What is ZPT?

Zinc pyrithione, or ZPT, is an ingredient that has anti-fungi and antibacterial properties. 

ZPT is the key active ingredient in Head & Shoulders. The ZPT in Head & Shoulders is designed to have improved potency, shield the scalp and maintain anti-dandruff performance between washes. ZPT prevents the dandruff-causing microbe, Malassezia Globosa, from forming scalp irritants protecting the scalp from the visible flakes and other symptoms likes dry or red scalp which are the signs of a compromised scalp.

The use of ZPT in our products is safe 

Clinically tested over 200 times, Head & Shoulders is the most tested* and most trusted dandruff shampoo**. ZPT has been used in cosmetics and Head & Shoulders products for more than 50 years during which its safety has been repeatedly and favourably assessed by global safety authorities, incl. the US FDA and the EU Scientific Committee on Consumers Safety (SCCS).  

Some of you have asked about the safety of ZPT for the environment: as a matter of policy, we only use ingredients which are safe for our consumers and the environment, and only if permitted by authorities. 

ZPT is the most efficient and most used active for anti-dandruff cosmetics

Head & Shoulders has been on a mission to free the world from dandruff for more than 50 years. It is used by 1.3 billion people across 140 countries and is recommended by dermatologists worldwide.

ZPT is proven to be the most efficient active against dandruff. ZPT has been used in cosmetic products for more than 50 years in which extensive research and efficacy optimization has been achieved. 

Hear the experts on the efficacy of  ZPT in anti-dandruff shampoos: 

“Dandruff is one of the most common skin conditions affecting over 50% of men and women around the world. It’s also, a little annoyingly, what we, as Dermatologists, call a recurring condition. When using an effective anti-dandruff shampoo with proven ingredients, like Zinc Pyrithione you are effectively removing the cause of dandruff, Malassezia Globosa.”

Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz, Dermatologist, M.D.

“Zinc Pyrithione has been used in cosmetics for over 50 years, and has been proven to be effective in the treatment of dandruff. Products with Zinc Pyrithione not only remove flakes, they go to the root of the problem by removing the cause of dandruff, Malassezia Globosa.”

Dr. Lina María Llanos, Dermatologist

“The sebaceous glands in our scalp secrete sebum continuously, creating a perfect environment for Malassezia Globosa to grow. As a dermatologist, I believe in a long term approach to protecting your scalp against dandruff.  Products with Zinc Pyrithione create a protective layer on the scalp preventing the growth of Malassezia Globosa.”

Dr. Weixin Fan, Chief Physician & Professor of Dermatology Department in the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University

The Classification and Labelling process

The review of ZPT is part of an ongoing and routine regulatory process in the European Union which applies to a broad range of substances. It does not assess the safety of ZPT in cosmetics which in fact has already been undertaken by European authorities as recently as 2014. In more than 50 years of use in cosmetics, ZPT has been repeatedly assessed and confirmed to be safe by independent global safety authorities, including the US FDA and the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS). 

At P&G, consumer safety is our utmost priority. We are taking this process very seriously and are fully engaged in this process. Our ambition is and remains to offer our consumers the safest, best performing and most efficient products.

*based on published studies
**P&G calculation based on Nielsen sales information July 2012 - June 2013