6 Best Shampoo To Treat Scalp Acne In 2024

6 Best Shampoo To Treat Scalp Acne In 2024

Here are the reviews of the best shampoo to treat scalp acne. These contain ingredients like tea tree oil, ketoconazole, etc. that help control acne. Check out which medicated shampoo is best!

It’s very easy to get pimples on your scalp. The sebum, dirt, and product build-up can get clogged in your hair follicles, leading to acne.

Sometimes, bacteria or fungal infections can also occur inside these clogged pores, worsening acne.  Here are some shampoos that treat it.



Shampoos For Scalp Acne Best For Chief Ingredients
Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo Severe Scalp Acne 3% Salicylic Acid
Tree To Tub Soapberry For Hair Color-treated Hair Soapberry, Tea Tree Oil, Saw Palmetto
Phyto Apaisant Botanical Soothing Treatment Shampoo Dry Scalps Passion Flower, Salicylic Acid, Vitamin E
Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo Oily Scalps Jujube Extracts, Salicylic Acid
Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo Sensitive Skin, Allergies Glucoside, Glycerin, Panthenol

The Neutrogena T/Sal shampoo contains salicylic acid as its main ingredient. It gently exfoliates your scalp, unclogging pores and reducing acne. This shampoo is also sulfate free, so you can use it on color-treated hair. You can see a difference in your scalp acne with just 2-3 weeks of use. 



Top Shampoo To Treat Scalp Acne 2024

Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo

medicated shampoo for scalp acne

Our medical reviewer Dr Bhavika Shah says that "Scalp acne can be relentless and irritating, making it difficult to find an effective solution. Thankfully, there are some medicated shampoos like the Neutrogena T-Sal on the market that are known to help eradicate scalp acne quickly and efficiently."

This Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo is one of the more famous shampoo to treat scalp acne. So I was quite excited to try this dermatologist-recommended product. 

According to Dr Bhavika, "One of the most popular medicated shampoos for scalp acne is the Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo. This potent formula contains 0.5% coal tar, which is a common dermatologist–recommended ingredient that helps to combat scalp blemishes."

"It also contains zinc pyrithione, which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it extra–effective in attacking scalp acne."

The chief ingredient here is 3 percent salicylic acid or BHA which is a common part of many skincare products for acne. 

It’s a gentle chemical exfoliant that removes all the impurities from your scalp. It also removes product buildup accumulated due to excess use of gels, conditioners, and hairspray.

I also liked how the shampoo did not contain any sulfates. There are no SLS or SLES in here. 

But there is a milder form of surfactants called sulfonates. These do not strip the natural oils from your scalp or trigger irritation.

Best shampoo to treat scalp acne

However, they can remove hair dye from strands. So I wouldn’t advise people with color-treated hair using this shampoo.

Other than that it’s a great product for sensitive scalps as there are no artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives here. It’s alcohol-free too. 

The shampoo is super effective at removing flaky crusts, dandruff, acne-causing bacteria, and other dirt from your scalp. It’s also fantastic at unclogging hair follicles. 

Best shampoo to treat scalp acne


  • Mildly exfoliating
  • Gentle on sensitive scalps
  • Can be used for psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Affordable
  • Free of artificial colors, scents, and preservatives


  • Not for color-treated hair
  • Can get drying if used regularly 

Acne Reducing - 4.5/5

Gentleness - 4/5

Affordability - 5/5

Fragrance - 4/5

Hair Care - 3/5

Tree To Tub Soapberry For Hair - (best tea tree shampoo for scalp acne)

best tea tree shampoo for scalp acne

A lot of these clarifying shampoos that treat scalp acne tend to be medicated or very drying on your hair. 

But I wanted something to look after my tresses as well as reduce the pimples on my scalp. And I found it in the Tree to Tub Soapberry shampoo.

And as Dr Shah adds, "The WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is another excellent choice for people dealing with scalp acne. It is made with organic raw apple cider vinegar, which helps to naturally exfoliate the scalp and wash away dirt, bacteria, and excess sebum."

She says that "Fortunately, it is also free of harsh detergents and sulfates, so it won’t irritate the skin or strip away essential nutrients."

Yes, this product is free of any harsh chemicals. So no sulfates, alcohol, parabens, artificial color, fragrances, silicones, or anything of that sort!

And the best part? The shampoo uses natural soapberry extracts to create lather. So there are no milder chemical surfactants.

Best shampoo to treat scalp acne

This means you can use it on color-treated hair without a second thought. 

I especially loved the nourishing formula. There’s aloe vera, soapberry, coconut extract, sage, and tea tree oil that takes care of acne. 

And there’s also DHT blockers in the form of saw palmetto and caffeine that promote hair growth. 

This shampoo works so well on scalp acne because of its pH balanced, anti-inflammatory formula. It’s slightly acidic 5.5 pH perfectly matches the human body.


  • Natural ingredients
  • pH balanced
  • No sulfates or harsh chemicals
  • DHT blockers prevent hair loss


  • Not strong enough for severe acne problems

Acne Reducing - 4/5

Gentleness - 5/5

Affordability - 3.5/5

Fragrance - 4.5/5

Hair Care - 5/5

Nizoral A-D Ketoconazole Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - (best ketoconazole shampoo for scalp acne)

ketoconazole shampoo for scalp acne

Dr Shah adds that, "Another gentle but effective shampoo for scalp acne is the Nizoral AD Shampoo. Boasting natural antifungal properties, this particular formula is ideal for eliminating stubborn scalp acne. An added benefit of using this medicated shampoo", she continues, "…is that it will also help reduce itching and flaking with its nourishing yet powerful blend of salicylic acid, aloe, and pyrithione zinc."

And someone who has suffered from scalp acne since my teenage years, I was willing to give Nizoral A-D Ketoconazole Anti-Dandruff shampoo a try.

After all, it's always nice to find a product that is specifically formulated to treat the specific needs of my scalp. Once I gave it a shot, I noticed a difference almost immediately.

After a few uses, my scalp felt soothed and nourished. My scalp acne was minimized and over time, I was able to see an improvement in my scalp condition.

Plus, the shampoo has a nice, herbal scent that I'm a fan of, which gives it bonus points from me. Nizoral A-D Ketoconazole Anti-Dandruff shampoo is gentle yet effective and provides instant relief from my itchy and irritated scalp.

Even after a few washes, I can feel my scalp looking and feeling healthier and I love the result. I’ll definitely recommend it to friends and family, and continue to use it myself.

To put it simply, Nizoral A-D Ketoconazole Anti-Dandruff shampoo is a great remedy for any scalp-related issues you may have, especially scalp acne.

I’ve tried other shampoos before and this one is by far the best. If you’re looking for an effective shampoo that promises results, don’t look any further!

Phyto Apaisant Botanical Soothing Treatment Shampoo

best shampoo for forehead acne

Most acne-reducing products focus on reducing sebum production as well. But what happens if you have a dry scalp and acne?

I found this Phyto Apaisant shampoo when I was looking for something that will nourish my scalp and get rid of pimples.

The product contains passion flower extract, mallow extract, coconut, and vitamin E all of which help hydrate scalp and reduce itching and inflammation.

Despite the presence of the exfoliant salicylic acid, this shampoo didn’t dry out my locks!

Best shampoo to treat scalp acne

There are no sulfates in this shampoo either. So you can use it care-free on your color-treated hair. 

While the formula is definitely soothing and calms acne, redness, and irritation, I found it a bit mild, especially when you compare it to the older, discontinued Phyto Intense shampoo.

So if you have seborrheic dermatitis or severe acne, a slightly more powerful shampoo like the T/Sal is a better choice.


  • Mild and nourishing
  • Good for color-treated hair
  • Leaves hair soft
  • Exfoliates scalp without drying it


  • Not very powerful 

Acne Reducing - 3.5/5

Gentleness - 4.5/5

Affordability - 4/5

Fragrance - 4/5

Hair Care - 5/5

Related: What shampoo reduces Dry Itchy Scalp

Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo for Oily or Flaky Scalp

pimples on scalp popping

I tried out this Christophe Robin shampoo as it has now become a sort of cult favorite. So I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Truthfully, I went in with high expectations and was a bit disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, the shampoo is amazing for those with an oily scalp, dandruff, and scalp acne problem.

But it’s not very special for its price tag. And trust me, it’s a massive price tag at that. 

There’s no sulfates, parabens, or silicones in this shampoo. But it does contain a milder form of surfactants. So it’s not the best product for colored hair.

The top ingredient here is jujube bark extract that helps reduce dandruff, excess oiliness, and scalp acne. 

But there’s also added perfume, so you should stay away if you’ve got inflammation or scalp issues like psoriasis. 

I also noticed that the pump on the product isn’t as effective, which is annoying given the exorbitant price of the shampoo.


  • Good for oily scalps
  • Balances sebum production
  • Helps reduce dandruff
  • Smells great


  • Artificial fragrances 
  • Not for color-treated hair
  • Very expensive

Acne Reducing - 3.5/5

Gentleness - 4/5

Affordability - 3/5

Fragrance - 4.5/5

Hair Care - 4/5

Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

what shampoo is best for scalp acne

After spending on the Christophe Robin shampoo, I was desperate to find an effective shampoo to treat scalp acne that didn’t leave my pockets empty. 

And that’s when I discovered the Vanicream Free & Clear shampoo. It’s sulfate free, hypoallergenic and very very affordable. 

It’s great for people who have inflammatory issues or allergies or certain plants and herbs. There’s no gluten or any plant-based component here. So there’s no chance of irritation.

But this shampoo is very drying. It removes all traces of dandruff, crusts, and impurities from scalp. 

Unfortunately, it also removes most of the scalp's natural oils.

This is not so bad if you have a very oily scalp. But it can be devastating for folks with dry scalp types. For them I would suggest sticking to the PhytoApaisant Shampoo.


  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Doesn’t have plant extracts that can lead to allergic reactions
  • Reduces oiliness and dandruff


  • Doesn’t lather well
  • Very drying
  • Strips color from hair

Acne Reducing - 4.5/5

Gentleness - 3/5

Affordability - 5/5

Fragrance - 3.5/5

Hair Care - 4/5


All you need to do now is pick your favorite shampoo to treat scalp acne! 

Don’t forget to take into consideration your scalp type, the severity of your acne, and any other hair issues before buying a shampoo. 

There are several medicated OTC shampoos you can get for severe scalp issues. But it’s always better to visit your dermatologist for a clearer opinion. 



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