What is the Best Scalp Eczema Shampoo in 2019?

Woman looking at her hair, deciding she needs the best scalp eczema shampoo.

Anybody who has ever suffered from eczema on the scalp – also known as seborrheic dermatitis – will know how difficult it is to find the correct shampoo. You want a shampoo that will effectively cleanse the hair while not making your eczema symptoms to flare up. If the seborrheic dermatitis gets worse, it can lead to chronic dandruff among other scalp conditions and may eventually result in hair loss.

We have taken time to look at some of the best eczema scalp shampoos to try and eliminate the trial and error method which may cause even more itching with the wrong products.

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Product Details
Our #1 Rated

Pharmaceutical Specialties

Free & Clear Shampoo

Free & Clear Shampoo
Does not contain dyes, lanolin or fragrances that are known to both cause and irritate scalp eczema.
Our #1 Rated

Pharmaceutical Specialties

Free & Clear Shampoo

Does not contain dyes, lanolin or fragrances that are known to both cause and irritate scalp eczema.

Exederm

Eczema Care Daily Shampoo

Eczema Care Daily Shampoo
Omits sodium lauryl sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine, found in most shampoos and known to cause eczema issues.

Exederm

Eczema Care Daily Shampoo

Omits sodium lauryl sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine, found in most shampoos and known to cause eczema issues.

Nizoral

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
With 1% ketoconazole, proven to prevent dandruff—a known cause of scaling, flaking, eczema and other scalp problems.

Nizoral

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

With 1% ketoconazole, proven to prevent dandruff—a known cause of scaling, flaking, eczema and other scalp problems.

Noble Formula

Shampoo

Shampoo
Designed to have both antifungal and antibacterial properties, through its powerful 2% pyrithione zinc formulation.

Noble Formula

Shampoo

Designed to have both antifungal and antibacterial properties, through its powerful 2% pyrithione zinc formulation.

Honeyskin Organics

Hair & Scalp Therapy

Hair & Scalp Therapy
A formula which soothes the unpleasant feeling of scalp eczema, while restoring the natural pH balance of your hair.

Honeyskin Organics

Hair & Scalp Therapy

A formula which soothes the unpleasant feeling of scalp eczema, while restoring the natural pH balance of your hair.

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis (Eczema)?

Although the exact causes of eczema are unknown, it is thought that genes and hormones play a part, while microorganisms like yeasts that live on the skin can also contribute to seborrheic dermatitis. The American Academy of Dermatology has found that the immune system is in some way involved with eczema, developing in 85% of people infected with HIV. (source) Symptoms of eczema may be triggered by stress, a hormonal change, illness and cold or dry weather. Another key trigger can be the harsh chemicals or solvents found in many of the hair products we use.

In the following brief YouTube clip a leading dermatologist gives his advice on how to prevent or relieve the symptoms of scalp eczema:

What to Consider When Looking For the Best Scalp Eczema Shampoo

Your hair type is the main deciding factor in which shampoo is best for you. Some shampoos are specially formulated for oily or greasy hair, while others may work better on dry hair. If your hair is color treated or chemically straightened or curled you should try to find a shampoo that is safe to use on chemically treated hair. Always try to choose a shampoo that doesn’t dry out the hair, the higher the moisture content the more effective it will be at decreasing flakiness on your scalp.

Antifungal and antibacterial agents found in many shampoos can be very effective in the treatment of scalp eczema. Ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, and pyridine zinc can all help fight microorganisms that cause eczema. Shampoos containing salicylic acid can also be very effective in healing seborrheic dermatitis but should only be used in concentrations of 1.8 – 3% as like pyridine zinc, salicylic acid sometimes cause mild skin irritation.

Ingredients to Avoid in Scalp Eczema Shampoo

A common ingredient in many shampoos and conditioners, sodium lauryl sulfate has been found to reduce the thickness and dry out the skin making eczema conditions much worse. (source)

Compound starting with butyl-, propyl-, ethyl- or methyl- are normally parabens that are major irritants of the skin and are even known to cause certain cancers. Benzalkonium chloride can be found in some shampoos to preserve the formula by removing bacteria from it but can lead to more frequent and worse outbreaks of rashes or dry, itchy skin in eczema sufferers.

Fragrances added to shampoos to make them more appealing often leech into the scalp causing more flakiness and red areas of irritated skin. Where possible try to choose a product that is labeled or advertised as “fragrance-free”, often “unscented” products can still contain fragrance chemicals to mask the natural odor of the product. And finally avoid shampoos that use alcohol as an agent, as alcohol will strip away natural oils found in your scalp and result in more dryness or itching.

The Best Scalp Eczema Shampoo

We have researched the many formulas available and found five of the best scalp eczema shampoos that can alleviate that itchy, dry scalp common to eczema.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Pharmaceutical Specialties

Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

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This shampoo from Pharmaceutical Specialities advertises the fact that is fragrance free on the bottle which is important as often fragrances can be a major irritant for those with skin sensitivity. The shampoo is also formulated to be hypoallergenic and contains no sulfates, cocamidopropyl betaine, lanolin, parabens or formaldehyde found in many other shampoos. Free and Clear Shampoo is designed to work with your scalp’s natural pH to avoid more irritation to the scalp.

This product claims to boost the volume of your hair at the same time as removing flaking and scaling and helps control an oily scalp. Many similar products tend to leave the hair limp and lifeless. There is even a conditioner in the product range too.

Pros
Pro Very affordable.
Pro Mild and hypoallergenic ingredients.
Pro One of the few shampoos truly fragrance free.
Pro Can help remove build up other products like conditioners or hairsprays.
Pro Safe for use on color hair.
Pro Users report this shampoo adds more volume to hair.
Cons
Con Some reports of a thin film left on hair after use.
Con May make hair more tangled.
Con Sodium chloride found in this shampoo can dry out some people's hair.
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Exederm

Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

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Although one of the most expensive scalp eczema shampoos we have looked at, this formula from Exederm is a National Eczema Association award winner. A version of this shampoo is available which has been specially formulated for use on babies but the benefits can still be felt by the whole family.

Exederm is a low foam shampoo that cleanses the hair and scalp without any irritation to the scalp. Specially made for skin sensitivity and conditions like eczema this shampoo contains no sodium lauryl sulfate or cocamidopropyl betaine which can also cause skin irritation. With no artificial fragrances or added color or dyes, the emphasis is on functionality rather than smell or appearance of the shampoo.

Pros
Pro Winner of prestigious anti-eczema award
Pro full five out of five rating.
Pro Gentle enough for daily use by all members of the family.
Pro Itch free formulation.
Pro Safe for use on colored hair.
Cons
Con Expensive.
Con Doesn’t prevent dandruff
Con primarily for people with skin that's very sensitive.
Con Some users find color and consistency unpleasant
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Nizoral

A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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Nizoral A-D shampoo is often recommended by leading dermatologists as the active ingredient ketoconazole is effective in soothing irritation, flaking, itchiness and redness of the scalp. This shampoo is formulated similar to many of the brand’s baby shampoos and is said to be hypoallergenic. A quick caution though, it does contain small amounts of sodium lauryl sulfate and should be avoided if you have shown a sensitivity to this.

A rich lathering shampoo, it easily rinses off and is designed to be used twice a week alongside your regular shampoo. It is gentle enough to be used on hair treated with color, grey hairs and other chemically processed hairs with salon tested gentleness.

Pros
Pro Powerful 1% ketoconazole.
Pro Only needs to be used twice a week.
Pro Hypoallergenic.
Pro Safe for use on colored hair.
Cons
Con Not suitable for use by people with sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate.
Con Some users complain of unpleasant chemical odor to shampoo.
Con Although rich lathering
Con doesn’t lather to well on thicker or oily hair.

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Noble Formula

Shampoo

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Noble Formula uses the highest concentration of zinc pyrithione allowed for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. This ingredient is commonly used in the treatment of dandruff, eczema, psoriasis and many other skin conditions. This shampoo aims to reduce or eliminate itchy scalps, flaking or scaling of the skin and redness or irritation.

Although claiming to be the most powerful on the market, you can still use this product daily for maximum control although extra care should be taken not to get any of the shampoo into the eyes. Free of mineral oils and not tested on animals, this also a fragrance free shampoo.

Pros
Pro Highest level of zinc pyrithione in a non-prescription product
Pro highly beneficial for eczema.
Pro Produces low suds preferred by many people.
Pro Fragrance free
Pro Gentle and doesn’t dry out the scalp
Cons
Con Expensive.
Con Can cause slight burning of the eyes.
 
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Honeyskin Organics

Gentle Restorative Shampoo

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This shampoo from Honeyskin Organics is both sulfate and paraben free, using an aloe vera base to soothe the skin unlike other shampoos that use water as their primary ingredient with sulfates that burn the scalp and cause hair thinning.

Manuka honey, a powerful medicinal honey, gives the formula its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The addition of Australian botanical cehami helps to reduce redness of the scalp, inflammation and itchiness while stimulating hair growth.

This shampoo is pH balanced at 5.5 to match the scalp and hair and is gentle enough to use on color treated locks. A natural orange peel zest gives the shampoo a refreshing scent without the need for artificial fragrance and added coconut oil gives a little lather too.

Pros
Pro Sulfate and paraben free.
Pro Antifungal and antibacterial properties from natural sources.
Pro Pleasant scent without the need for added chemical fragrances.
Pro May be effective against hair thinning.
Pro Safe enough for use on colored hair with no fading of color.
Cons
Con Very expensive.
Con Doesn’t lather as well as many other shampoos meaning you use much more.
Con Some reports of shampoo leaving hair feeling greasy
Con or clumps of oily hair near the scalp.
 

Our Choice for the Best Scalp Eczema Shampoo

Choosing the correct shampoo for a sensitive scalp can greatly reduce the many symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions too.

The Pharmaceutical Specialities Free and Clear Shampoo for Sensitive Skin was our best scalp eczema shampoo as it gently cleanses your hair and scalp without any fragrances or other chemicals that can cause further irritation. Free and Clear shampoo also offers better value for money than other similar products, always a good thing to look for in this day and age.

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