ICHTHYOL® PALE suggests itself for cosmetic treatment of dandruff and skin impurities on account of its multifunctionality together with natural origin and good tolerance.


Dandruff is a phenomenon related to the renewal of the skin. In skin regeneration cells formed at the inner side of the epidermis move to its outer side. On their way these cells are transformed into keratin that is cast off the skin in nearly invisible particles.

However, this natural process can be impaired in such a way that it becomes a cosmetic problem with large agglomerates of dead cells that become visible as scales on scalp and hair.

The origin of dandruff is still disputed. Often local inflammations, exuberant activity of sebaceous glands, excessive colonisation with micro-organisms as well as an enhanced rate of cell renewal in the epidermis are observed.

Frequently it is referred to as a vicious cycle since all afore-mentioned characteristics can be interconnected: The oily substance (sebum) formed by activity of sebaceous glands is like a nutrient substratum for micro-organisms that can provoke a huge increase of the number of germs. Their lipolytic activity is responsible for increase of the quantity of free fatty acids that can initiate skin irritations associated with itching and skin redness. As a result of local inflammations in turn the rate of skin renewal in the epidermis can be enhanced which contributes significantly to formation of scales.

Benefits of ICHTHYOL® PALE

Scaling skin problems of the scalp are frequently triggered or influenced negatively by interaction of inflammatory processes, excessive microbial colonisation or exuberant secretion of sebum. An optimum solution to this irritating problem is guaranteed by a combination of different action principles. Anti-dandruff shampoos, therefore, often contain a collection of different active ingredients that meet the multifactorial character of this problem. In this regard ICHTHYOL® PALE makes an important contribution as different action principles are proven for this substance. Besides anti-inflammatory (anti-itching), anti-microbial, sebaceous gland regulating (anti-seborrheic) properties, also a keratostatic action is described which reduces the enhanced cell renewal to the normal degree. ICHTHYOL® PALE, for this reason, offers the basis for a functionally combined therapy with one active ingredient only. Its efficacy is substantiated in human medicine.

Studies regarding treatment of dandruff with ICHTHYOL® PALE

The efficacy of ICHTHYOL® PALE in treatment of dandruff could be demonstrated impressively in different studies, among others, in comparison with well-known anti-dandruff agents as Zinc Pyrithione, Piroctone Olamine or Coal Tar. Owing to the broad efficacy spectrum of ICHTHYOL® PALE concomitant symptoms as skin redness, itching or oily hair can be co-treated effectively. Usually this cannot be accomplished with other anti-dandruff agents which act in an antimycotic way only.

Comparison study with Zinc Pyrithione and Piroctone Olamine

In controlled studies the efficacy of 1% of ICHTHYOL® PALE was examined in comparison with commercially available shampoos containing Zinc Pyrithione and Piroctone Olamine.
In all treatment groups a distinct reduction of dandruff flaking could be observed after completion of the study. ICHTHYOL® PALE, however, was found more efficient in elimination of concomitant symptoms as itching than the comparative substances and, therefore, overall superior.

Comparison study with Coal Tar

The ideal anti-dandruff agent should be a safe and well-tolerated substance with a broad action profile offering relief from dandruff and all concomitant symptoms. In ICHTHYOL® PALE all these preferable properties are combined.
Despite its undisputed curative potential, Coal Tar possesses carcinogenic properties. Even after short-time hair washing critical compounds of Coal Tar can be absorbed through the skin. For this reason, the uncontrolled use of Coal Tar in cosmetics is forbidden in Europe since end of the 90ties.
A comparison study demonstrates that Coal Tar can be replaced by the active ingredient from nature ICHTHYOL® PALE effectively. ICHTHYOL® PALE is superior as it is well tolerated in long term treatment as well.


Combination Shampoos

Many of the well-known anti-dandruff agents are potent antimycotics (e.g. Ketoconazole, Climbazole, etc.) that in the scope of dandruff treatment aim at the excessive germ colonization of the scalp. However, for treatment of all symptoms an integrated approach should be chosen which takes into consideration the whole problem including inflammations, itching and skin redness.
Therefore, it was investigated within a study whether Ketoconazole in combination with ICHTHYOL® PALE offers a wider approach of treatment and, thereby, a better prospect of treatment success.
As a result it could be observed that a combination of 0.5% of ICHTHYOL® PALE and 0.5% of Ketoconazole is more effective than 1.0% of Ketoconazole alone. Especially, concomitant symptoms itching and skin redness diminish considerably more efficient with the combination of active ingredients. This means that by use of ICHTHYOL® PALE the original concentration of Ketoconazole that is classified as aggressive can be halved without loosing efficacy but gaining better tolerance.

ICHTHYOL® PALE in treatment of dandruff – benefits at a glance
ICHTHYOL® PALE - Benefits in combination shampoo

Literature regarding efficacy and tolerance of ICHTHYOL® PALE in treatment of dandruff is available on request from ICHTHYOL-Gesellschaft (contact).

Skin blemishes

Skin blemishes may develop in puberty but also age-independently (e.g. stress-related). Often an increased secretion of sebum (oil released from sebaceous glands) is crucial. With concurrent cornification disorder formation of plugs results in the excretory ducts of sebaceous glands. The accumulated sebum is a perfect breeding place for bacteria (above all Propionibacterium acnes). By means of certain enzymes (lipases) these bacteria are able to decompose sebum under formation of free fatty acids. Free fatty acids in turn penetrate the surrounding tissue and provoke inflammatory phenomena as redness and pimples.

Benefits of ICHTHYOL® PALE

Skin blemishes are triggered or negatively influenced by interaction of inflammatory processes, excessive microbial colonization and exuberant secretion of sebum. In care of irritated skin ICHTHYOL® PALE can contribute substantially since different action principles are proven for it which respond well to the overall problem as depicted above. Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and sebaceous glands regulating (anti-seborrheic) properties are described for ICHTHYOL® PALE. ICHTHYOL® PALE, for this reason, offers the basis for a functionally combined therapy with one active ingredient only. Its efficacy is substantiated in human medicine.

Anti-irritant action

The anti-irritant or anti-inflammatory action of ICHTHYOL® PALE could be demonstrated vividly in the UVB erythema test. The skin redness of test persons was reduced equally by treatment with creams containing 4% of ICHTHYOL® PALE or 0.5% of hydrocortisone.

On the cellular level it could be observed that ICHTHYOL® PALE is able to inhibit the activity of enzymes that catalyse formation of inflammation mediators. Inflammation mediators are involved in development of an inflammation (e.g. redness). In presence of ICHTHYOL® PALE the enzyme 5-lipoxygenasis, for example, is inhibited in a concentration dependent way whereby formation of inflammation mediator LTB4 is impaired considerably.

Anti-microbial action

ICHTHYOL® PALE features anti-microbial actions in all germs that are relevant in main cosmetic skin problems.
Regarding skin problems Propionibacterium acnes has to be mentioned in particular. In this bacterium ICHTHYOL® PALE is highly active with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 0.039%.

Effect of Sodium Shale Oil Sulfonate  
| | Aqueous solution of 1 % ICHTHYOL® PALE | Aqueous solution of 5 % ICHTHYOL® PALE
Staphylococcus aureus | 0.039 | 1.0 | 2.5
Pseudomonas aeruginosa | 0.039 | 0.5 | 1.0
Pityrosporum spec. | - | 2.0 | 11.0
Candida albicans | 0.2-5.1 | - | -
Dermatophytes (p. ex. Microsporum canis, Trichophyton rubrum) | 0.05-0.1 | - | -
Propionibacterium acnes | 0.039 | - | -

Studies regarding treatment of skin blemishes with ICHTHYOL® PALE

On account of the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties combined in ICHTHYOL® PALE very good effects are achieved in elimination of skin blemishes (pimples). This result was arrived at in a study conducted in 101 test persons who were treated with a formulation containing 1% of ICHTHYOL® PALE. After a treatment phase of six weeks the efficacy was evaluated as “good” or “very good” in 76% of all cases.



In another study the efficacy of a formulation containing 1% of ICHTHYOL® PALE and 0.5% of salicylic acid was examined. In course of the treatment phase of eight weeks the average number of visible efflorescences could be reduced from 31.4 to 6.3 corresponding to a decrease of about 80%.

ICHTHYOL® PALE in skin blemishes – benefits at a glance


Literature regarding efficacy and tolerance of ICHTHYOL® PALE in treatment of dandruff is available on request from ICHTHYOL-Gesellschaft (contact).