7 Best Scalp Acne Shampoos of 2019 – Scalp Breakout Treatments from Derms – Cosmopolitan

By | October 24, 2019


Um, hi—I have acne on my scalp and it really f*cking sucks. Whether I’ve got a small-but-painful bump on my hairline or a full-fledged zit on my crown, I can hardly go a few weeks without noticing some scalp acne here and there. The good news? According to trichologist Dominic Burg, chief scientist at Evolis Professional, scalp acne is actually relatively easy to treat. Unless you’re dealing with a severe case—which should definitely be looked at by a doctor—the easiest way to treat occasional bumps, zits, and redness on your scalp is by washing your hair with the right shampoo.

“The main way to clear scalp acne is just to make sure that you’re cleansing really well,” Burg has told Cosmopolitan. “You’ll want to use a good quality, sulfate-free shampoo that’s formulated with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, like rosemary, lavender, or salicylic acid.” And when you’re using that shampoo, you’ll want to gently exfoliate your scalp with your fingertips or a shampoo brush to make sure you’re really getting rid of excess oil and product buildup.

See? Not too hard. And to get you started, I rounded up the seven best shampoos for scalp acne, all of which clean and treat that pretty little head of yours without destroying your hair.

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Best Soothing Shampoo for Scalp Acne

Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo


$ 28.00

This cute scalp acne shampoo has two hero ingredients: lactic acid (which helps regulate oil production) and salicylic acid (which gently—but thoroughly!—breaks down clogged pores and dead skin cells). The result? A clean, buildup-free scalp with less breakouts and redness.

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Best Exfoliating Shampoo for Scalp Acne

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo


$ 42.00

Clarifying charcoal and antioxidant-rich coconut oil are combined in this sulfate-free shampoo that targets acne, dry scalp, and irritation every time you use it. Massage it into your scalp with your fingertips (or a shampoo brush! I legit love them! Sponsor me!) and let the formula get to work.


Best Drugstore Shampoo for Scalp Acne

Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo


$ 9.71

Don’t feel like spending a shit-ton of $ $ $ treating your scalp acne? I feel you. That’s where this drugstore shampoo comes into play—the formula’s 3 percent salicylic acid gently removes scalp buildup and the itching, redness, and breakouts that come with it for less than $ 10.


Best Shampoo for Scalp Acne and Hair Thinning

Evolis Professional Reverse Shampoo


$ 28.00

Sometimes, scalp acne is accompanied by something even more fun: hair thinning. Treat ’em both simultaneously with this smart shampoo from Evolis, which cleanses, adds volume, and blasts your strands and scalp with strengthening ingredients (think: keratin and wheat protein). And remember: If you aren’t seeing any change (or you notice significant hair loss or scalp acne) within a month, definitely hit up your doctor.


Best Gentle Shampoo for Scalp Acne

Klorane Shampoo with Peony


$ 15.00

If you can’t get through the week without washing your hair at least a couple times, you’ll want to make sure you’re using an ultra-gentle, non-stripping formula. This scalp acne-friendly shampoo is gentle enough to use daily, and it’s loaded with soothing ingredients like peony extract to help curb the inflammation, too.

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Best Scalp Acne Shampoo for Curly Hair

DevaCurl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum


$ 28.00

Looking for a shampoo that treats your scalp acne without drying out your curls? DevaCurl’s got you. Technically, this serum is a treatment, not a shampoo, but if you’re co-washing or using sulfate-free cleansers, you need something stronger to treat breakouts. This formula keeps your scalp nice and clean without sacrificing soft and shiny texture, thanks to ingredients like jojoba and panthenol (and zero sulfates).


Best Shampoo for Acne and Itchy Scalp

Phyto Apaisant Botanical Soothing Treatment Shampoo


$ 26.00

Acne and dry, itchy scalps might go hand in hand (yay!), but this shampoo makes your treatment plan that much easier. The formula’s vitamin E, salicylic acid, and purslane extract all come together to hydrate, clean, and soothe your scalp. And did I mention it’s hypoallergenic? ‘Cause it is.

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