Piroctone Olamine

Piroctone Olamine, also known under the brand name ‘Octopirox’, is a compound that has a similar effect on dandruff as the well-known ingredient Ketoconazole. Studies on the effectiveness of Piroctone Olamine show that it also stimulates hair growth and helps against hereditary hair loss.

Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis can cause hair loss and thinning hair. It is assumed that dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis are caused by the Malassezia globose, a single cell fungus on the skin that occurs only on the scalp. Often times, the problem will not go away on its own and requires continues treatment.

Piroctone Olamine compared with Ketoconazole

Ketoconazole and Piroctone Olamine were compared in a study with 150 men who suffer from hereditary hair loss and dandruff *. The 150 subjects used a shampoo with 1% Ketoconazole or 1% Piroctone Olamine, 2 to 3 times per week for six months.

Both treatments show a reduction in itching and dandruff after 2 to 6 weeks. The effect of the treatments on various hair growth parameters is as follows (in percentages):

  • The severity of hair loss decreases (Ketoconazole: -17.3%, Piroctone Olamine: -16.5%)
  • The percentage of hairs in the anagen (growth) phase increases (Ketoconazole 4.9%, Piroctone Olamine: 7.9%)
  • The effect on the hair diameter is increased (Ketoconazole 5.4%, Piroctone Olamine 7.7%).

So the study shows that Piroctone Olamine scores better in a number of areas in comparison to Ketoconazole**:

  • Compared to Ketoconazole, Piroctone Olamine ensures an increase in the number of hairs in the anagen (growth) phase by more than 10% in 33% of people.
  • Piroctone Olamine gives 88% of the people thicker hair, despite hereditary hair loss, whereby this is 78% with Ketoconazole.
  • The amount of people that experience a significant increase (more than 10%) of the hair diameter is 28% with Ketoconazole and as much as 34% with Piroctone Olamine (10% larger diameter means that the hair became 20% heavier).


The above results show that Piroctone Olamine works effectively against dandruff and itching and stimulates hair growth in multiple ways. Piroctone Olamine stimulates hair growth by decreasing hair loss, increasing the number of hairs in the growth phase and increasing the hair diameter. When compared to the well-known ingredient Ketoconazole, Piroctone Olamine has a similar effect on itch and dandruff and scores better when it comes to hair growth.


* In this study, Zinc Pyrithione was included, which we will leave out of the picture seeing the minimal results that came forward.

** With the number of subjects that was used, it is not possible to significantly determine the differences between Ketoconazole and Piroctone Olamine statistically.




Pierard-Franchimont, C., Goffin, V., Henry, F., Uhoda, I., Braham, C., & Pierard, G.E. (2002). Nudging hair shedding by antidandruff shampoos. A comparison of 1% ketoconazole, 1% Piroctone olamine and 1% zinc pyrithione formulations. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2002, 24, 249-256.