These Are The 13 Best Scalp Acne Shampoos To Try In 2022

Let your lustrous hair loose confidently and channel your inner Disney princess with these hair care essentials.

By Shiboli Chakraborti, Certified Skin Care Coach
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The evilest curse for people with oily skin is scalp pimples. And the only remedy is finding the best shampoo for scalp acne. A good anti-acne formula for the scalp will give you relief from itchiness, control excess oil, soothe inflammation, and treat acne pimples. Such a shampoo will also help control triggers and prevent further breakouts. In this article, check out the 17 best shampoos for scalp acne and find a solution to your ever-annoying, itchy scalp acne.

Our Top Picks
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Best Hypoallergenic: CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo
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Best Fragrance-Free: CLn Moisture Rich Gentle Shampoo
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Best Lightweight: OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Teatree Mint Shampoo
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Best Long-Lasting: Ovante Acne Zap Shampoo
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Best For All Hair Types: Dr.Witch Tea Tree Therapy Conditioning Shampoo
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Best Frizz Control: Yes To Scalp Relief Shampoo
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Best Cruelty-Free: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo
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Best Color-Safe: Botanic Hearth Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
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Best Gentle Formula: Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo
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Best Plant-Based Formula: Baebody Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
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What Is Scalp Acne?

Scalp acne appears as small bumps or pimples on the scalp or along the hairline. These bumps can be painful, itchy, and prone to irritation. Scalp acne is triggered by the following:

  •  Excessive oil or sebum production.
  •  Clogged pores of the scalp and hair follicles due to dirt, product residue, grime, dead skin, and excess oil.
  •  Infestation of bacteria, fungi, and microscopic bugs.
  •  Irregular hair washing ritual.
  •  Accumulation of dirt and sweat.

Here are a few treatments you need to know about if you have scalp acne.

How To Treat Scalp Acne

Similar to face acne, scalp acne can also be treated with mild medications. Your dermatologist may prescribe shampoos to reduce breakouts. These shampoos contain a few specific ingredients that help soothe acne and pimples on your scalp.

Ingredients To Look For In Scalp Acne-Fighting Shampoos

  •  Benzoyl Peroxide: It neutralizes the bacteria known to cause acne, propionibacterium acnes.
  •  Tea Tree Oil: This essential oil has antibacterial properties that eliminate acne-causing bacteria on the scalp.
  •  Salicylic Acid: It cleanses the scalp and removes dead cells, flakes, and scales.
  •  Ketoconazole: This antifungal agent reduces itching, acne, and scalp inflammation.
  •  Glycolic Acid: It exfoliates the scalp and removes excess oil, dead skin cells, dirt, or impurities.
  •  Ciclopirox: This ingredient helps treat skin and scalp conditions. It is commonly added to many dandruff shampoos and relieves itching.

Now you know what to look for in these shampoos, here is our list of the top shampoos that help reduce acne breakouts.

17 Extremely Effective Shampoos To Combat Scalp Acne

1. Best Hypoallergenic: CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo

This shampoo is formulated with salicylic acid and sodium hypochlorite that cleanse unwanted oils, dead sin, product residue, and shine-reducing debris clogging the pores. Sodium hypochlorite purifies the scalp and helps prevent infections, eczema, and atopic dermatitis. Salicylic acid exfoliates the scalp and unclogs scalp pores without disrupting the oil balance.

This shampoo also contains glycerin, which conditions the hair and balances its moisture levels. It helps treat irritation-prone scalp conditions like dermatitis, dandruff, and folliculitis. This product makes your hair luscious and the scalp healthy. It removes any microbes, allergens, and bacteria that can trigger scalp breakouts.

Pros

  •  Fragrance-free
  •  No antibiotics
  •  Steroid-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Triclosan-free
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Non-drying
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Dermatologist tested
  •  Clinically tested
  •  Suitable for normal to oily scalp

Cons

  •  Contains SLS

2. Best Fragrance-Free: CLn Moisture Rich Gentle Shampoo

This shampoo helps treat itching, flaking, and scalp irritations caused by dermatitis, dryness, psoriasis, and eczema. It contains sodium hypochlorite and glycerin. Sodium hypochlorite soothes the scalp prone to eczema, atopic dermatitis, and folliculitis. This ingredient cleanses the hair without stripping its natural oils. Glycerin helps retain hair moisture and conditions your scalp without clogging the pores. The moisture-rich formula with special conditioners helps hydrate and nourish your scalp and hair.

Pros

  •  Paraben-free
  •  Triclosan-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Suitable for normal to dry scalp
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  No antibiotics
  •  Steroid-free
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Dermatologist tested
  •  Clinically tested

Cons

  •  Contains SLS

3. Best Lightweight: OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Teatree Mint Shampoo

This shampoo is formulated with peppermint, tea tree oil, and witch hazel to purify the scalp without stripping hair moisture. It makes your hair shiny, moisturized, rejuvenated, and healthy. Tea tree oil stimulates the scalp, peppermint extract relieves the senses, and witch hazel removes buildup and nourishes the scalp. This product has the fragrance of peppermint, vanilla, and tea tree oil. Watch this video for more information about the product.

Pros

  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Salt-free
  •  Silicone-free
  •  Lightweight

Cons

  •  Contains alcohol

4. Best Long-Lasting: Ovante Acne Zap Shampoo

The Ovante Acne Zap Shampoo is a therapy for greasy and flaky scalp. It soothes the scalp and reduces itching, inflammation, and irritation. The mild formula with antibacterial properties eliminates excess oiliness, bumps, and head pimples. This product is formulated with tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemongrass oil, and patchouli oil. It helps treat seborrhea and dandruff, leaving your hair shiny and more manageable.

Pros

  •  Gentle formula
  •  Adds shine
  •  Makes your hair more manageable
  •  Long-lasting
  •  Value for money

Cons

  •  Contains SLS

5. Best For All Hair Types: Dr.Witch Tea Tree Therapy Conditioning Shampoo

This shampoo is formulated with an exclusive herbal blend to soothe and relieve your irritated, dry, and itchy scalp. It reduces bumps, flaking, dandruff, dryness, sores, and redness on the scalp. This plant-based shampoo helps treat oiliness, eczema, hair thinning, and scalp sensitivity. It is made with willow bark extract, chamomile, calendula, tea tree oil, hemp seed oil, aloe vera juice, red clover, and elderflower extracts. These ingredients stimulate the hair follicles and reduce hair loss. This pH-balanced shampoo removes hard water minerals, product buildup, excess oil, and other impurities. It helps restore the lost volume and shine of your hair.

Pros

  •  SLS-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Suitable for all hair types
  •  Non-GMO
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Mineral oil-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Fragrance-free

Cons

None

6. Best Frizz Control: Yes To Scalp Relief Shampoo

This shampoo by Scalp Relief moisturizes your dry, flaky, and itchy scalp. It contains tea tree oil, sage oil, and salicylic acid, which gently cleanse and hydrate the scalp, preventing dandruff. The refreshing fragrance helps calm your irritated scalp. This shampoo is formulated with 97% natural ingredients that help stimulate your scalp without clogging the pores. It is clinically proven to relieve dry and itchy scalp within eight days.

Pros

  •  Silicone-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Frizz control
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  pH balanced
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Dye-free
  •  Lightweight
  •  Residue-free

Cons

  •  Contains sodium lauryl, MEA, and EDTA

7. Best Cruelty-Free: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo

This Tea Tree Shampoo from Maple Holistic purifies the oily scalp and greasy hair. It imparts shine and volume, restoring your hair’s natural balance. This shampoo contains nourishing ingredients blended with premium essential oils, which remove buildup. It reduces flakes and hair loss without using any harsh additives. This product has a flowery, herbal fragrance of lavender and rosemary. This video helps you know more about the product.

Pros

  •  Suitable for all hair types
  •  Ideal for dry scalp
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Non-GMO
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  BPA-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  No synthetic color or fragrance

Cons

None

8. Best Color-Safe: Botanic Hearth Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

The Botanic Hearth Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is formulated with clarifying and moisturizing ingredients like pure apple cider vinegar, apple extract, argan oil, and coconut oil. Apple cedar vinegar detoxifies the scalp, removes buildup, and strengthens your hair. The mild formula helps restore dull, dry, and color-treated hair, making them luscious and radiant.

Pros

  •  Color-safe
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Gentle formula
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Color-safe
  •  Can be used daily
  •  Suitable for all hair types

Cons

  •  Might cause frizziness

9. Best Gentle Formula: Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo

The T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo helps relieve scalp itching and flaking. It is a dermatologist-recommended treatment that removes any crusty scalp buildup. This shampoo contains 3% salicylic acid, which clarifies the scalp and prevents flakes. You will notice an improvement in your scalp condition just after one wash. This product helps treat dandruff, psoriasis, and eczema.

Pros

  •  Gentle formula
  •  Suitable for all hair types
  •  Dermatologist recommended
  •  Long-lasting

Cons

  •  Unpleasant smell

10. Best Plant-Based Formula: Baebody Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

The Baebody Tea Tree Oil removes impurities and restores the natural luster of your tresses. Be it itchiness, flakes, or dandruff, this shampoo relieves your scalp and making hair healthy. This product contains tea tree oil which heals, soothes, and cleanses the scalp, removing buildup. It is made with natural ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, camellia seed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and botanical keratin. These ingredients soften and strengthen your hair, enhance elasticity, and control frizz.

Pros

  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Plant-based formula
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Cruelty-free

Cons

None

11. Best pH-Balanced Formula: MG217 Medicated Psoriasis Shampoo

The Medicated Psoriasis shampoo treats scalp irritation and inflammation caused by dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis. It soothes and relieves itching, scaling and flaking, while moisturizing the scalp. This shampoo is formulated with conditioners and natural extracts that soothe, hydrate, protect the scalp and hair. It contains 3% coal tar, which cleanses scalp buildup. Check out this video to know more about this product.

Pros

  •  pH balanced
  •  Salt-free
  •  Silicone-free
  •  Long-lasting

Cons

  •  Contains parabens and SLS

12. Best For Oily Hair: Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo

The Degrease Shampoo from Maple Holistics removes scalp buildup and excess oil. It detoxifies the scalp and improves hair health. This shampoo is made with jojoba, peach kernel, lemon, and basil oils. These ingredients nourish the scalp and prevent dandruff and flaking.

Pros

  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Non-GMO
  •  BPA-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  No synthetic fragrance and color
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Suitable for oily hair types

Cons

  •  Might cause hair fall
  •  Contains ammonium
  •  Thick consistency

13. Best For Adding Shine: Dandrene Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

The Dandrene’s Anti-Dandruff shampoo exfoliates and cleanses the scalp to combat dandruff. It is clinically proven to destroy the fungus that causes dandruff. This shampoo contains 2% zinc pyrithione, which reduces flaking, scaling, irritation, and itchiness. It prevents excess sebum production, redness, and foul odor. The Antipelliculaire technology conditions the scalp, retains hair moisture, and imparts a healthy shine. This product also helps treat scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

Pros

  •  Suitable for all hair types
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Long-lasting

Cons

  •  Contains sodium chloride
  •  Overwhelming smell

14. Best For Soothing The Scalp: Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo

The Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo contains natural ingredients like oats and apple cider vinegar. Oats soothe the scalp, and apple cider vinegar removes buildup and dirt. This shampoo adds shine and boosts volume, replenishing your hair from the roots to the tips. It does not contain sulfates, dyes, or parabens. This product is cruelty-free, color-safe, and suitable for all hair types.

Pros

  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Color-safe
  •  Dye-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Suitable for all hair types

Cons

  •  Contains sodium chloride
  •  Greasy
  •  Unpleasant smell

15. Best Dermatologist-Recommended: Kenkoderm Therapeutic Shampoo

The Kenkoderm Therapeutic Shampoo contains 3% salicylic acid, which relieves scalp itching and flaking. It removes buildup and prevents flakes from becoming crusty. This shampoo helps treat various scalp conditions such as psoriasis, dandruff, and dermatitis. It does not contain any harsh colorants or fragrances that may aggravate sensitive skin.

Pros

  •  Fragrance-free
  •  No artificial color
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Color-safe
  •  Dermatologist recommended
  •  Suitable for chemically-treated hair

Cons

  •  Contains EDTA

16. Best Sulfate-Free: Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

This Balancing Shampoo from Jupiter relieves scalp itchiness, flaking, irritation, and redness. It controls dandruff, reduces excess sebum production, removes buildup, and soothes the scalp. This shampoo has been clinically proven to reduce hair breakage by 30%. It contains zinc pyrithione, coconut oil, decylene glycol, and algae extract. Zinc pyrithione reduces irritation and flaking, and coconut oil prevent dryness and hydrates the scalp. Glycol balances sebum production, and algae extract with its anti-aging properties nourishes the scalp.

Pros

  •  Vegan
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Dye-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Color-safe
  •  Suitable for all hair types
  •  Dermatologist tested.

Cons

None

17. Best Soap-Free: AROMASE 5α Juniper Scalp Purifying Liquid Shampoo

The Aromase 5α Juniper Scalp Purifying Liquid Shampoo deep cleanses and exfoliates the scalp to remove excess sebum and dandruff. It contains citric acid and glycolic acid, which soothe irritations and allergies. Glycolic acid makes the scalp healthy and enhances its self-protective mechanism.

This product is infused with aloe vera leaf, pro-vitamin B3, panthenol, and glycerol, which moisturize the scalp and regulate its environment. The 5α avocuta balances oil production, and junniper communis prevents itchiness and inflammation. This shampoo with 5.5 pH promotes hair growth and treats acne, dandruff, psoriasis, dermatitis, dryness, and hair loss.

Pros

  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Silicone-free
  •  Soap-free
  •  No artificial color
  •  Suitable for all scalp types

Cons

  •  Contains sodium chloride and alcohol
  •  Might weigh your hair down

If you experience frequent scalp breakouts, do not wait for too long before consulting a dermatologist. Scalp acne can be a sign of an underlying condition. While it may seem like pimples, without proper treatment, it may become severe. With these shampoos, you will notice fewer breakouts, and your scalp will feel cleaner. So scroll up and take your pick from our list.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a certified skin care coach with considerable knowledge of hair care. She knows how difficult it is to deal with scalp breakouts and has found the perfect solution. She has conducted thorough research and selected the best shampoos to deal with scalp acne for the benefit of her readers. The right anti-acne formula for the scalp can reduce acne pimples, control excess oil, reduce inflammation, and reduce itching.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I get scabs on my scalp?

• Dry scalps are the most common reason for developing scabs on hair, Hot water showers, harsh shampoos, and high mineral content in water can cause dry scalp and develop scabs.
• Oily scalps too lead to excessive irritation and result in scabbing.
• Dandruff, lice, and ringworms can also cause scabs.

What shampoo is best for scalp acne?

The Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo is the best for treating scalp acne. This nourishing shampoo is blended with high-quality essential oils that eliminate dirt and grime from your scalp. In addition, it helps maintain the pH balance of your scalp.

How often should you wash your hair if you have scalp acne?

Wash your hair every two to three days to eliminate all the dirt, grime, and pollutants that can lead to the formation of scalp acne.

How do you unclog your scalp pores?

• Wash your scalp with antibacterial soap or anti-dandruff shampoo.
• Apply an exfoliating scalp mask to your hair.
• Use a leave-in scalp treatment that features hyaluronic acid.
• Apply a scalp sun protector to prevent the damaging effects of sun rays.

What shampoo is good for sores on the scalp?

The Dr.Witch Tea Tree Therapy Conditioning Shampoo is a plant-based formula containing willow bark extract, chamomile, tea tree oil, etc. that soothes and relieves sores on the scalp.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Dual role of Cutibacterium acnes in acne vulgaris pathophysiology
    https://www.balimedicaljournal.org/index.php/bmj/article/viewFile/2358/pdf
  2. A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986265/
  3. An Overview on Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) Oil
    https://eijppr.com/storage/models/article/ghKc7OvScRawdtASi05OTQIJvSPgU5BEDsPAdEGZShNEqqzkLxwIrz4Fxy5j/an-overview-on-tea-tree-melaleuca-alternifolia-oil.pdf
  4. Topical 2% ketoconazole cream monotherapy significantly improves adult female acne: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1346-8138.15113
  5. A randomised single-blind single-centre clinical trial to evaluate comparative clinical efficacy of shampoos containing ciclopirox olamine (1.5%) and salicylic acid (3%) or ketoconazole (2% Nizoral) for the treatment of dandruff/seborrhoeic dermatitis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12060502/

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Shiboli has a master’s degree in English literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and is a certified... more

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