Silver Nanoparticles Kill Fungus that Causes Dandruff

In this clinical study, titled “Size- and Shape-dependent Clinical and Mycological Efficacy of Silver Nanoparticles on Dandruff,” published in the International Journal of Nanomedicine in June, 2015, researchers from India found that silver nanoparticles of various shapes and sizes were effective against the Malassezia furfur fungus, which causes dandruff.

According to the researchers, “The present work outlines a detailed analysis of the treatment of scalp infection using silver nanomaterials (Ag NMs), and focuses on biocidal activity owing to manipulation of size, shape, and structure…silver nanomaterials demonstrated enhanced biocidal tendencies compared to market available drugs, itracanozole and ketoconazole, showing greater zones of inhibition.” So the tiny, 20 nm silver nanoparticles worked even better against the fungus than prescription dandruff drugs such as itracanozole and ketoconazole.

The researchers even tested the silver nanoparticles in vivo, using the rat model. They wrote, “An in vivo model for M. furfur infection was generated by passing fungi subcutaneously in rats’ skin. Again, 20 nm particles showed best normalization of skin after 10 days on regular dosing.” So the dandruff-causing fungal infection of the skin was cured after only 10 days of use. Finally, the researchers found that the silver nanoparticles caused no damage to the skin, whatsoever. They wrote, “The results of skin irritation test indicate that Ag NPs do not produce any dermatological reaction and were well tolerated by rats showing no drastic visual flakes formation and inflammation.” Instead, the researchers found that the silver nanoparticle treatment brought about significant tissue repair. They wrote, “Biochemical analysis performed by checking antioxidant enzymatic activities indicated tissue repair and normalization of enzymes and protein concentration by Ag NPs.”

The researchers concluded that the silver nanoparticles were “found to be superior to tested drugs” and that “Small-sized spherical Ag NPs can be used as an important cost-effective fungistatic agent in formulations for treating scalp problems, since they can be produced in larger quantities and very small amount is required for the desired effect.”

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