Bacteria, dead skin cells, or sebum can clog your hair follicles and lead to acne breakout on the scalp. Acne can also be caused by hormonal imbalances. Irrespective of the cause, if you have acne problems on your scalp, you need the best scalp acne shampoo to tackle it.
Scalp acne shampoos are formulated by combining natural ingredients that prevent pore buildup and keep the scalp clean. Keep scrolling as we bring you a list of the top scalp acne control shampoos to help you eliminate those stubborn breakouts on your scalp.
11 Best Scalp Acne Shampoos To Reduce Stubborn Breakouts In 2024
1. Best Moisturizing: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
Formulated with pure tea tree oil, rosemary, and lavender, this scalp acne shampoo for oily hair helps clean the scalp and prevents dirt and product buildup. It is effective in moisturizing dry hair and hydrating the scalp for healthier-looking hair. This acne-fighting scalp cleanser for acne-prone skin also works well on color-treated hair, dry hair, and normal hair. This video review showcasing the tester’s experience with the tea-tree oil scalp shampoo will help you make an informed decision.
- Effectively clarifies scalp and hair
- Washes away flakes
- Rich in essential oils
- Sulfate-free scalp acne shampoo
- May have a strong smell
2. Best Pure And Natural: Puriya Plant Based Tea Tree Shampoo
Treat your itchy, flaky, and dry scalp with this mild shampoo for scalp acne treatment. It is infused with clinically verified natural ingredients such as tea tree oil, sage, arnica, and rosemary. The sulfate-free clarifying scalp shampoo deeply hydrates dry scalp and hair and has a pleasant fragrance. This shampoo is pH-balanced and is free of parabens and sodium chloride. This video will help you make an informed decision about your purchase.
- Works on brittle and damaged hair
- Mild and gentle formulation
- Effectively removes buildup
- Adds shine and luster
- Works well on all hair types
- May not ease itching
3. Best Unscented: CLn Shampoo For Scalp Acne
This non-drying and anti-dandruff shampoo is unscented and suitable for treating acne, dermatitis, and folliculitis. It is formulated with sodium hypochlorite and salicylic acid and effectively removes dead skin cells and unwanted oils from the scalp. This results-driven salicylic acid shampoo for scalp acne works on normal to oily hair.
- Free of triclosan, parabens, and antibiotics
- Approved by a board-certified dermatologist
- Supported by clinical data
- May cause hair fall
4. Best Soothing: Ovante Folliculit Solution Shampoo
Ovante’s shampoo for scalp treatment with an effective formula cleans and deeply hydrates the scalp and hair. It is a soothing scalp cleanser with vitamin A and various essential oils and helps prevent scalp breakouts and itching.
- Promotes hair growth
- Eliminates dandruff
- Less foam for better absorption
- Helps make hair voluminous
- May have an unpleasant fragrance
5. Best For Unclogging Pores: Teenology Shampoo For Teens
Rich in aloe vera, vitamin B5, comfrey, and peppermint leaf extract, this deep cleansing scalp shampoo soothes irritation on the scalp, breaks down oil, nourishes hair, and treats dandruff. Unclog your pores and wash away dead skin cells with this sweet mint-scented professional-grade shampoo for the scalp. Check out this product review video and pick the best-suited one for your needs.
- Not tested on animals
- Free of sulfates, silicones, gluten, and parabens
- Treats acne on forehead, back, and scalp
- Lathers and cleanses well
- May cause hair fall
6. Best Vegan:BioB Prebiotic Natural Hair Shampoo
Get beautiful and luscious-looking hair with the soap-free BioB Prebiotic Natural Hair shampoo, which contains the goodness of shea butter, cocoa butter, and aloe vera. It is suitable for treating different scalp and hair issues, including acne, dryness, itchiness, dandruff, damage, and odor. This vegan shampoo, known for its proven efficacy reduces hair fall, supports hair growth, restores the hair’s natural PH level, and adds shine.
- Free of parabens, SLS, and mineral oil
- Suitable for treating seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis
- Strengthens the scalp’s immune system
- Vegan friendly
- Vanilla and oatmeal scent
- Easy-to-use pump bottle
- May take time to show results
- Bottle may be smaller than expected
7. Best Antibacterial: Acne Zap Shampoo For Scalp Acne
Created for safe acne treatment, this medicated scalp shampoo is an effective antibacterial formula for oily, itchy, and greasy scalp types, bacterial infections on the scalp, and acne. It works well on different types of hair and leaves you with a clarified scalp and healthy-looking hair
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Formulated for kids and adults
- Doesn’t dry out hair
- Gentle formula is suitable for face too
- May have an unpleasant smell
8. Best Dermatologist-Tested: Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo
The drugstore shampoo by Neutrogena is a therapeutic formulation that prevents scalp buildup. The dermatologist-recommended product helps prevent acne breakouts and clears the scalp.
- Effective in treating dandruff
- Soothes psoriasis
- Helps reduce itching
- Quick results
- May smell unpleasant
9. Best Unscented: Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo
Infused with 3% salicylic acid, Neutrogena’s T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo is suitable for people with dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Its clinically tested formula is free of harmful skin irritants such as preservatives, artificial colors, and fragrances, making it suitable for sensitive scalp. The gentle scalp acne shampoo reduces bumps, clears crusty scalp residue, and relieves itching and flaking caused by scalp build-up.
- Quick-acting formula
- Controls scalp build-up
- Suitable for people with dry skin
- May not be easy to rinse off
- May have a strong scent
10. Best Organic: Avalon Organics Shampoo
Made of plant-based and other natural ingredients, the professional-grade scalp-treating shampoo by Avalon Organics balances the scalp’s moisture levels and soothes inflammation. Created especially for thin hair, the sulfate-free shampoo has been infused with the goodness of active ingredients such as tea tree essential oil, beta-glucan, aloe, quinoa protein, and vitamin E to strengthen the hair cuticles and make the strands look healthy and shiny.
- Soothes irritated scalp
- Free of harsh chemicals: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, colors, and preservatives
- Not tested on animals
- Might not lather well
11. Best Anti-Fungal: DS Laboratories Dandrene Shampoo
The dermatologist-recommended exfoliating scalp shampoo for acne has been formulated to control scalp irritation, scaling, soreness, and flaking. It helps exfoliate and fight against the different causes of dandruff. This anti-dandruff, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial hair product treats the root cause of the problem and supports scalp health.
- Clinically proven formula
- Dandrene and pyrithione zinc strengthens the formulation
- Works well on red, itchy, and oily scalp
- Contains antifungal agents
- Helps treat fungal acne
- Makes hair softer
- Suitable for curly hair as well
- May have a strong smell
How To Choose The Right Scalp Acne Shampoo?
Here are some points to consider while purchasing a scalp acne shampoo.
1. Ingredients: Choose shampoos rich in active ingredients such as salicylic acid, jojoba oil, and tea tree oil, as they effectively treat acne.
2. Chemical-free formulation: Products free from SLS, sulfates, parabens, and other chemicals effectively treat the scalp gently.
3. Scalp condition: Some shampoos are formulated to soothe redness on the scalp and ease inflammation, others are effective on dandruff, and a few strengthen the hair follicles. Select the right doctor-recommended shampoo based on your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can hair products cause scalp acne?
Yes, some hair products may cause scalp acne if they contain pore-clogging ingredients. Thus, you should opt for a dermatologically approved shampoo. Check the list of active ingredients in the product, and avoid anything that is comedogenic.
2. How often should I wash my hair with scalp acne shampoo?
Scalp acne is itchy and painful, and you may feel like washing your hair every day. However, wash your hair only when it is greasy or when you feel irritated due to sweat. Overwashing your hair may strip off essential oils and nutrients from the scalp.
3. Are shampoos good for scalp acne?
Shampoos specially formulated to eliminate scalp acne or minimize acne breakouts are effective. However, avoid oil-based shampoos as they may aggravate your scalp acne (1).
4. Is an apple cider vinegar shampoo good for scalp acne?
Many beauty experts recommend using apple cider vinegar shampoo for scalp acne as it has microbial properties. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence or research to claim that apple cider vinegar shampoo can eliminate or minimize scalp acne.
5. How long does it take to clear scalp acne?
You can get rid of acne anywhere between four and six weeks after you stop using products that clog pores (2). If you notice no difference, consult a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause and get personalized treatment.
Why Trust MomJunction?
We have compiled a list of the best scalp acne shampoos to clean the hair and scalp while preventing pore build-up. Specifications, pros, and cons are offered for each enumerated product to give you the detailed information. We have included details about components, chemical-free formulations, and scalp problems to help you find the right shampoo. You can also browse the buying guide to make an informed decision.
The best scalp acne shampoos can keep your scalp healthy and clean, unclog hair follicles, and reduce the symptoms of acne. In addition, they can keep your hair moisturized and hydrated in the long run. We have included shampoos made of natural ingredients such as aloe vera, tea tree oil, and jojoba oil that can help treat your scalp effectively. When choosing such a shampoo, check the ingredients to understand if it suits your hair type and ensure it does not contain any unpleasant fragrances or allergens that may irritate your scalp. Once you find a suitable choice, you can flaunt your healthy hair.
Infographic: What Not To Use When You Have Scalp Acne?
Scalp acne is a condition characterized by inflamed hair follicles on the scalp. It can cause itchiness and small pimples, requiring proper care and treatment for relief. To better manage scalp acne, avoiding certain hair products and using scalp acne shampoos is essential. Explore the infographic below to learn what not to use when you have scalp acne.
- Scalp Acne
- Are Your Hair Care Products Causing Breakouts?