The best itchy scalp shampoo

Peter McPherson

While there are many different causes of an itchy scalp, they often have the same solution: itchy scalp shampoo. Everyone's scalp is unique. Some people have oily skin while others have dry and flaky skin. You may also be suffering from a skin disorder or fungal infection that may be worsening your symptoms, but some shampoos address these issues. A few common ingredients in itchy scalp shampoos are tea tree oil, menthol, and salicylic acid, each of which target specific scalp and hair problems.

Our best of the best pick by Paul Mitchell provides a pleasant shampooing experience with ingredients designed to soothe your skin and relieve pain and itchiness. Continue reading to learn more about the varieties of itchy scalp shampoos available.

Itchy scalp causes

Treating an itchy scalp can be difficult if you don't know the exact cause.

One of the most common causes of itchiness is dandruff, which is generally caused by a condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. This common condition leads to white and yellow scales directly on your scalp and generally oily skin.

Another cause of an itchy scalp is dry skin, which does not usually lead to dandruff.

Considerations when choosing itchy scalp shampoos

In addition to pairing a shampoo to the cause of the itchiness, you also need to find a shampoo that is right for your hair type.

If you have dry hair, you need a shampoo that adds moisture to revitalize your hair. Avoid shampoos that list sulfates as an ingredient, as these dry out your hair and scalp even more.
For oily hair, avoid moisturizing shampoos and instead look for products designed to soothe your scalp and reduce oiliness.
If you have color-treated hair, you already know how difficult it can be to find a good shampoo. Fortunately, many shampoos designed to help with itchiness are also color-safe.

Common ingredients

The ingredients in itchy scalp shampoo vary in their intended purposes, though some shampoos contain multiple soothing ingredients.

Tea tree oil is one of the more popular ingredients in itchy scalp shampoos. It produces a pleasant tingling sensation on your skin as you work it in, and its natural antifungal properties make it well suited to dealing with dandruff and itching.

Menthol can help to reduce irritation if you have damaged skin. This is particularly useful if you have a habit of scratching.

Salicylic acid works to reduce oiliness and remove dead skin cells. It is highly potent and as a result, shampoos typically have a low content of salicylic acid.

Itchy scalp shampoo prices

Itchy scalp shampoos can cost anywhere from $15 to $40. In general, more expensive shampoos tend to have ingredients that are less likely to worsen irritation. Don't forget to consider the cost based on the price per ounce, not just the cost of the bottle.

Tips for reducing itchiness

While you wait for your new shampoo to arrive, here are a few simple tips to combat the itchiness:

Don't wash your hair with hot water. This can exacerbate dryness.
Drink plenty of water to help your skin maintain moisture.
Use fewer products. There may be an ingredient that is causing inflammation.
As much as you can, try not to scratch. This only damages your skin.


Q. Should I use itchy scalp shampoo the same way I use regular shampoo?

A. The concept is the same, but you should allow the shampoo to sit for up to five minutes to allow it to soak into your skin before rinsing.

Q. Should I use an itchy scalp shampoo to prevent itchiness?

A. You can, but you may find that it does not treat your hair as well as other shampoos when it comes to volumizing or producing shine. We recommend using your normal shampoo after the itchiness has subsided.

Itchy scalp shampoos we recommend

Best of the best: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Our take: This popular shampoo is known for its effectiveness and its soothing feeling.

What we like: Building up a lather is easy and the pleasant mint scent helps to wake you up in the morning.

What we dislike: A few leaking bottles have been reported.

Best bang for your buck: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Our take: This customer favorite stands out for how quickly it remedies itching and dandruff.

What we like: The ingredients in this shampoo are so effective that they can be used to reduce acne on the face and back as well.

What we dislike: A few customers did not notice any change after using this shampoo.

Choice 3: Derma E Scalp Relief Shampoo

Our take: A preservative-free option that uses natural ingredients to reduce irritation.

What we like: This natural shampoo is color-safe and effectively reduces itching.

What we dislike: Flakes may persist after using this shampoo regularly.

Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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