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Best Itchy Scalp Shampoos

Updated October 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 49 Models Considered
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best itchy scalp shampoos

    Last Updated October 2018

    Itchy scalp can have many causes, but it always leads to the same result: irritation. It’s frustrating to deal with, and if you scratch it you can damage your scalp even more, which only makes the problem worse. Fortunately, there are a number of itchy scalp shampoos on the market that can help combat the problem.

    The trouble is, if you don’t understand why your scalp is itching in the first place, you might have a hard time pinpointing the right for you. Some shampoos are also more effective than others because they contain better skin-soothing ingredients. Other shampoos that claim to soothe itchy scalps could actually contain ingredients that irritate them more.

    We’ve put together this short guide to help you figure out which type of itchy scalp shampoo is right for you, so you can end the irritation and go back to living your life.

    Follow your itchy scalp shampoo with a nourishing conditioner to keep your hair and scalp moisturized.

    Causes of itchy scalp

    When choosing an itchy scalp shampoo, it’s important to understand what is causing the problem so you can treat it properly. Not even a top-of-the-line itchy scalp shampoo is going to make much of a dent in the problem if the root cause is lice. In that case, you need a special shampoo that’s specifically designed to kill lice.

    Seborrheic dermatitis: One common cause of itchy scalp is seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that causes your scalp to break out into scaly, red patches and can lead to dandruff. It’s often caused by excess oiliness and a buildup of dead skin cells on the scalp. Washing your hair regularly and using an itchy scalp shampoo can help to get rid of seborrheic dermatitis, although it can come back. If you believe this to be the cause of your itchy scalp and you’re also suffering from dandruff, you might want to look for a shampoo that specifically targets dandruff.

    Dry skin: An itchy scalp can be caused by dry skin. This condition can be confused with dandruff because it can also produce flakes, but dandruff is caused by too much oil, which is not the case with a dry scalp.

    Nourishing and soothing for skin and hair

    Paul Mitchell’s shampoo helps to gently remove excess oil and any buildup of dead skin cells without drying out your hair and scalp. It employs tea tree, lavender, and peppermint oils to cool skin on contact, and the minty scent is invigorating.

    Matching hair type to itchy scalp shampoo

    Dry hair: If you have dry hair and a dry scalp, moisture is the key. Look for a shampoo that hydrates, and avoid harsh ingredients like sulfates that can strip moisture out of your hair. If this is the cause of your dry skin, it should begin to clear up once you begin giving your hair the nourishment it needs.

    Oily hair: If you have oily hair, moisturizing shampoo might not be what you need because it could make your problem worse. In this case, you want to look for shampoos that contain skin-soothing ingredients and any necessary topical medications to treat the cause of your itchy scalp.

    Color-treated hair: Individuals with color-treated hair have to be careful when choosing an itchy-scalp shampoo to make sure that the type they choose won’t wash out the color. You can usually find out if a shampoo is safe for color-treated hair by checking with the manufacturer or reading through customer reviews online.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Wash your hair regularly, and make sure you rinse out all of the shampoo and other products. You want to avoid any buildup that could trigger an itchy scalp.

    Itchy scalp shampoo ingredients

    Itchy scalp shampoos employ a number of skin-soothing ingredients to help calm the itch and nourish the hair and scalp. Here are a few of the most popular.

    Tea tree oil

    Tea tree oil has antifungal properties and is soothing on skin, which makes it a popular choice in itchy scalp shampoos, especially those designed to treat dandruff. It has also been proven to help with skin inflammation. It’s considered safe for most people to use, but some people are allergic to it. For those people it can cause many of the conditions it would normally treat, like dermatitis. If you use a shampoo containing tea tree oil and you find have a reaction to it, stop using it immediately.

    Menthol

    Menthol is derived from herbs like peppermint and eucalyptus. It’s been shown to help decrease inflammation and reduce pain when applied topically. It also has a cooling effect when it is applied, which can be very soothing on an irritated scalp.

    Salicylic acid

    Salicylic acid is an ingredient commonly found in acne medications. It might not do very much to soothe your irritated scalp, but it can help to eliminate some of the dead skin cells that build up and cause an itchy scalp in the first place. However, there is usually only a small amount of salicylic acid in shampoo because it can be too drying if you use too much. If you find this to be the case for you, you might want to back off and use it less frequently or switch to a different formula that doesn’t contain salicylic acid.

    EXPERT TIP

    Though it can be difficult, try not to scratch your scalp if it itches. Scratching just irritates it further.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Let the itchy scalp shampoo sit on your head for up to five minutes before rinsing to give it time to penetrate your scalp.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Itchy scalp shampoo prices

    Itchy scalp shampoo tends to cost a little more than standard shampoo because of its specialty ingredients. While you can get a bottle of regular shampoo for under $5, you can expect to spend from $10 to $40 or more for itchy scalp shampoo. We recommend spending at least $15 if you want a quality product. These usually contain beneficial ingredients like tea tree oil and menthol but no harsh ingredients like sulfates.

    When choosing an itchy scalp shampoo, it’s also important to pay attention to the size of the bottle and how many uses you’ll be able to get out of it. If you’re trying to determine which shampoo offers the best value, divide the cost by the number of ounces in the bottle and compare products based on the price per ounce.

    Stops flakes and itch with ease

    This potent shampoo quickly puts a stop to the flaking, itchiness, and redness associated with dandruff. It contains specially formulated ingredients like pyrithione zinc to control dandruff, along with lavender and glycerin to soothe your skin and keep it hydrated.

    Tips

    • Wash your hair regularly. It’s important to get rid of the dead skin cells and oil that can build up and cause irritation.

    • Be patient. It can take several uses before you notice a significant improvement from itchy scalp shampoo, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a change right away. Stick with it.

    • If you don’t see results, consult your doctor. If you’re unsure of the cause of your itchy scalp and the shampoos you’re trying aren’t working, consult with your doctor to make sure there isn’t something else going on and get other recommendations.

    • Focus on relieving the itch. Don’t worry about whether the shampoo is strengthening or volumizing for your hair. Focus on one that is soothing to your scalp and use it until the condition goes away. Then you can switch to a different shampoo.
    If your itchy scalp isn’t improving after using the shampoo for a couple of weeks, you might want to consult with your doctor to see if you would benefit from a prescription-strength shampoo.

    FAQ

    Q. How often should I use the itchy scalp shampoo?

    A. For best results, you should use it once per day unless the manufacturer instructs you to do otherwise.

    Q. Will I have to use an itchy scalp shampoo forever?

    A. Probably not. Once you control the condition that is causing the itchy scalp, you will most likely be able to switch to a normal shampoo. But it’s important to choose one that isn’t going to bring your problem back. For example, if your itchy scalp was caused by dry skin, you don’t want to choose a normal shampoo that’s going to dry out your hair and skin all over again.

    Q. How do I tell the difference between dandruff and dry skin?

    A. Dandruff usually creates larger, oily flakes that may appear yellow in color. It might also cause red, scaly skin on your scalp. Dry skin usually has much smaller flakes that appear white in color, and it usually doesn’t make skin red and scaly.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Enid
      Enid
      Editor
    • Kailey
      Kailey
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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