine was invented/created by Dr. Lister around 1870 to fight infection. it was then used as mouthwash. http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/cr9801.htm

I remember this from a film in jr high school (a long time ago).

I often get a very itchy sun rash when I first go on holidays. Listerine calms it down so I can sleep and soon clears it. It also soothed an allergic reaction after a massage. I dont travel without it.

Listerine is a great product. I had problems of soap scum build-up on our shower door. I decided to try listerine to remove it, and it worked wonders! I was left with a gleaming door. Just add a small amount on a bit of paper towel and rub. What a find--it's great!

I had dandruff & scaley flakes on my face. I used a dandruff shampoo which controlled the scalp problem, but not the facial flakes. I found a Tea Tree Oil shampoo & conditioner & within one week all flakes were gone.

I too read about Listerine for hot spots on animals. It works very well. Then I thought about my problem with yeast bacteria creating a rash. I use equal parts original Listerine, baby oil and water. Keep it in a spray bottle, shake it up and apply wherever Yeast bacteria causes problems. It works well, no more rash and beats RX creams.

I tried the veterinarian's solution, and it works!

can you share what is the ratio of veterinarian-solution, when is the best time to apply and do it need to wash after the application? anyway, pls share the procedure. This may help to all the people suffering..

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: LISTERINE, MINERAL OIL AND WATER IN EQUAL PARTS. LIKE ANY DANDRUFF TREATMENT, IT SHOULD BE LEFT ON THE SCALP AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES. THEN YOU COULD SHAMPOO IT OUT.

Listerine used to be advertised as a dandruff cure, as this 1931 ad shows:
http://lileks.com/oldads/30s/19.html

(I've no connection to the linked site)

Do you need to rinse the listerine/baby oil mix as I will be using on my horse's mane in the winter and cannot bathe him.

I just wanted to add my two cents. This stuff works for Lice too! I have three girls and nothing over the counter was working.... and we're talking $10-$15 a bottle per child and that was getting ridiculous. Plus the little boogers were coming back time and time again. Someone mentioned Listerine... bingo! Two things... it's cheaper $6 for the big bottle and its much safer than pesticides. I soaked my girls head in it and put a shower cap for about an hour... rinsed it and so far so good. I went ahead and did it to myself for preventative measures and that's when I noticed that it totally cures dandruff... it's an amazing product and I will never go without it again!!!!!

So, when you use Listerine for dandruff, is it required that you wash it out or can you just put it all over your scalp?

Hi, Thank you for your effort on educating people all over the world.

Could you please tell me the difference between dandruff and dry hair?

I have dry skin and when I use a normal soap flakes start falling. However this has stopped since I used DOVE or PEARS Soap, however the flakes are still in the hair, and keep coming back, no matter which shampoo I use ?

Shahzad.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: ALTHOUGH DANDRUFF SEEMS LIKE DRY SKIN AND CAN BE ASSOCIATED WITH IT, MOST OF THE TIME IT IS PROBABLY LINKED TO YEAST LIVING ON THE SCALP. THAT IS WHY AN ANTIFUNGAL SHAMPOO SUCH AS NIZORAL, OR THE SELENIUM SHAMPOOS LIKE SELSUN BLUE, OR A ZINC-BASED SHAMPOO SUCH AS HEAD & SHOULDERS ARE USUALLY EFFECTIVE.

I read about this somewhere too when I got my first toenail fungal infection from a nail salon. Worked beautifully.

Yesterday I applied some Listerine (green kind, its all we had) to a small portion of my scalp with a cotton pad. Left it on for about 10 mins then took a shower. This morning, no dandruff and no itchiness on that area! Gonna try this on the rest of my head for sure :)

I've been suffering with dandruff/dry scalp combination for 10 years. I really want to try the Listerine. Does it matter which one I have? I have the original which I'm assuming is the best one. Can I just apply it to my scalp with a cotton ball and leave it over night? Please answer back. Thanks.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: YOU WILL NOT WANT TO USE A COLORED LISTERINE (BLUE OR GREEN) BECAUSE THEY CAN STAIN THE HAIR.

RATHER THAN LEAVING IT ON OVERNIGHT, APPLY IT BEFORE SHAMPOOING. LEAVE IT ON AT LEAST 5 MINUTES, UP TO 10 MINUTES, AND THEN WASH IT OUT.

I developed a bad case of dandruff in high school and just by chance I read on a bottle of Listerine that it could be used for dandruff, I applied it to my scalp as the directions said it did sting but that was my first and last case of dandruff, I never shared my comb again.

I used Listerine (the original) on my head cause I've had dry scalp for as long as I can remember (I'm 30). I tried so so many products, but they all seem to work for a few weeks and then the problem reoccurs. I really hope this one works for me as I real a lot of reviews where ppl say it does work! I put it for the first time the other night...and since then, my scalp hasn't itched. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I know for sure I had this button growing behind my ear. I used all kinds of prescription creams but nothing worked. It remained for weeks. Finally I decided to put a little Listerine on it ever night. Within 1 week, it was completely gone! What a miracle!

My girlfriend's mother also used it to get rid of toe-nail fungus, and it worked. I tried it but I'm not very regular with my treatment, so mine hasn't gone yet... but will keep trying.

I always believed that there was something special about this product, as my grandmother (she's 85, but looks like 65) always recommends it for anything. You know what they say about the older folks and their home remedies...they work!

I'm going to try the Listerine and baby oil on my dogs. One has really bad dandruff and itches like crazy all the time to the point where she gets some bald patches and the skin can get a bit red and irritated. The other doesn't seem to have dandruff but does itch a lot and get a bald patch as well. Took them to the vet and they don't have fleas or any other such thing so really hoping this works! The 'special shampoo' the vet gave me has done nothing!

Just put the first application on both of them. How fast should this stuff start to work before it clears up the problem?

What about the Listerine/baby oil/water combo on cats? Would their grooming and ingesting the mix cause problems?

People's Pharmacy response: It might well. We wouldn't dare do this without consulting a vet.

I tried this remedy on both my dogs and unfortunately had no success. The only thing that is helping my dogs is steroid injection and antibiotics. Vet thinks they are both allergic to fleas so that even if there are only a couple around and we never see them it's enough to cause them these problems. Our next step is trying a new flea treatment. Hopefully it'll be the magic cure.

YES! This works! I have been using Listerine as a scalp rinse for over 10 years. I don't use it every time I wash my hair though, only when I start to notice an itchy spot or dandruff flakes. I might use it after a couple of shampoos then the problem disappears! It definitely works for me.

You should NEVER use anything that contains Essential Oils on or around cats! Some essential oils can cause kidney or liver failure in cats. Dogs are normally ok, but I would definitely check with a vet first. I discovered this when I was learning to make soap. Thankfully, I did my homework prior to trying it out!

is it necessary to add baby oil to listerine?if I do not include the oil, will it dry my hair too much? suggest please.

I am suffering from severe dandruff for last 10 years. During winter, the case would worsen, but during summer I get sticky dandruff. There is no doctor left in town whom I have not consulted. But none of their medicines worked to cure the dandruff permanently. I am suffering from hair loss for past four years. I would like to know whether long-term dandruff results in hair loss.

Also, I would like to try the Listerine solution. I would request PEOPLE'S PHARMACY to advice me on the exact ration of Listerine, baby oil (what kind of baby oil?) and water should be used. Also, please advice if using tea tree oil instead of baby oil will have the same effect.

Kindly mention name of a Listerine available in Indian market that will be safe to use on scalp without damaging hair.

Thanks & Regards.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Listerine is a US "patent medicine" mouthwash containing the herbal oils thymol, menthol, eucalyptol and methylsalicylate in an alcohol base. The formula is equal parts Listerine, mineral oil ("baby oil") and water. If you can't find Listerine, tea tree oil might be a reasonable substitute.

Just testing comments...

All the above comments are great but the reason is simple why all these products work so well. They are antiseptic products meaning they are used to kill bacteria. Listerine, tea tree oil, witch hazel all these work because they are all made for the same purpose to kill bacteria whether that be on your head, face or feet it's bacteria none the less. I would caution with the baby oil though, mineral oil has a tendency to clog up pores causing break outs. If you have oily skin you may just want to skip the baby oil. Good Luck with your spray!!

I've been using Listerine (amber, original) for scalp itch and it seems to help. The itch was so intense that it kept me awake at night. I apply in full strength with a twist-top bottle (I rinsed and filled an empty Scalpicin bottle with it). I carry it in my purse and apply when my scalp starts itching and it cools the itch. I am still planning to see a dermatologist because this problem has been getting progressively worse over the course of months, and nothing else has given me even mild relief. I think I will keep it on hand always as part of my medicine cabinet arsenal.

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