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Will copper stop your dandruff?

Meg’s brushing up on dandruff: I just bought copper-infused hair brush that supposedly gets rid of dandruff. Will it really work?

The Left Brain’s flaky reply:

Meg is talking about the Goody “Styling Therapy – Reduce Dandruff – Copper Infused” hairbrush. It claims to be “Infused with copper-plated bristles, this brush: kills 88% of the fungus that causes dandruff and dry, flaky scalp; destroys bacteria and fungus associated with common scalp conditions. Copper is proven to kill the leading cause of dandruff.”

I can’t find any credible research to show that a brush made with copper can fight dandruff. But there is a kernel of truth behind their claims. It is well known that metal salts of pyrithione are effective dandruff control agents. Zinc Pyrithione, for example, is widely used in commercial dandruff shampoos. There have been studies (see Nature and Pubmed) that show copper salts may have some effect, but zinc salts are by far the most effective. If a copper version worked better, trust me, big companies like P&G would find a way to sell that in a product.

Even if copper ions are effective, it’s highly unlikely that a copper brush could provide enough scalp contact to deliver any sort of anti-fungal effect. I say you’re much better off using products like Head and Shoulders, Selsin Blue, or Nizoral.

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