6 Best Shampoo For Scalp Acne Reviews 2020 | Get Your Hair Follicles & Pores Unclogged

While pimples on scalp are less common than face and body acne, these can be just as upsetting for the affected persons. These may also be smaller but these can be just as sore, red and itchy as the pimples on the face and body, not to mention that these can extend to the back of the head. These also occur when the hair follicle or pore becomes clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and hair products; the presence of bacteria, mites, or yeast can result in an infection. Fortunately, these can be remedied with the use of the best shampoo for scalp acne, among other measures.

Based on these tips, we found six shampoos that we believe are best for treating .

Choosing the Best Shampoo For Scalp Acne

Dermatologists recommend buying a gentle yet effective medicated shampoo for folliculitis (i.e., inflamed hair follicles), if you have been diagnosed with it. Said shampoo is usually prescription-only but there are also many other over-the-counter shampoos for scalp acne that will work for mild cases.

Keep in mind, too, that shampoos for scalp acne should only be part of a wholistic scalp treatment that includes cleaning your hair and scalp regularly and switching to an electric razor, if you shave your head and/or the back of your neck.  While an antibacterial shampoo will clear up the infection, it isn’t a guarantee that the infection will not recur and, thus, the prevention measures.  

With that being said, here are our tips for choosing the best shampoo for pimples and the like on your scalp.  

Look at the list of ingredients first

While the positive reviews from consumers are a good gauge of a product’s efficacy, it’s still best to ensure that, indeed, the ingredients are safe and effective.  The most important ingredients to look for in a scalp acne shampoo are:

  • Salicylic acid, an ingredient that exfoliates the skin, loosed up the buildup of dead skin cells, dirt and hair products on the scalp, and opens the pores. Plus, it won’t affect the color of your hair, whether it’s natural or dyed.
  • Zinc, a mineral that naturally regulates the quantity of sebum secreted by the sebaceous glands. The decrease in excess oil results in the decreased risk of infections caused by bacteria or fungi in the scalp.  It also aids in unclogging the hair follicles of the buildup of dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil as well as irritation, all of which are issues related to acne.
  • Tea tree oil, an essential oil considered as a natural alternative to salicylic acid. But many a salicylic acid shampoo also contains tea tree oil for better results. It is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties and, thus, it’s a safe and effective ingredient in removing and preventing acne breakouts.  

  • Aloe vera, an herb that cools and calms down the itchiness and irritation caused by acne on the scalp. It also has mild antibacterial property that aids in the prevention of bacterial infections.
  • Jojoba oil, an essential oil with anti-inflammatory property. It can decrease the amount of irritation and redness of the scalp and, thus, facilitate a speedier healing from folliculitis.

If you’re in doubt about the ingredients and their effects on your hair and scalp health, you can research them. But there’s a good rule of thumb that we use: If it sounds like parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances, it may be a good idea to look elsewhere, especially if you have sensitivity issues.

Choose the lighter and gentler option

While medicated acne shampoos are an effective remedy, these can also cause more issues. Keep in mind that oily and heavy products will increase the risk of pore blockage and, thus, aggravate acne breakouts. These products can stay in the scalp instead of being easily rinsed with water resulting in more buildup of sebum, dead skin cells and dirt in the pores.

Be sure then to look for lighter and gentler scalp acne shampoos. In general, shampoos with thinner, or watery, consistency are lighter than shampoos with a creamy texture. Look for the best shampoo for sensitive scalp, too, as it is more likely to contain gentler yet still effective ingredients.

Consider the rewards and risks

While medicated shampoos for scalp acne are crucial in treating the troublesome – and embarrassing since the scalp usually has a malodorous smell during breakouts – condition, it has its issues, too. Even the best shampoo with salicylic acid can cause a too dry scalp that, in turn, can result in dry, brittle hair.

Always read the product label for instructions on a shampoo’s use. Generally speaking, most of these shampoos can only be used for two to three times week; otherwise, these can damage the scalp and hair. Most of them can only be used during an acne breakout – as soon as the scalp is back to its normal state, you have to switch to regular shampoo.  

Our Picks for the Best Scalp Acne Shampoo

Based on these tips, we found six shampoos that we believe are best for treating scalp folliculitis.  

The ANTI-b Antibacterial Shampoo is an excellent scalp folliculitis shampoo because it works on the source of the problem – the bacteria that cause the inflammation and infection in the scalp.

Due to its transdermal formulation, it can penetrate deeper into the scalp including the roots and follicles of the hair resulting in faster healing of the pimples. If you have fungal acne, you can also use it as part of your wholistic treatment plan.

According to the manufacturer, its efficacy lies in a unique ingredient known as Cutipure CLR, a chemical substance with strong antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. (It’s also the main reason why ANTI-b is the best shampoo for folliculitis in our opinion.) 

Contrary to its artificial-sounding name, it’s actually derived from natural ingredients chosen for their  beneficial properties including: 

  • Lemon essential oil, a vitamin C-rich essential oil that aids in decreasing infection, remoing dandruff, and treating seborrheic dermatitis. Plus, it has an energizing scent that removes the bad smell of infected pimples.   

  • Witch hazel, an antiseptic ingredient that clears away the buildup of oil, dust and dead skin cells on the scalp. When used with other ingredients, it significantly reduces itching, flaking and redness in the scalp.

Other ingredients are aloe vera for its moisturizing property and calendula for its wound healing property. Many of the ingredients in this antimicrobial shampoo also have analgesic property so regular use will make the discomfort associated with scalp acne considerably less noticeable. As the pimples are no more, the discomfort will soon be gone – and you can brush or comb your hair without feeling like needles are piercing your scalp.  

Proof that the shampoo is mostly made of natural ingredients: There’s a sediment at the bottom of the bottle due to the separation of the ingredients. Shake it well before use to evenly distribute the ingredients and get maximum benefits from its regular use.


Things We Liked

  • Safe and effective for use in men and women
  • Actually works in resolving mild to moderate scalp acne
  • Contains natural ingredients (i.e., no sulfates)
  • Pleasant lemon smell

Things We Didn't Like

  • May be slightly harsh on fine, limp hair

The CLn shampoo is a mild yet effective salicylic acid shampoo that also contains sodium hypochlorite. Both ingredients can remove the dead skin cells, dirt, and oil residue from the clogged pores and, thus, aid in removing the red spots on scalp.

After a few days of regular and proper shampooing, most users report that their pimples cleared up.

The discomfort, even the mild to moderate pain, associated with pimple also became less and less as the acne healed. The itchiness and flakiness were also removed, a bonus since the shampoo also works against dandruff and dermatitis.  

We like it that the CLn shampoo is compatible with most hair types including straight, wavy and curly hair, for normal or oily hair, and for thick and thin hair. But it’s important to adjust the amount of shampoo used depending on your hair type – more for thick or curly hair, less for fine or thin hair, for example.

Be sure to follow the instructions for use, too, since it can cause dry, damaged or brittle hair with misuse or abuse. Massage well into the scalp to form a lather, rinse well with lukewarm water, and follow with a conditioner.  Avoid using more than 2-3 times a week.

There’s no unpleasant after-smell when using the CLn shampoo. Instead, it has a neutral smell that will suit both men and women.

People with skin and scalp sensitivity issues will find the hypoallergenic formulation to be in their favor. There are no triclosan, parabens, and artificial fragrances, which are the common culprits in allergic reactions; when these occur, the symptoms of scalp acne worsen with the increased redness, swelling, and itchiness. But there are no antibiotics in it, too, which may decrease its efficacy in treating bacteria-based scalp pimples.


Things We Liked

  • Effective in treating mild pimples on the scalp, even on the jaw and neck (i.e., beard)
  • Suitable for nearly all hair types
  • Decreases discomfort, itchiness, and flakiness after a few uses
  • Easy on the scalp and hair

Things We Didn't Like

  • Weak lather

The Clear 2 Perfection non comedogenic shampoo is part of a complete set of hair care products for people with acne on scalp. Instead of synthetic ingredients, it contains naturally derived suspensions from fruits and vegetables including pumpkin, kiwi, and carrot mango. These suspensions contribute to more manageable scalp and hair by providing them with nutrients and antioxidants.

According to the manufacturer, these suspensions also aid in decongesting the pores in the scalp and removing unwanted buildup. In layman’s terms, it means that proper use of the shampoo will thoroughly cleanse the scalp and hair without significantly stripping them of moisture. The result: The pores on your scalp will be relatively free of unwanted buildup and, over time, be less prone to pimples and other issues,  

It’s best to use the conditioner and exfoliating scrub with the shampoo. These three products can be used individually and give good results, too. But when used as part of a system, these work in synergy and give great results!

The exfoliating scrub removes stubborn buildup on the scalp, the shampoo cleanses the scalp and hair, and the conditioner restores the moisture lost during the exfoliating and shampooing process. You should be able to see the considerable improvement in scalp health within two to three weeks of using the system.  

Your hair will also benefit from these products. The less excess oil and buildup on your hair, the less likely your scalp will become the breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Your hair will also be more manageable – softer, smoother and suppler – over time.


Things We Liked

  • Removes unwanted buildup on hair and scalp
  • Nourishes the hair and scalp with natural suspensions
  • Comes as a system
  • Effective in treating acne on the scalp

Things We Didn't Like

  • Expensive for a few people

The Zatural Neem shampoo isn’t just an effective acne shampoo although it’s the primary use. It can also treat other scalp conditions including head lice, eczema, and dandruff, thanks to its combination naturally derived ingredients.

These include organic neem seed oil, extract, and leaf, as well as panthenol, lingonberry oil, and sorbic acid.Neem-derived ingredients are the primary ingredients in the Zatural shampoo. Neem is an evergreen tree native to India, and it has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for skin and scalp issues, usually as a topical application.

In this dandruff shampoo for acne, its essential oil, leaves and bark decreases the severity of both dandruff and acne on the scalp. Neem also has antifungal property that fights the dandruff-causing fungi, candida.  

But it isn’t just effective for these conditions. Many users also report that their symptoms of eczema and head lice were also reduced, apparently from the insecticidal action of neem. As a natural insecticidal, it inhibits the reproduction and growth of head lice so their colonies can be eliminated.

Neem also has non-steroidal property that decrease the inflammation associated with eczema. Even after a couple of uses, the redness, itchiness and irritation will be less noticeable, and it’s a significant relief after suffering from mild pain for years.  

But these positive effects will be for naught if your scalp and hair become dry or damaged. Fortunately, this shampoo contains several nourishing ingredients like panthenol, lingonberry oil, and sorbic acid that restores and locks in vitamins into your hair.

Depending on the severity of your scalp condition, you can use it on a daily basis or only as often as necessary. Keep in mind that your condition may become worse before it becomes better so stick to the treatment until the desired results are seen.


Things We Liked

  • Safe for all sexes and ages
  • Effective for several scalp conditions
  • Small amounts will suffice
  • Reasonable price

Things We Didn't Like

  • Requires 25-30 minutes for proper application

If you’re looking for a shampoo for scalp acne specifically designed for oily or greasy scalp, then you’re found it in the Kaff & Co. Ginger Rhizome and Kaffir Lime shampoo! Oily scalp and greasy hair aren’t something to be experimented on with regular shampoos, especially when there are pimples on the scalp. With its combination of naturally derived ingredients, this shampoo will address the underlying issues of excess oil production and retention.  

Cold-pressed kaffir lime essential oil decreases dandruff and acne as well as protect the scalp against bacteria. Ginger rhizome extract promotes fuller, healthier hair by conditioning the strands and improving blood circulation in the scalp.

Soapbery extract also has mild antifungal and antidandruff properties, as well as an ingredient used in organic shampoos to create a light lather.  Indian gooseberry has been used in traditional medicine to promote hair growth and prevent hair fall, as well as delay premature graying. 

Of course, this brief discussion of the efficacy of ingredients will be of little value unless the results support it. Most users agree that the Kaff & Co. shampoo works in degreasing the hair and scalp so there’s little to no excess oil in these parts. With less excess oil, there’s also less chance for the pores to be clogged with unwanted buildup and, thus, less pimples popping out.


Things We Liked

  • Removes excess oil from the scalp and hair
  • Gives more shine volume to the hair
  • Safe for use among people with sensitive scalp

Things We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t create a rich, luscious lather

Yet another naturals-based scalp acne treatment shampoo is the Honeydew Magic Mint Aromatherapy shampoo that contains natural essential oil extracts and botanicals.

These ingredients have been chosen for their beneficial effects on unclogging pores, fighting bacteria and fungi, and decreasing the symptoms of acne, dandruff and even eczema on the scalp.

Just to name a few, these include tea tree oil, peppermint oil, jojoba oil, and rosemary oil. The shampoo’s main effect is clarifying the scalp and hair so these are cleaner than they usually are with regular shampoos. The cleaner the scalp, the lower the risk for clogged pores that cause pimple breakouts and the less irritation, itchiness and dryness experienced. But the shampoo won’t strip the scalp of its oils so you won’t feel too dry after every use.


Things We Liked

  • Treats mild scalp acne and dandruff breakouts
  • Gives hair a healthier appearance
  • Free of artificial fragrances, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates

Things We Didn't Like

  • Comes in small bottle


As soon as you see a single pimple on scalp, you should act to remove it. But don’t pop it like you probably would for a face or body acne. Use the best shampoo for acne on your scalp and get results soon, perhaps even enjoy treatment for dandruff and dry hair.