The 4 Best Shampoo For Folliculitis 2024 | For A Clean, Healthy Scalp

The 4 Best Shampoo For Folliculitis 2024 | For A Clean, Healthy Scalp

Check out the top over-the-counter and medicated shampoo for folliculitis with ingredients like ketoconazole and more. These include brands like CLN and Nizoral as well. 

Battling with folliculitis can be a discomforting and persistent issue that affects not only the health of your scalp but also your overall hair appearance and self-confidence. At Hair Everyday, we recognize the importance of finding the right hair care solutions for such conditions. That's why we've dedicated an entire article to exploring the best shampoos for folliculitis, aimed at providing relief and promoting scalp health.

Our comprehensive guide is meticulously crafted to help you understand the underlying causes of folliculitis and the key ingredients to look for in a shampoo that can effectively soothe and treat your scalp. We delve into the science behind various formulations, offering insights into how they work to reduce inflammation, fight bacterial or fungal causes, and prevent recurrence.

Whether you're looking for a medicated option or a gentle, natural remedy, our article aims to empower you with the knowledge to make an informed decision that aligns with your scalp care needs. Join us as we navigate the path to a healthier scalp and hair with the right shampoo for folliculitis.



Here are the best shampoos for folliculitis



We asked our medical reviewer, Dr Bhavika (MBBS, MD in Dermatology) about the best shampoos for folliculitis. Dr Bhavika says, "Folliculitis is unlike dandruff or psoriasis where need to exfoliate the scalp to treat it. This condition is seen more commonly in people who shave the scalp or scratch it often because this can cause erosions that can get infected. It can also be seen in people who either wear hats or helmets for long because sweating under occlusion can cause folliculitis. Applying warm compresses also helps. But a shampoo for folliculitis is most effective"


what is folliculitis



What Is Folliculitis on Hair?

Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles due to fungal or bacterial overgrowth in clogged follicles. Dr Bhavika adds that "Folliculitis is usually caused due to a bacterial infection of the scalp follicles, fungal infection is rare." This condition is characterized by tiny red bumps or dots that appear on the scalp and from where hair grows. Further, Dr Bhavika says that "the main symptom is pain or pus discharge, not itching. If left untreated for long, it can even cause scarring. permanent hair loss." While shampoos for folliculitis are effective Dr Bhavika adds that "Cases of severe folliculitis require oral antibiotics as well."



Top Shampoo For Folliculitis 2024



CLN Scalp Shampoo

medicated shampoo for folliculitis

I had heard a lot about the CLN shampoo as it’s among the dermatologist approved scalp treatments for folliculitis. So I decided to use and review it for you all. It reduced the redness and itching on my scalp by a considerable amount on the first wash itself!

So it’s a medicated shampoo and contains Sodium hypochlorite ("National Center for Biotechnology Information. "PubChem Compound Summary for CID 23665760, Sodium Hypochlorite"), which is a common disinfectant and salicylic acid, a very good chemical exfoliator.

The other popular ingredients in shampoos advertised for this condition fail in comparison to this formula. According to our medical expert Dr Bhavika, "ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, coal tar, and salicylic acid can help reduce build-up and cleanse the scalp effectively but they are not used in the treatment of folliculitis. Antibiotic creams such as fusidic acid or mupirocin are required."

My scalp looked fresh as a daisy within just 3 weeks of use and I will be forever grateful that I don’t have to scratch my head like a maniac in public again. But there's a catch...this shampoo is a tad too strong!

I mean it’s still milder than shampoos like Nizoral which contain ketoconazole or coal tar shampoos. 

Yet, it’s still very clarifying and it contains surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate as well. 

So if you have color-treated hair or dry scalp (along with a milder case of folliculitis) I’d suggest going for a tea tree oil shampoo instead. However Dr Bhavika adds that "Some ingredients like tea tree oil and hypochlorite have a mild antibiotic action and may be helpful but by no means are they sufficient to treat folliculitis"

If not, CLN scalp shampoo is your best friend. 


  • Salicylic acid in the formula helps unclog follicles from deep within
  • Sodium Hypochlorite helps control bacterial and fungal growth
  • Hypoallergenic shampoo can be used by people with sensitivities 


  • Contains SLES so it’s not suited for color-treated hair
  • The powerful, medicated formula can leave scalp dry if used too often

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power - 5/5
  • Soothing Power - 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp - 3.5/5 

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

ketoconazole shampoo for folliculitis

Now if you have had dandruff issues in the past, you might be familiar with the Nizoral AD shampoo. It’s chief ingredient is 1 percent ketoconazole which can annihilate dandruff in a few goes. 

But did you know that topical ketoconazole is effective against folliculitis as well? According to this study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, "oral ketoconazole with topical ketoconazol" worked as a cure in 75 percent of patients with folliculitis. (Rubenstein RM, Malerich SA. Malassezia (pityrosporum) folliculitis. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(3):37-41.)

I didn’t even have to use the shampoo for a few weeks. It worked its magic in days. 

My follicles were unclogged, the redness gone and itching almost non-existent. So I’d say this is a miracle cure of sorts for folliculitis. 

Nizoral has also been vouced for as an effective remedy for fungal acne by Dr Shah and Dr Maxfield of the Youtube duo Doctorly. They are licensed doctors in the US and think using the shampoo helps malassezia folliculitis.

However, this extra-effectiveness is due to the extra-strong formula. And while ketoconazole and sulfates are great at removing fungus, bacteria and dirt, they will also clear off any moisture or color pigments from hair.

nizoral shampoo for folliculitis

So if you have dry hair, this isn’t for you. If you have color-treated hair, then sorry this could strip hair color too.

If you have severe folliculitis and really need a strong formula like the Nizoral I’d suggest using this shampoo only once a week. 

However if you have only milder forms of folliculitis I’d still recommend sticking to natural anti-inflammatory shampoos like the Aromatica or Tea Tree Special 


  • Ketoconazole in the shampoo is very effective at curing fungal folliculitis
  • Strong clarifying formula unclogs pores and removes dirt and debris preventing further infection


  • Formula is too strong and can be drying on hair and scalp (especially if used daily)
  • Contains sulfates that can strip hair color

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power - 5/5
  • Soothing Power - 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp - 3/5

AROMATICA Cypress Deep Cleansing Shampoo

best over the counter shampoo for folliculitis

I was looking for a natural, daily shampoo for folliculitis when I came across this one by the Korean brand Aromatica. I had never tried it before so I was curious. 

I was impressed by the fact that it didn’t contain any sulfates, only natural ingredients like star anise, eucalyptus, pine leaf oil and green tea extracts. All of which are known to have anti-inflammatory and to some degree antibacterial properties.

And yes, it did help control my folliculitis a bit. But it’s not as strong (obviously) as the medicated shampoos CLN or Nizoral.

I feel this shampoo is best suited for the early stages of folliculitis or as a preventive measure to keep follicles from being clogged in the first place.

Nevertheless, it helped reduce the redness and inflammation on my scalp to a great extent. 

Also I give it bonus points for a) being vegan and b) having an amazing and completely natural fragrance.

best otc shampoo for folliculitis

Oh, and it’s a great product for oily scalps too! 

Now for the downside. This product isn’t perfect. I didn’t like that there was ethanol in it. That particular alcohol can be very drying on scalps. So I wouldn’t suggest it if you already have a dry scalp. 


  • It’s a sulfate-free shampoo that’s safe for color-treated hair
  • Contains only natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like star anise and pine oil
  • Lovely fragrance from natural sources
  • Vegan and EWP-certified product


  • Contains ethanol that can be drying on scalp
  • Not as powerful as medicated shampoos so not suitable for severe cases of folliculitis

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power - 4/5
  • Soothing Power - 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp - 4/5

Tea Tree Special Shampoo

scalp folliculitis treatment

Tea tree essential oil has many antibacterial and antifungal properties. So I had to try this Tea Tree Special Shampoo from popular salon brand Paul Mitchell. 

And honestly? I have mixed feelings about this one.

On one hand I absolutely adore the tea tree formula as it soothed the inflammation and redness on my scalp in just 3 weeks of continued use.

On the other hand I was sort of disappointed to see the use of sulfates in the shampoo. 

I mean I get that a shampoo for treating folliculitis needs to be clarified but I guess there are better surfactants and exfoliants out there than sulfates! 

Also I loved the peppermint fragrance at first and thought that it was from the added mint essential oil but no… this shampoo actually contains fragrances.

At this point you could just use the CLN shampoo despite the strong formula as your hair is getting dry anyway.

Use this shampoo if you have mild folliculitis and don’t want to pay a lot for the Aromatica shampoo. And also if you have oily hair that is not color-treated.

Otherwise, look for any other tea tree oil shampoo (personally I like the Maple Holistics one), and give this one a skip! 

best shampoo for folliculitis and hair loss


  • Cheaper alternative to the Aromatica shampoo
  • Tea tree oil formula has excellent antifungal and antibacterial properties
  • Comes with a fresh peppermint fragrance
  • Menthol leaves a cool, fresh feeling on inflamed scalp


  • Contains sulfates so it’s not for color-treated hair
  • Contains artificial perfumes and colorants that can cause further irritation 
  • Dimethicone can cause product buildup in the long run

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power - 4/5
  • Soothing Power - 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp - 3.5/5




Top Shampoos For Folliculitis CLN Scalp Shampoo Nizoral Anti-dandruff Shampoo Aromatica Deep CleansingShampoo Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Price Affordable Very Affordable Very Expensive Slightly Expensive
Medicated? Yes Yes No No
Strength of Formula 4.5/5 5/5 4/5 3.5/5
Folicle Cleansing Ability 4.5/5 5/5 4/5 4/5
Soothing 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 5/5
Gentleness on Hair 3.5/5 3/5 4.5/5 4/5
Sulfate-Free No No Yes No
Suitable For Colored Hair  No No Yes No

How To Choose The Right Shampoo If You Have Folliculitis?

Choosing the right shampoo if you have folliculitis is important to manage the condition and prevent flare-ups. Here's how:

Consult a Dermatologist: Before making any decisions, it's crucial to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional. They can diagnose your specific type of folliculitis and recommend the most suitable treatment plan, which may include a specific shampoo.

Look for Medicated Shampoos: In many cases, medicated shampoos are recommended for treating folliculitis. These shampoos often contain active ingredients that help control the infection and reduce inflammation. Common ingredients to look for include:

  • Salicylic Acid: This helps to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells that can clog hair follicles.
  • Ketoconazole: Effective against fungal folliculitis.
  • Antibacterial agents: Such as benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil to combat bacterial folliculitis.

Avoid Harsh Ingredients: Shampoos with harsh chemicals or fragrances can irritate the skin and worsen folliculitis. Look for products that are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and gentle on the skin.

Look For pH-Balanced Shampoos: Opt for shampoos that are pH-balanced as they are less likely to disrupt the natural pH of the skin, which can be beneficial for folliculitis-prone skin.




Final Thoughts on Using the Best Shampoos For Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be very easily managed if you use the right shampoo. If you have a mild case then there even a OTC shampoo like the ones listed above should be enough to cure it. 

You can use high-strength shampoos like Nizoral or CLN with ingredients like ketoconazole or coal tar. 

But for milder cases or color-treated hair, gentler shampoos with natural ingredients like tea tree oil, neem, or apple cider vinegar should also do the trick.

If you find the folliculitis isn’t going away easily or getting worse even after using these shampoos, I highly recommend going to a dermatologist. 


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