10 Best Medicated Shampoos For A Dry Scalp, A Hairstylist’s Picks Of 2024

Leave your worries behind with these formulations for a clean, healthy scalp.

Reviewed by Jill Turnbull, Hairstylist Jill Turnbull Jill TurnbullHairstylist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
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Many brands advertise themselves to make the best-medicated shampoo for dry scalp, but choosing the right one for your hair is essential. Medicated shampoos and conditioners come into play mainly during the winters, as this season can wreak havoc on your skin and your scalp. Your scalp can become dry during the winter season, leading to flaky dandruff formation, itchiness, and dry patches. Hence it is vital to use medicated shampoos in your hair care routine. Medicated shampoos can help with dandruff flaking and control the excess oil production build-up in your scalp. In addition, it can also help in removing fungus from your scalp that occurs due to poor hygiene.

If you aren’t sure which is the best medicated shampoo you should be using, we’ve got you covered. Take a deep sigh of relief and check out our top 10 list of the best medicated shampoo for dry scalp. We’re sure with the help of our buying guide, you will pick the perfect one for your scalp and tresses.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best For Flaky Scalp:Nizoral Anti-Dandruff ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Itchy Scalp:Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Color-Treated Hair:Jupiter Balancing ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Inflammation And Redness:Psoriatrax 5% Coal Tar Psoriasis ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best Fragrance-Free:CLn Healthy Scalp ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Multiple Scalp Problems:Pharmbanner Extra Strength Folliculitis ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best Sulfate-Free:LivSo Moisturizing ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best Long-Lasting Effects:DHS Zinc ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best For Sebum Control:Nutrafol Root Purifier Scalp Microbiome ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best Anti-Inflammatory:Healthy Hair Plus Psoriasis ShampooPrice on Amazon

10 Best Medicated Shampoos You Should Definitely Try

1. Best For Flaky Scalp:Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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4.5
Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Image: Nizoral

If you have severe dandruff problems, you can use this shampoo for dandruff twice a week between regular shampooing to control flaking, scaling, and itching. The anti-dandruff shampoo is clinically proven to be 10 times more effective to fight dandruff. This gentle shampoo contains ketoconazole, an antifungal medication that reduces the volume of pityrosporum yeast on the scalp along with redness and scaly skin patches. One of the best medicated shampoos for a dry, flaky scalp, this soothing shampoo has a rich consistency and pleasant fragrance that offers restorative care. It provides residue-free cleansing with its soothing scalp formula. To apply, wet your hair and apply this soothing product generously before you rinse it off. If swallowed by a child, seek medical help immediately. Click here to check out a detailed personal review of this hair product.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.54 x 2.99 x 7.17 inches | Weight: 6.98 Ounces

Pros

  • Clean, fresh scent
  • Reduces itching
  • Helps control hair fall
  • Suitable for color-treated or gray hair

Cons

  • It may take a long time to show results.

protip_icon Caution
If you do not get desired results with regular use for around 1-2 months, then consult a dermatologist to diagnose the condition.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 9,552 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

2. Best For Itchy Scalp:Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

This medicated shampoo for extremely dry scalps claims to control severe dandruff with twice the amount of active ingredients in its formula. The shampoo contains Neutar technology with 1% coal tar, which has proven to control a flaky and itchy scalp hours after use. This effective scalp treatment provides gentle cleansing. The alcohol-free formula contains added conditioners, which leave your hair soft and shiny. To use the shampoo, wet your hair thoroughly before applying the shampoo twice a week to your scalp. Leave it on your scalp for a few minutes before you rinse it. To understand the nuances of the product in detail, you can check out this review.

Hair Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 1.28 x 2.38 x 7.25 inches | Weight: 6.24 Ounces

Pros

  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Leaves hair soft and smooth
  • Proven to treat psoriasis and dandruff
  • Results in just 3 washes

Cons

  • Contains sulfates.

protip_icon Pro Tip
When using on colored hair, use a color-protectant shampoo on the hair length and limit the medicated shampoo to the roots and scalp.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 16,173 reviews and is a top choice all around the world.

3. Best For Color-Treated Hair:Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

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4.1
Jupiter Dry Scalp & Dandruff Shampoo Image: Jupiter

The Jupiter Balancing Shampoo is one of the bestselling products of the company and for the right reasons. This award-winning anti-dandruff formulation contains the scientifically proven super ingredient zinc pyrithione (an FDA-approved OTC dandruff medication) that actively removes dead cell buildup, soothes and hydrates itchy, dry scalp, and reduces flaking, redness, and excess oil secretion. It also reduces hair breakage by about 30%. This hydrating scalp product provides effective irritation relief. The shampoo also contains hair-nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and squalene along with sugar kelp extract that has amazing anti-aging and antimicrobial properties, which keep scalp infections at bay. It is suitable for mild to moderate dandruff on all scalp types and is safe for chemical and color-treated hair. The clinically proven results show that the shampoo reduces hair breakage by 75%.

Hair Type: Oily, All Hair Types, Dry, Chemically Treated, Normal | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 5.5 inches | Weight: 10.6 Ounces.

Pros

  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Vegan
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalates-free
  • Artificial fragrance-free
  • Artificial dyes-free

Cons

  • None
protip_icon Pro Tip
Use the entire ‘Triple Threat’ Set from Jupiter containing the Nourishing Conditioner and Restoring Serum along with this Balancing Shampoo for effective dandruff control and hydration.
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Best For Flaky Scalp
Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
Best For Itchy Scalp
Jupiter Balancing Shampoo
Best For Color-Treated Hair
Hair Type All Dry Oily, All Hair Types, Dry, Chemically Treated, Normal
Dimensions 1.54 x 2.99 x 7.17 inches 1.28 x 2.38 x 7.25 inches 2.5 x 2.5 x 5.5 inches
Weight 6.98 Ounces 6.24 Ounces 10.6 Ounces.
Rating
Reviews9,55216,173335
Price$13.99$8.9$27

4. Best For Inflammation And Redness:Psoriatrax 5% Coal Tar Psoriasis Shampoo

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4.3

This medicated shampoo has been proven safe and effective in controlling skin cell growth and scale build-up. This skin care product helps reduce inflammation, redness, and itching in the scalp. The main ingredient of the medicated hair shampoo is the FDA-approved coal tar, which helps to treat psoriasis. This nourishing scalp care treatment may also help those with eczema. For the shampoo to work, it is better to use it 3 to 5 times a week and leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes on your scalp before you rinse it off. You may then not use the shampoo for weeks or months until you need to retreat your scalp. Many reviewers have mentioned that the product has a strong scent, but it thoroughly cleanses the scalp and makes it feel fresh.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.94 x 1.94 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 0.64 Ounces

Pros

  • Controls skin cell growth
  • Reduces inflammation and itching
  • Quick results
  • Eliminates symptoms of many kinds of psoriasis

Cons

  • Contains coal tar that may increase the risk of cancer in reproductive issues.

5. Best Fragrance-Free:CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo

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4.1

This medicated shampoo for a dry scalp was developed by a physician to treat itching, flakes, and folliculitis (irritated hair follicles) on the scalp. This dermatologist-recommended shampoo helps wash off unwanted oils, dead skin cells, and any residue or build up from pores. Hence, you may use it once or thrice a week for your scalp or beard without any worries of allergic reactions. It has fragrance-free options and doesn’t contain any antibiotics, parabens, or triclosan. To use, wet your hair and massage a small amount of the medicated anti-dandruff shampoo for 30 seconds into the desired area.

Hair Type: Oily, Dandruff | Product Dimensions: 1.57 x 2.95 x 8.66 inches | Weight: 9.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Eliminates flakes and unclogs pores
  • Soothes irritated scalp
  • Clinically proven formula
  • Paraben-free
  • Suitable for all hair types

Cons

  • Slightly expensive.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Use a scalp scrubber to loosen the flakes and ensure that the shampoo reaches the scalp.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has made it to our top favorite list with more than 2,916 rave reviews on Amazon.

6. Best For Multiple Scalp Problems:Pharmbanner Extra Strength Folliculitis Shampoo

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4.7
Pharmbanner Extra Strength Folliculitis Shampoo Image: Pharmbanner

The Pharmbanner Extra Strength Folliculitis Shampoo has a powerful formula for a variety of scalp issues such as folliculitis, dandruff, psoriasis, itchy, dry, and flaky skin on scalp, and seborrheic dermatitis. This dandruff treatment product is powered by piroctone olamine and natural herbal extracts from Nymphaea alba, Panax ginseng, Coptis chinensis, fallopian multiflora, taraxacum mongnlicum, and Houttuynia cordata. The formula prevents bacterial and fungal infections of the scalp, nourishes and strengthens the hair follicle, regulates sebum secretions and restores scalp health. Further, its protective formula easily absorbs on hair and forms a protective cationic macromolecular layer that prevents hair damage. Ideal for those with a sensitive skin scalp, it provides much-needed dryness relief. Within a few weeks of use the product gives complete relief from itchiness, redness and flaking problems. While using the product let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing for enhanced effectiveness.

Pros

  • Reduces scalp acne
  • Paraben-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • None

Our Tester's Experience

"The Pharmbanner Folliculitis Shampoo can be good for those like me struggling with scalp issues like folliculitis. It does not have that medicinal odor and does not dry out the hair. It does not lather much but cleans my hair well without leaving any greasiness."


7. Best Sulfate-Free:LivSo Moisturizing Shampoo

Introduce the LivSo moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, and scalp lotion into your hair care routine. The ingredients in this medicated shampoo such as coconut oil help moisturize your hair and xylitol fights dandruff and flakes. The medicated hair shampoo gives you relief from dryness and itching on your scalp. This hair care product has been developed after an extensive scientific study of 12 weeks with patients of dry hair and scalp. It’s been proven to be over 90% effective. The sulfate-free formula restores your scalp’s moisture and boosts hair health.

Hair Type : Dry | Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches | Weight: 8.48 Ounces

Pros

  • Sulfate-free
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Suitable for kinky and curly hair
  • Treats dry skin on scalp, flakes, and damaged hair
  • Preserves natural moisture of your scalp

Cons

  • May not be suitable for coarse hair.

8. Best Long-Lasting Effects:DHS Zinc Shampoo

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4.5

With this medicated hair shampoo, you can get relief from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. One of its main ingredients is 2% zinc pyrithione, proven to be effective in fighting dandruff. It soothes and nourishes your scalp and hair to provide long-lasting effects. As it contains gentle healing properties, it is safe for regular use. It can prevent the recurrence of itching, flaking, and other symptoms of dandruff.

Hair Type: Oily | Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.3 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Long-lasting effect
  • Makes your hair healthy
  • Soothes and nourishes your scalp
  • Helps prevent the recurrence of dandruff
  • Dermatologist-recommended

Cons

  • May not be safe to use if you have allergies to any chemical

9. Best For Sebum Control:Nutrafol Root Purifier Scalp Microbiome Shampoo

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4.2
Nutrafol Root Purifier Scalp Microbiome Shampoo Image: Nutrafol

The clinically-tested brand Nutrafol has come up with the Nutrafol Root Purifier Scalp Microbiome Shampoo that has a unique cleansing formula created by physicians to help deep clean your scalp, nourish your hair roots, and preserve the scalp’s natural microbiome. This purifying shampoo reduces flaking and peeling of the scalp and prevents excess sebum secretions. The product is enriched with alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, a type of prebiotic that serves as food for the scalp microbiome and thereby serves to strengthen the scalp barrier. It also contains Australian wild berries that are rich in antioxidants, vegan protein that moisturizes and revitalizes the scalp, and biosurfactants that cleanses the scalp without stripping it of its essential oils. Its pH balancing formula is suitable for use on sensitive skin, dry scalps, hair extensions, and color-treated hair. The clinically proven results show improvement in scalp dryness and flakiness with reduction in sebum.

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Hormone-free
  • Phthalates-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Synthetic fragrance-free
  • Dermatologically-tested

Cons

  • May dry-out color treated hair

Our Tester's Experience

"This shampoo is godsend for my dry scalp. It makes my hair soft without the heaviness. It reduces the itchiness and adds slight volume to my fine hair. Its scent is delightful as well."


10. Best Anti-Inflammatory:Healthy Hair Plus Psoriasis Shampoo

With an advanced formula rich in emu oil, this shampoo promotes healthy hair. It claims to penetrate deep to moisturize and carry nutrients, minerals, botanical extracts, and vitamins to the root of the hair. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents soothe redness, itching and reduce flakes on the scalp. The blend of methanol and peppermint leaves a cool and fresh feeling scalp with a refreshing aroma. It works towards restoring the health of your scalp and hair. And, it is safe for daily use.

Hair Type: Oily | Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.3 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Penetrates deep to moisturize
  • Reduces hair loss
  • Refreshing and soothing effect
  • Control inflammation and redness

Cons

  • May not reduce itchiness
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Now, here are some pointers you need to keep in mind while purchasing a medicated shampoo for your dry scalp.

How To Choose A Medicated Shampoo for A Dry Scalp

Ingredients

When buying a medicated shampoo, one should thoroughly check the ingredients. Manufacturers use multiple ingredients to treat your scalp issues by reducing yeast build-up on your scalp and preventing your sweat glands from producing too much oil. The active ingredients include coal tar, ketoconazole, salicylic acid, and zinc pyrithione. Also, check for conditioning and nourishing ingredients such as essential oils and plant extracts.

Hair type

If you have oily hair, avoid shampoos with selenium sulfide as it is known to make your hair more greasy. A study has found that 75% of women with dandruff prefer 1% ZPT solution or a 2% ketoconazole shampoo as they tend to make their hair less frizzy. If you have flyaway-prone hair, you can try a ZPT-containing product. ZPT is known to reduce yeast growth, excess oil, and overproduction of skin cells that cause flakes in your scalp. For low porosity hair, it is best to use a clarifying shampoo to help retain moisture in your hair.

Hair Color

Medical practitioners usually do not recommend products with coal tar to patients with light-colored hair as it can darken or affect the appeal of your hair.

How To Use A Medicated Shampoo For Dry Scalp

  • Step 1: Wet your hair.
  • Step 2: Apply it to wet hair.
  • Step 3: Work up a lather
  • Step 4: Massage your scalp for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Step 5: Rinse it off.

Infographic: Key Ingredients In Medicated Shampoos

When it comes to using medicated shampoos for treating specific scalp conditions, understanding their key ingredients is important to achieve efficient results. Let’s delve into these core ingredients that set medicated shampoos apart and make a remarkable impact. Check out the infographic below to know how they address common hair and scalp concerns.

Key Ingredients In Medicated Shampoos (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

A dry scalp leads to irritation, flakes, and itchiness. Thus, you should treat it immediately to avoid spreading and damaging the hair. An excessive dry scalp needs a medicated shampoo to soothe the scalp, prevent dryness, and avoid the worst scalp conditions. Also, they can control excessive sebum production. The Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo works wonders on flaky scalps and reduces itchiness, while the Jupiter Balancing Shampoo effectively removes buildup of dead cells and manages scalp infections. If you want a product that soothes irritated hair follicles and unclogs deep pores, the CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo would be the ideal choice! Nevertheless, invest in shampoos formulated with carefully picked ingredients and free from harmful chemicals. Stay away from the shampoos that contain sulfate or other ingredients that trigger dryness. So, resolve the dry scalp condition soon after you find them. However, consult professionals if the dryness persists.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do dermatologists prescribe for dry scalp?

Dermatologists prescribe shampoos containing pyrithione zinc and salicylic acid for dry scalp. These antibacterial and antifungal shampoos treat scales and nourish the scalp.

What medications cause dry scalp?

Medications like diuretics, antihistamines, and acne and cholesterol medications (statins) can cause dry scalp.

Is ketoconazole 2 shampoo available over the counter?

Yes. Ketoconazole 2 shampoo is available over the counter.

How often should I use a medicated shampoo?

Use a medicated shampoo two or three times a week.

Should you use conditioner after using a medicated shampoo?

Use a medicated conditioner after washing the hair with a medicated shampoo to retain the hair’s shiny and healthy look and feel. If you are using the shampoo only on your scalp and a regular shampoo on your strands, you can use a regular conditioner on your strands as well.

How do you apply medicated shampoo to your scalp?

• Wet the hair thoroughly.
• Pour a few drops of the medicated shampoo.
• Rub the product on the scalp gently. Do not apply it to the rest of your hair.
• Leave the shampoo on the scalp for five minutes.
• Wash the rest of the hair with regular shampoo.
• Apply a moisturizing conditioner.
• Rinse the hair thoroughly with clean water.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Medha Deb is a skin and hair care enthusiast. She has curated a list of the best medicated shampoos for dry scalp in this article. A dry scalp is often accompanied by problems such as dandruff and needs special care. Sneha has researched and reviewed several products available in the market to sort out the most effective ones. She has mentioned the pros and cons of each product and included a buying guide to help you purchase the most suitable medicated shampoo.


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Jill Turnbull

Jill TurnbullHairstylist

Jill Turnbull is an internationally acclaimed freelance hairstylist, colorist, and makeup artist with over 47 years of experience. She founded her own beauty brand and her work has been featured in editorial magazines worldwide. Jill is also a highly sought-after educator, renowned for her direct, meticulous, and modern approach to hair, makeup, and styling for fashion shoots and advertising campaigns....read full bio

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