Many people underestimate the importance of shampoo in managing acne breakouts. But excessive hair washing with standard products can cause oil buildup. So if you struggle with scalp acne, selecting a non-comedogenic shampoo that won’t clog your pores is critical.
The overall best non-comedogenic shampoo for acne-prone skin is Neutrogena Therapeutic Shampoo. But several excellent formulas can help manage scalp issues. Keep reading to learn more about other options and how to select the best product for your hair.
Best Non-Comedogenic Shampoos: Our Top 6 Picks
Here are our reviews of the best non-comedogenic shampoos in every category.
1. Best Overall: Neutrogena Therapeutic Shampoo
- Shampoo from a reputable brand known for quality skin-care products
- Uses salicylic acid as an active ingredient to combat breakouts
- Drugstore shampoo with a reasonable price
- Gentle formula without color, preservatives, or fragrances
- Can help reduce dandruff and itchiness
Neutrogena Therapeutic Shampoo is our top pick for the best overall non-comedogenic shampoo available on the market. This formula helps prevent acne breakout but is gentle enough to use on sensitive scalps.
The Neutrogena brand has an excellent reputation for producing high-quality skincare products that work. And the best feature of this drugstore shampoo is its affordable price, despite using premier ingredients that work effectively.
This non-comedogenic shampoo won’t clog your pores. Instead, the salicylic acid included in the formulation works to clear pores and prevent acne development. This active ingredient is also useful for calming itchy scalps and reducing dandruff.
If you have a sensitive scalp that may react to harsh chemicals in other formulas, Neutrogena Therapeutic Shampoo may be an excellent choice for you. There are no added fragrances, preservatives, or colors that may irritate your skin.
Although you may notice a subtle medical smell, the features, effectiveness, safety, and affordability of this shampoo make it an excellent overall option.
- 4.5-fluid ounce of Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo Scalp Build-Up Control is made with salicylic acid and helps clear & control crusty build-up associated with severe scalp conditions
- This effective dandruff shampoo contains 3% salicylic acid, a clinically proven active ingredient and treats symptoms caused by scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis & dandruff
- This therapeutic shampoo continues to work for hours even after shampoo is rinsed off with a conditioning formula free of added color, preservatives & fragrance
- Dermatologist-recommended dandruff shampoo provides maximum relief for dry, itchy, flaky scalps
- After just one use, this effective salicylic acid shampoo starts clearing crusty scalp build-up while relieving itching and flaking associated with severe scalp conditions
2. Best Antibacterial Shampoo: Ovante Folliculit Solution
- Kills the bacteria that cause acne breakouts
- Sulfate and paraben-free formula
- Pleasant-smelling herbal aroma
- Herbal extracts and vitamins soothe scalp skin
Bacterial infections are the primary cause of the inflammation that leads to acne. If you struggle with pimples on your scalp, you may want to consider an antibacterial shampoo that can help kill the bacteria responsible for those red bumps.
This shampoo can help effectively treat folliculitis and other infections around hair follicles in the scalp. Many users share that the formula helped significantly reduce redness and itching associated with their skin conditions.
Although the ingredients in Ovante Folliculit Solution kill bacteria, they are gentle on your scalp. This formula is sulfate and paraben-free. It includes essential oils and vitamins that help soothe your skin. These herbal ingredients also create a more pleasant smell than other alternatives.
Most users only reach for this shampoo when they need to address an unwanted breakout quickly. It has a higher price point than most shampoo products but can be a valuable addition to your skincare routine when used as needed.
- Cleanses and moisturizes problem skin
- Penetrates deep to stop itching
- Effectively eliminates yeast and dandruff
- Promotes hair grows
- Made in USA with natural oils, herbal etracts, vitamins.
3. Best for Dandruff: CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo
- Fights dermatitis, a cause of dandruff and scalp acne
- Removes excess oil responsible for clogged pores
- No fragrances or aroma
- Safe to use on facial hair
People with acne-prone skin also often struggle to manage dandruff on their scalp as well. Dandruff is itchy, inconvenient, and often embarrassing. CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo uses a non-comedogenic formula to fight folliculitis and dermatitis, common causes of dandruff.
We often associate dandruff with dry, itchy skin. But oily skin can also make you predisposed to scalp acne and dandruff. This shampoo works to remove excess oil buildup while cleaning dead skin cells from clogged follicles. Clear pores help improve skin health and prevent dandruff.
This shampoo is ideal for people who prefer smell-free hair care products. There are no irritating fragrances or harsh chemical smells associated with using this formula. It is also gentle enough to use on facial hair for people with beard dandruff.
Like the antibacterial shampoo mentioned earlier, this dandruff-specific formula also comes at a premium price. However, it is an effective solution that can help you save money on less effective dandruff treatments and dermatologist appointments.
- HIGH PERFORMANCE SHAMPOO: CLn Shampoo was physician-developed to effectively and thoroughly cleanse normal-to-oily hair and scalps prone to itching or flaking that accompanies folliculitis (irritated hair follicles), dermatitis and dandruff, including dandruff of the beard.
- FLAKE-FREE HAIR: Formulated with salicylic acid and sodium hypochlorite, CLn Shampoo removes unwanted oils, dead skin cells and dulling residue and debris from pores.
- FRAGRANCE FREE: CLn Shampoo leaves nothing behind but healthy-looking hair and scalps. It is fragrance-free, and contains no antibiotics, parabens or triclosan.
- HYPOALLERGENIC: CLn Shampoo is hypoallergenic and is designed to be used 1-3 times a week for scalps or beards needing special care.
- CLn Skin Care is the manufacturer of CLn products - buy direct from seller CLn Skin Care.
4. Best for Itchiness: Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- 1% ketoconazole active ingredient content
- Helps relieve itching from dandruff and pimples
- Over the counter cleanser to regulate overgeneration of skin cells
- Safe to use on all types of hair
Itchiness and dandruff can result from skin cells generating faster than usual. The active ingredient in this anti-dandruff formula helps relieve itching by reducing dandruff production by the scalp. Potent non-comedogenic properties also help clear pores.
Ketoconazole is an effective solution available in straightforward over the counter skincare treatments. Other soothing ingredients help calm irritated skin and provide immediate relief for users who apply this shampoo in a thicky, foamy lather.
Instructions state that you should use this cleanser twice per week while using regular shampoo in between treatments. This schedule makes the formula an affordable non-comedogenic solution because it does not require everyday use.
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is also safe for all types of hair, even gray or colored hair. And curly-haired users recommend this formula for people who want a shampoo that won’t dry out their curls.
- 7-fluid ounce bottle of Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo containing ketoconazole 1% to relieve flaking, scaling, and itching caused by dandruff
- This powerful dandruff control shampoo is made with ketoconazole 1%, an effective ingredient that is proven to help fight dandruff outbreaks
- Salon-tested, this dandruff treatment shampoo is specially formulated to be gentle and is safe enough to be used on color-treated, chemically processed and gray hair
- The rich, thick lather of this itchy scalp shampoo rinses clean, leaves hair smelling fresh and helps relieve scalps that are flaky, itchy and scaling
- SELF-CARE SOLUTIONS: At Kramer Laboratories we focus on consumer needs to help provide innovative solutions to everyday healthcare problems. Fight dandruff and flakiness with Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo
5. Best for Sensitive Skin: Tea Tree Special Shampoo
- Uses natural ingredients to fight breakouts
- Moisturizes skin without clogging pores
- Vegan-friendly and paraben-free formula
- Suitable for all hair types
- Natural ingredients and a pleasant aroma
Many shampoo options that help treat acne contain harsh chemicals that might not be suitable for sensitive skin. Instead, this non-comedogenic shampoo uses natural ingredients with antibacterial properties to clear pimples.
Soothing essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil help keep skin moisturized without clogging pores. Moisturized skin is vital for preventing redness, dandruff, and itching associated with acne-prone scalps.
These natural ingredients also give this formula a delightful smell that most users enjoy. The vegan-friendly recipe does not include parabens or other artificial ingredients that could damage hair. It is safe for use on colored hair and any hair type.
- Produced with the highest grade materials
- Get a head start every morning and experience the tingle of Invigorating tea tree oil, peppermint and lavender
- Help wash away impurities as hair becomes fresh and clean, full of vitality and luster
- Color safe and ideal for all hair types
6. Best Budget Option: OGX Refreshing Scalp Shampoo
- Non-comedogenic shampoo with affordable price
- Promotes hydration without oil buildup
- Cleanser leaves a refreshing feel and smell
- Natural ingredients for a soothing effect
The Refreshing Scalp Shampoo from OGX is an incredibly affordable option for buyers seeking a non-comedogenic shampoo on a budget. This formula is also safe and accessible to use as an everyday shampoo on all types of hair.
Natural ingredients like tree oil may help hydrate skin to relieve itching and dandruff without clogging pores. Many hydrating shampoos use synthetic oils that can clog pores and cause pimple breakouts.
OGX is a famous brand that offers a wide variety of hair care products. You can find this product easily in most drug stores.
A mint aroma smells pleasant, and witch hazel contributes to a refreshing feel. Users often share that their hair looks shiny and bouncy when washed with this shampoo, demonstrating that the best non-comedogenic shampoo doesn’t have to be expensive.
- Deeply cleanse hair with a burst of freshness with this tea tree & mint scalp shampoo Made with peppermint, tea tree oil & witch hazel, it invigorates the senses with a refreshing tingling sensation
- REFESHING DEEP CLEANSE: This 13-fluid ounce bottle of OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Teatree Mint Shampoo removes residue without stripping strands to refresh and reset strands
- MINTY TINGLING SCALP SENSATION: The nourishing shampoo features a lightweight blend to deliver a long-lasting clean while leaving hair shiny, soft and hydrated with a healthy look and feel
- HAIR CARE INSPIRED BY NATURE: Its unique formula is infused with tea tree oil to invigorate the scalp, peppermint extract to awaken the senses, and the natural astringent witch hazel to help remove buildup and nourish the scalp
- ENGAGE THE SENSES: Experience a burst of freshness and a sweet peppermint, iced vanilla and tea tree scent for hair that smells fresh and invigorated Plus the sulfate-free surfactant hair care system is paraben-free and gentle on your locks
Non-Comedogenic Shampoos: Guide & FAQ
There are many non-comedogenic shampoo formulas marketed for helping manage acne-prone skin. But understanding the advantages, disadvantages, and how to use these formulas will help you make the best purchase for your hair.
Advantages of Non-Comedogenic Shampoos
It’s essential to wash your hair often to avoid pimples and skin irritation. But clogged pores from standard shampoos are a common cause of scalp acne.
Non-comedogenic shampoos use specific ingredients that help clear pores and treat the bacterial infections responsible for acne breakouts. If you struggle with scalp acne, you may also need extra anti-dandruff support to prevent skin cells’ excessive growth.
Ketoconazole is a common anti-dandruff medication found in non-comedogenic shampoos. This ingredient has anti-fungal properties that help treat dermatitis and can be a valuable addition to shampoo for people with acne-prone skin.
Another ingredient with distinct advantages in non-comedogenic shampoos is salicylic acid. This active ingredient treats acne directly by exfoliating dead skin cells and preventing clogging.
Natural alternatives like jojoba oil and tea tree oil can be beneficial for people with sensitive scalps. These natural ingredients can moisturize the skin to relieve irritation but do not leave the residue often leftover from synthetic ingredients.
Look for formulas that include the above ingredients to take advantage of the full benefits of non-comedogenic shampoos.
Using hair-products like hairspray, wax, gels, or standard conditioners can leave residues on your scalp. These residues can build up and make scalp acne even worse, so talk to your dermatologist before using products not designed to help treat acne.
However, frequent washing with appropriate products can have a significant positive impact on managing breakouts. Washing with non-comedogenic shampoo can remove dead skin, bacteria, and residue from other products.
Disadvantages of Non-Comedogenic Shampoos
Although non-comedogenic shampoos have several advantages for individuals with acne-prone skin, you should consider some potential downsides.
Sometimes using cleansers often can strip hair of the natural oils that protect it. Although too much can clog pores, oil plays a vital role in moisturizing your scalp. If your scalp is too dry, you may suffer from dandruff or itching.
Selecting a non-comedogenic shampoo with essential oils will help relieve itching and keep your scalp hydrated without clogging pores.
You should also use caution when selecting an antibacterial formula to treat acne by addressing the bacterial infections responsible for pimple development. Your skin also relies on good bacteria to stay healthy.
Excessive use of antibacterial shampoos can kill the good bacteria on your skin, as well as the bad. Try to alternate between antibacterial options and standard shampoos to give the good bacteria a chance to rebound.
Tips for Using Non-Comedogenic Shampoos
For non-comedogenic shampoos to be effective, you have to use them correctly. You should also consider other aspects of your daily life that may contribute to scalp acne development.
Keeping your skin clean is one of the most crucial aspects of preventing acne. Wash your skin and hair regularly with the appropriate products to avoid dirt and dead skin accumulation.
You should also avoid using hot water when washing your hair as hot temperatures can irritate your skin and remove natural oil from your scalp. Damaged skin can let more bacteria in, leading to more inflammation and acne. Lukewarm water is best for hair washing.
When you do wash your hair, avoid using oily shampoos. Synthetic oils may clog your pores and contribute to the development of more bothersome bumps. Choose a formula with natural oils instead.
Although you want to remove excess oil and product buildup, you should not use deep cleansers frequently. These cleansers can dry out your skin too much, which may cause your skin to produce even more oil.
Limiting hair treatments can also help prevent acne. Different hair products can irritate your scalp and leave residue in your hair. Keeping hair as natural as possible will limit irritation and pimples.
When out and about, remember to let your scalp breathe. Hair accessories and headgear like hats can increase the growth of bacteria on your scalp. Ponytails and braids can also irritate your scalp when they pull on your hair.
By using non-comedogenic shampoos, limiting other hair treatments, and letting your hair down every once in a while, you can help keep your scalp healthy and prevent breakouts.
Non-comedogenic shampoos are essential for people with acne-prone skin. Keeping your hair and skin clean is critical for preventing breakouts, but excessive washing with standard products can clog your pores.
These specialized shampoo formulas use unique ingredients to keep your scalp hydrated without contributing to the buildup of oil and dead skin in pores. Active antibacterial and antifungal ingredients kill the microorganisms responsible for the infections that can cause pimples and dandruff.
Various products can help manage associated conditions like dandruff and infections, but Neutrogena Therapeutic Shampoo is the overall best non-comedogenic shampoo for acne-prone skin.