11 Best Coal Tar Shampoos In 2024

Cleanse your hair and treat scalp-related conditions while achieving luscious tresses.

Reviewed by Lindsay Loo, Cosmetologist Lindsay Loo Lindsay LooCosmetologist insta_icon
Written by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Last Updated on

Hair is one of the most fragile parts of our body, and sadly it goes through the wrath of pollution, season change, chemical treatments, and styling tools. Taking care of your hair and scalp is a must, and while some of us are blessed with nourished scalps, others are not as lucky and have to deal with skin conditions like seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis, and itchy skin. Using the best coal tar shampoos can help you achieve healthy hair while calming the effects caused by skin conditions. Not only this, sometimes the skin peels off and starts shedding on your shoulders, and healing coal tar also provides extra care for these problems. It has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties that contain anti-parasitic and anti-itch properties. If you are unsure what to choose for your skin and hair, we are here to help. Scroll through the 11 top-rated shampoos to select the one made for your hair. All these products have garnered several rave reviews on different forums, reinstating their efficacy.

Top Picks
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Best For Daily Use: Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Therapeutic Shampoo
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Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Medicasp Coal Tar Gel Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
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Best All-Natural: ArtNaturals Scalp 18 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo
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Best For Dry And Damaged Hair: Psoriatrax Anti-Dandruff Coal Tar Shampoo
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Best For Hydration: Denorex Therapeutic Maximum Itch Relief Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner
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Best For Healthy Scalp: DHS Tar Shampoo
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Best Silicone-Free: Pete & Pedro Control Anti-Itch Dandruff Shampoo
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Best Allergen-Free: MG217 Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Shampoo
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Best Herbal Fragrance: Alphosyl 2 In 1 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo
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Dermatologist Recommended : Daylogic Therapeutic Coal Tar Dandruff Shampoo
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What Is Coal Tar And How Does It Work?

Coal tar is a keratoplastic drug used in many over-the-counter as well as prescription shampoos and other cleansing products that are mainly used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, seborrhoea, severe dryness and itching. Its topical application is known to aid in the shedding of dead skin cells, thus aiding new cells to grow and is known to effectively reduce the itchiness caused due to dryness. When used in the correct quantities, this wonder ingredient is known to be highly effective and remedial in curing various skin conditions.The most commonly prescribed dosage of coal tar is 1-5%. One can use a coal tar shampoo once or twice a week, depending upon the severity of the skin condition. Although it is not advisable to use it for kids under 2 years of age, one can seek a medical practitioner’s help and use the prescribed amount to treat cradle caps and other skin conditions in children.

11 Best Coal Tar Shampoos For Psoriasis And Seborrhoeic Dermatitis-Free Skin

1. Best For Daily Use:Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Therapeutic Shampoo

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4.5
Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Image: Neutrogena

Relieve your scalp of itchiness and flaking with this dermatologist-recommended Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Therapeutic Shampoo. It incorporates 1% of coal tar extract with a unique Neutar technology in its formulation, which helps in reducing the symptoms associated with skin conditions like psoriasis and seborrhoeic dermatitis. This shampoo cleanses the scalp of impurities and you are sure to have a therapeutic experience resulting in an extra strong, healthy head of hair right after the first wash. Owing to its gentle formulation, this Neutrogena coal tar shampoo can also be used daily for hair cleansing if you have severe symptoms.

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

Pros
  • Alcohol-free
  • Aluminum-free
  • Anti-seborrheic formula
  • Effective after the first wash
  • Suitable for daily use
  • Dermatologist recommended

Cons
  • Some might find the scent too strong

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This shampoo can help treat itchy scalp and dandruff symptoms caused by long-term minoxidil use.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 16,173 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

2. Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo:Medicasp Coal Tar Gel Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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Flaky skin settling on your clothes and everywhere you go? Not anymore as Medicasp brings to you a highly-effective coal tar gel anti-dandruff shampoo. Its fast-acting formula helps reduce the symptoms associated with various skin conditions. Redness, itchiness of the scalp, flaking, dry skin shedding will be gone for good, once you use this shampoo as it has .5% coal tar extract in its formulation. Feel more confident with skin that feels and looks healthy and free of dandruff, scalp irritation, seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis and other such skin conditions with this medicated coal tar shampoo.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.38 x 2.44 x 7.25 inches | Weight: 2.4 Ounces

Pros
  • Alcohol-free
  • Allergen-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Good for daily use
  • Provides relief from itchiness
  • Supports redness reduction

Cons
  • Might need a couple washes to work in some cases

3. Best All-Natural:ArtNaturals Scalp 18 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo

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Smell fresh and get rid of flaky skin at the same time with the ArtNaturals Scalp 18 Shampoo Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo. Coal tar helps relieve the scalp of itchiness, flakes, and scaling while other botanical ingredients like lemon, cypress, and argan oils help keep the scalp and hair moisturized, nourished, and smooth. Go on and add this therapeutic all-natural coal tar shampoo to your shopping list to wave goodbye to scaly dry skin and flaunt hale and lustrous hair.

Hair Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 3 inches | Weight: 1 Pounds

Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Organic ingredients

Cons
  • Some may find it slightly oily

4. Best For Dry And Damaged Hair:Psoriatrax Anti-Dandruff Coal Tar Shampoo

Healthy, clear, and dandruff-free skin is just a few washes away with the Psoriatrax Anti-Dandruff Coal Tar Shampoo. Carefully formulated with 5% coal tar and other potent ingredients, it helps to cleanse the skin of impurities and reduces scaling, flaking, and drying of the scalp. The shampoo provides effective dryness relief, thus healing dry and damaged skin will be easier than ever with this coal tar shampoo for dandruff. Use it regularly to stop the recurrence of psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, and other such skin conditions.

Pros
  • Steroid-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-drying formula

Cons
  • Contains sulfate

5. Best For Hydration:Denorex Therapeutic Maximum Itch Relief Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner

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Denorex Therapeutic Maximum Itch Relief Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner, 10 Fluid Ounce Image: Denorex

Bring out your dark clothes from the wardrobe as you no longer need to worry about flaky skin scattered all over. The Denorex Therapeutic Maximum Itch Relief Dandruff Shampoo And Conditioner provides relief from constant itching, redness, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other such skin conditions. It is packed with dermatologist-recommended ingredients. It has 1.8% coal tar in its formulation that helps regenerate damaged skin and promotes the growth of healthy skin cells. It provides skin therapy while soothing and renewing with a little help from provitamin B5.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 3.25 x 8.13 inches | Weight: 12.6 Ounces.

Pros
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Allergen-free
  • Non-drying formula
  • Makes hair smooth

Cons
  • Menthol present in the formula may make the head feel cold

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Use an anti-dandruff hair mask twice a week along with this product to get faster relief from dandruff and itchiness.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 1,369 Amazon users have vouched for this amazing product.

6. Best For Healthy Scalp:DHS Tar Shampoo

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A dry and damaged scalp will no longer be a cause of concern as the DHS Tar Shampoo is here to put a full stop to it. It is a powerful blend of ingredients like salicylic acid, .5% coal tar extract, and others that combat the symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, etc. A product recommended by dermatologists, this coal tar salicylic acid shampoo will make sure all skin problems are solved and never return. Hydrated skin will be yours to flaunt with regular use of this fragrance-free coal tar shampoo.

Hair Type: Dry, Damaged | Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.5 x 1.9 inches | Weight: 4 Ounces

Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Dermatologist recommended

Cons
  • Some users might find the smell unpleasant
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With 1,069 positive reviews on Amazon, this product has become a bestseller.

7. Best Silicone-Free:Pete & Pedro Control Anti-Itch Dandruff Shampoo

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Pete & Pedro Control Anti-Itch Dandruff Shampoo Image: Pete Pedro

If you have been putting off hair care because of skin problems, it is time to switch to Pete & Pedro Control Anti-Itch Dandruff Shampoo. It is made with a host of potent ingredients like peppermint oil, glycerin, tea tree oil, including two key active ingredients i.e. coal tar and menthol. Taking care of dry and flaky skin is now easy-breezy with 1% coal tar and 1.5% menthol imparts coolness and freshness to the scalp. The product aids flake control and bestows you with a clean, fresh scalp. So, use this coal tar dandruff shampoo to get yourself back in the game with a healthy mane that is free of psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, and other such skin conditions.

Hair Type: Dry, Dandruff

Pros
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Featured on Shark Tank

Cons
  • May not be best suited for a very oily scalp

8. Best Allergen-Free:MG217 Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Shampoo

Bid adieu to skin problems like psoriasis, seborrhoea, dandruff, eczema, and the like and prevent them from recurring by using the MG217 Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Shampoo. It has 3% coal tar, which effectively reduces flaking and scaling of the scalp, making it appear smooth and healthy. This tar based shampoo also works as a conditioner that imparts moisture and nourishment to the scalp and hair. Show off a head full of strong and hale hair with this amazing coal tar extract shampoo that doubles up a conditioner.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 4 x 2 x 7.3 inches | Weight: 1.3 Pounds

Pros
  • Herbal fragrance
  • Provides effective scalp treatment
  • Prevents recurrence of symptoms
  • Allergen-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Doubles up as conditioner

Cons
  • Contains parabens

9. Best Herbal Fragrance:Alphosyl 2 In 1 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo

Get the benefit of two products for the price of just one by using the Alphosyl 2 in 1 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo for skin conditions like psoriasis, seborrhoeic, and dermatitis among others. Tone down symptoms that tag along with these skin conditions while also cleansing the skin and providing moisture and nourishment. With 5% coal tar extract, you will surely be relieved from constant itching, redness, inflammation, and shedding of dry skin. This doctor-approved shampoo with tar also acts as a conditioner that deeply nourishes the scalp and hair, making it look and feel healthy.

Hair Type: Dandruff | Product Dimensions: 1.61 x 2.91 x 6.57 inches | Weight: 10.58 Ounces

Pros
  • Dermatologically recommended
  • Doubles up as a conditioner
  • Pleasant herbal fragrance
  • Works right from the first use

Cons
  • May not be suitable for pregnant women

10. Dermatologist Recommended:Daylogic Therapeutic Coal Tar Dandruff Shampoo

Pamper your dull and damaged scalp with an invigorating wash using the Daylogic Therapeutic Coal Tar Dandruff Shampoo. With 1% coal tar extract as its key active ingredient, you are sure to be rid of itchiness, flaking, scaling, and shedding of the skin. Get soothing relief from skin conditions like psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, eczema, etc and also be sure that these will never recur in the future. The formula is gentle on the scalp and ensures you get free-flowing tresses with every wash. Rest assured that you will have healthy and smooth skin with an added extra strength with regular use of the Daylogic coal tar shampoo.

Hair Type: Dandruff

Pros
  • Extra strength
  • Works in a couple washes
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Phthalate-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • Contains parabens and sulfates

11. Best For Professional Results:Artnaturals Argan Scalp 18 Shampoo

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Soak in all the goodness of argan and coal tar with the ArtNaturals Argan Scalp 18 Shampoo. If you suffer from skin problems like psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, eczema, etc, this professional shampoo will come to your rescue. The coal tar in it effectively reduces flaking and scaling of the scalp thus relieving symptoms like itchiness, redness, inflammation, etc. On the other hand, nourishing ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil and borage oil impart the necessary moisture and hydration to the scalp. Achieve a healthy scalp that houses smooth and shiny hair instantly with this professional-grade Artnaturals coal tar shampoo. This wonderful product has gained multiple positive reviews that celebrate its overall efficacy in addressing hair concerns.

Hair Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 3 inches | Weight: 1 Pounds

Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Anti-scaling formula
  • Organic ingredients

Cons
  • Some users might find the smell too strong

There you go. That was our list of the 11 best coal tar shampoos available in the market to effectively relieve you of psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, and other such skin conditions. But you may still be wondering which one you should pick for yourself. Here are a few pointers to help you out.

How To Choose The Best Coal Tar Shampoo

Coal tar is a by-product of carbonization and gasification of coal and is prescribed for topical use on dry and damaged skin. While looking out for the best coal tar shampoo for yourself, these are the few things that are to be kept in mind:

  • Ingredients

Coal tar shampoos combine many other nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E that aid in relieving scalp problems. While all the ingredients might not suit everyone, these are some of the most commonly used ingredients that you can look out for:

Botanical oils: Essential botanical oils like argan, tea tree, lemon, coconut, borage, rosemary, etc. can be used to restore moisture, hydration, and lustre of damaged hair.

Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is known for its cleansing properties. It penetrates deep into the pores and helps remove dirt and dead skin cells, thus reducing acne and redness and supporting skin cell renewal.

Sulfur: Sulfur helps to effectively remove the build-up of flakes and scales that are formed on the scalp as a result of psoriasis.

Ketoconazole: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ketoconazole helps to keep a check on flare-ups caused by psoriasis, seborrhoea, and other skin problems.

  • Dermatologically approved/recommended

A coal tar shampoo that has been approved or tested by a dermatologist is far safer to use than non-approved ones. Although 1-5% coal tar is safe to use topically, it is still advised to consult a dermatologist to get a better idea of the best-suited skin product for oneself.

  • User reviews

People who already use a specific product are usually able to give a lot of credible inputs based on their experience. Keep a keen eye out for user reviews to get a better idea of the pros and cons of the coal tar shampoos in the market before buying one for yourself.

  • Side-effects

Coal tar shampoos relieve the symptoms of skin problems but they might also have some minor side effects. Some common side effects include:

  • Staining of light-colored or blonde hair
  • Hair follicle problems (tar acne) upon long-term use
  • Slight burning sensation in some cases
  • Allergic reactions in rare cases

How To Use A Coal Tar Shampoo

Using a coal tar shampoo topically is not rocket science if you have successfully chosen the right one for yourself. Just follow the steps mentioned and you will have a squeaky clean mane that is free from skin problems in just no time.

Step 1: Wet your hair well with lukewarm water
Step 2: Take a generous amount of shampoo, rub it on to the scalp to work up a rich lather.
Step 3: Let the shampoo sit on the scalp for a few minutes
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly
Step 5: Repeat step 2 if needed.

It is advised to steer clear of direct sunlight, sunlamps, or tanning booths after the usage of a coal tar shampoo as it may make the skin sensitive and may cause sunburns or blisters.

Cosmetologist Lindsay Loo says, “Coal tar shampoos are great over-the-counter alternatives to help with scalp-related issues but if the conditions you are experiencing are not going away or getting worse, please consult with a professional or physician as this could require a more medicinal approach.”

Infographic: Things To Keep In Mind When Using A Coal Tar Shampoo

Coal tar shampoos are effective in managing scalp conditions like psoriasis and dandruff. However, they can dry out your scalp and make it sensitive. Hence, you need to follow some precautions when using these shampoos to ensure optimum benefits to your hair. The infographic below lists six safety tips to keep in mind when using a coal tar shampoo to avoid ending up with dull hair. Check it out.

Things To Keep In Mind When Using A Coal Tar Shampoo (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

If you suffer from scalp psoriasis, topical treatments might not be enough. You should incorporate the best coal tar shampoos in your hair care routine. These shampoos will help you get rid of excess dead skin cells present on your scalp. They will ensure healthy hair while soothing the effects caused by these skin conditions. Their antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties work wonders on your scalp. The Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Therapeutic Shampoo is perfect for daily use as it adds extra strength and provides effective relief to the scalp. Try the Denorex Therapeutic Maximum Itch Relief Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner for damaged skin, flaky scalp, and the growth of healthy skin cells. Opt for the Pete & Pedro Control Anti-Itch Dandruff Shampoo for its cooling effect and to bring some freshness to the scalp. The reviewed options in the list are free from synthetic chemicals, contain organic ingredients, and are suitable for everyday use. Go through the ingredients list, user reviews, and possible side effects of the product before choosing the best coal tar shampoos. Invest in professional-grade formulations that cater to your hair needs well to reduce the risk of allergies. Depending on the severity of the scalp condition, use this shampoo once or twice a week.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Krati Darak, is a hair care enthusiast with a passion for exploring various hair products and reviewing them. She conducted thorough research and went through multiple customer reviews online to shortlist the best coal tar shampoos on the market. The products on this list are formulated with coal tar and other gentle ingredients that can help you achieve healthy hair while calming the effects caused by various skin conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a coal tar shampoo made of?

A coal tar shampoo comprises mostly all the ingredients found in a regular shampoo with an addition of coal tar in quantities ranging from 1-5% .

How does a coal tar shampoo help psoriasis?

Coal tar helps to slow down the rapid growth of skin cells while preventing scaling and flaking of the skin to make it look smooth. It also offers respite from itching and inflammation associated with psoriasis.

How does a coal tar help seborrheic dermatitis?

Coal tar is a keratoplastic drug that reduces the speed of growth of the skin cells and causes the shedding of dead skin cells, thus helping in relieving seborrhoeic dermatitis, also known commonly as dandruff.

How often should I use a coal tar shampoo?

Depending upon the condition of the skin, one can use a coal tar shampoo once or twice a week or daily. Although it is best to consult a physician to determine the correct dosage for oneself.

Are there any side effects from using a coal tar shampoo?

Although serious side effects of coal tar shampoo are very rare, it is seen that long-term use might hamper one’s hair follicle health and cause hair follicle problems like tar acne. Other mild side effects reported are stinging/burning of the scalp, peeling of the skin, and discoloration or staining.

Can we use a coal tar shampoo on colored hair?

Coal tar might cause discoloration or staining, hence using it on blonde or light-colored hair might not be the best idea.

Can coal tar shampoos cause cancer?

After careful study and research, it is inferred that coal tar shampoos are not associated with an increased risk of cancer.


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Lindsay Loo
Lindsay LooCosmetologist
Lindsay Loo is a cosmetologist who has spent 10 years behind the chair in a storied salon in Chelsea. She is a certified Wella Master Color Expert and also has experience backstage at New York Fashion Week. She has a private studio and loves to make her clients feel amazing and welcomed.

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Krati Darak
Krati DarakAssociate Commerce Editor
Krati is an associate commerce editor, a certified skin care coach, and a beauty enthusiast. She has a master’s degree in advertising and publishing relations from DAVV University and three years of experience in writing and editing for different niches.

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Medha Deb
Medha DebCommerce Editor
Medha Deb is a commerce editor with a master's degree in applied linguistics from the University of Hyderabad, which has allowed her to develop a deep understanding of language and its application in various contexts. She specializes in the areas of beauty, health, and wellness and is committed to ensuring that the content on the website is of the highest quality.

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Shiboli Chakraborti
Shiboli ChakrabortiCommerce Editor
Shiboli has a master’s degree in English literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and is a certified skincare coach with four years of experience. As a commerce editor, she guides her team members on the best practices to create crisp and authentic content.

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