Best shampoo for folliculitis

The 10 Best Shampoo For Folliculitis 2023 | For A Clean, Healthy Scalp

Check out the top over-the-counter and medicated shampoo for folliculitis with ingredients like ketoconazole and more. These include brands like CLN and Nizoral as well. 

Do you know those red, bumpy acne-like things you get on your skin when your pores get clogged? Well, did you know that you can get them on your scalp too?

We often neglect to clarify or exfoliate our scalp like we do for our face. And this results in dirt, sweat and oil getting trapped in the follicles. Not to mention buildup from all the hair products we use. 

Sometimes, there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the clogged hair follicles which leads to inflammation and a condition called folliculitis.

But don’t worry I’m here to tell you that this scalp condition has a very simple cure – a clarifying and anti-inflammatory shampoo!

And I’ve reviewed some of the best OTC and medicated shampoos for folliculitis in my article today. 

Shampoos For FolliculitisBest Suited ForChief Ingredients
CLN Scalp ShampooSevere FolliculitisSalicylic Acid, Sodium Hypochlorite
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff ShampooFolliculitis with Flaky Buildup1% Ketoconazole
AROMATICA Cypress Deep Cleansing ShampooColor Treated HairStar Anise, Green Tea, Panthenol
Lemon Tea Tree Sulfate free ShampooSensitive Scalps, Acne Prone SkinTea Tree Oil, Lemon, Aloe Vera

Here is the comparison between the scalp folliculitis shampoos at a glance!

Top Vegan Shampoos For DandruffCLN Scalp ShampooNizoral Anti-dandruff ShampooAromatica Deep CleansingShampooTea Tree Special Shampoo
PriceAffordableVery AffordableVery ExpensiveSlightly Expensive
Strength of Formula4.5/55/54/53.5/5
Folicle Cleansing Ability4.5/55/54/54/5
Gentleness on Hair3.5/53/54.5/54/5
Suitable For Colored Hair NoNoYesNo

What Is Folliculitis?

what is folliculitis

Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles due to fungal or bacterial overgrowth in clogged follicles. This condition is characterized by tiny red bumps or dots that appear on the scalp and from where hair grows. It’s usually a harmless condition but can be irritating as it causes itching and redness on the scalp. And it also contributes to hair loss as the follicles get weakened due to the infection. 

Top Shampoo For Folliculitis 2023

How To Choose The Right Shampoo If You Have Folliculitis?

Choosing the right shampoo if you have folliculitis is important to manage the condition and prevent flare-ups. Folliculitis is an inflammation or infection of the hair follicles, and the choice of shampoo can play a significant role in its management. Here are some steps to help you choose the right shampoo for folliculitis:

  1. Consult a Dermatologist: Before making any decisions, it’s crucial to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional. They can diagnose your specific type of folliculitis and recommend the most suitable treatment plan, which may include a specific shampoo.
  2. Look for Medicated Shampoos: In many cases, medicated shampoos are recommended for treating folliculitis. These shampoos often contain active ingredients that help control the infection and reduce inflammation. Common ingredients to look for include:
  • Salicylic Acid: This helps to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells that can clog hair follicles.
  • Ketoconazole: Effective against fungal folliculitis.
  • Antibacterial agents: Such as benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil to combat bacterial folliculitis.
  1. Avoid Harsh Ingredients: Shampoos with harsh chemicals or fragrances can irritate the skin and worsen folliculitis. Look for products that are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and gentle on the skin.
  2. pH-Balanced Shampoos: Opt for shampoos that are pH-balanced as they are less likely to disrupt the natural pH of the skin, which can be beneficial for folliculitis-prone skin.
  3. Use Warm Water: When washing your hair with the chosen shampoo, use warm water rather than hot water, as hot water can further irritate the skin.
  4. Gentle Cleansing: Be gentle when massaging the shampoo into your scalp. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this can exacerbate irritation.
  5. Frequency of Use: Follow your dermatologist’s recommendations regarding how often to use the medicated shampoo. In some cases, daily use may be necessary, while in others, less frequent use might suffice.
  6. Maintain Good Hygiene: Keep your hair and scalp clean. Regularly wash your hair and avoid sharing towels, combs, or other personal items that could spread the infection.
  7. Monitor for Improvement: Keep track of your symptoms and watch for any improvement or worsening of your condition. If you don’t see improvement after a few weeks of using the prescribed shampoo, consult your dermatologist for further guidance.
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Remember that what works best for one person may not work as effectively for another. Your dermatologist will provide you with personalized recommendations based on the type and severity of your folliculitis. It’s essential to follow their advice closely and be patient, as it may take time to see significant improvements.

How I tested the best shampoo for folliculitis?

I have really oily scalp and often get a case of folliculitis if I’m wearing wigs or hats for too long or if my scalp gets really sweaty. So I decided to use these shampoos on my own and test them based on certain parameters I’ve listed below. I also rated them on a scale of 1-5 based on the same.

Follicle Unclogging Power – Here I checked for ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree oil that will remove bacteria and trapped dirt from deep within the follicles. 

Soothing Power – I also checked for panthenol, tea tree oil and other anti-inflammatory ingredients that will reduce redness and irritation

Gentleness on Scalp – Most shampoos for folliculitis can get very harsh so I checked if the shampoos are sulfate-free and also if they can be used on color-treated hair.

CLN Scalp Shampoo

medicated shampoo for folliculitis

I had heard a lot about the CLN shampoo as it’s among the dermatologist approved scalp treatments for folliculitis. So I decided to use and review it for you all.

And truth be told, I can see why this shampoo is so popular. 

It reduced the redness and itching on my scalp by a considerable amount on the first wash itself!

So it’s a medicated shampoo and contains Sodium hypochlorite, which is a common disinfectant and salicylic acid, a very good chemical exfoliator.

My scalp looked fresh as a daisy within just 3 weeks of use and I will be forever grateful that I don’t have to scratch my head like a maniac in public again.

But… yes, there is a but. This shampoo is a tad too strong. 

I mean it’s still milder than shampoos like Nizoral which contain ketoconazole or coal tar shampoos. 

Yet, it’s still very clarifying and it contains surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate as well. 

So if you have color-treated hair or dry scalp (along with a milder case of folliculitis) I’d suggest going for a tea tree oil shampoo instead. 

If not, CLN scalp shampoo is your best friend. 


  • Salicylic acid in the formula helps unclog follicles from deep within
  • Sodium Hypochlorite helps control bacterial and fungal growth
  • Hypoallergenic shampoo can be used by people with sensitivities 


  • Contains SLES so it’s not suited for color-treated hair
  • The powerful, medicated formula can leave scalp dry if used too often

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 5/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5 

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

ketoconazole shampoo for folliculitis

Now if you have had dandruff issues in the past, you might be familiar with the Nizoral AD shampoo. It’s chief ingredient is 1 percent ketoconazole which can annihilate dandruff in a few goes. 

But did you know that topical ketoconazole is effective against folliculitis as well? 

I didn’t even have to use the shampoo for a few weeks. It worked its magic in days. 

My follicles were unclogged, the redness gone and itching almost non-existent. So I’d say this is a miracle cure of sorts for folliculitis. 

nizoral shampoo for folliculitis

However, this extra-effectiveness is due to the extra-strong formula. And while ketoconazole and sulfates are great at removing fungus, bacteria and dirt, they will also clear off any moisture or color pigments from hair.

So if you have dry hair, this isn’t for you. If you have color-treated hair, then sorry this could strip hair color too.

If you have severe folliculitis and really need a strong formula like the Nizoral I’d suggest using this shampoo only once a week. 

However if you have only milder forms of folliculitis I’d still recommend sticking to natural anti-inflammatory shampoos like the Aromatica or Tea Tree Special 


  • Ketoconazole in the shampoo is very effective at curing fungal folliculitis
  • Strong clarifying formula unclogs pores and removes dirt and debris preventing further infection


  • Formula is too strong and can be drying on hair and scalp (especially if used daily)
  • Contains sulfates that can strip hair color

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 5/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3/5

AROMATICA Cypress Deep Cleansing Shampoo

best over the counter shampoo for folliculitis

I was looking for a natural, daily shampoo for folliculitis when I came across this one by the Korean brand Aromatica. I had never tried it before so I was curious. 

I was impressed by the fact that it didn’t contain any sulfates, only natural ingredients like star anise, eucalyptus, pine leaf oil and green tea extracts. All of which are known to have anti-inflammatory and to some degree antibacterial properties.

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And yes, it did help control my folliculitis a bit. But it’s not as strong (obviously) as the medicated shampoos CLN or Nizoral.

I feel this shampoo is best suited for the early stages of folliculitis or as a preventive measure to keep follicles from being clogged in the first place.

best otc shampoo for folliculitis

Nevertheless, it helped reduce the redness and inflammation on my scalp to a great extent. 

Also I give it bonus points for a) being vegan and b) having an amazing and completely natural fragrance.

Oh, and it’s a great product for oily scalps too! 

Now for the downside. This product isn’t perfect. I didn’t like that there was ethanol in it. That particular alcohol can be very drying on scalps. So I wouldn’t suggest it if you already have a dry scalp. 


  • It’s a sulfate-free shampoo that’s safe for color-treated hair
  • Contains only natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like star anise and pine oil
  • Lovely fragrance from natural sources
  • Vegan and EWP-certified product


  • Contains ethanol that can be drying on scalp
  • Not as powerful as medicated shampoos so not suitable for severe cases of folliculitis

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 4/5

Tea Tree Special Shampoo

scalp folliculitis treatment

Tea tree essential oil has many antibacterial and antifungal properties. So I had to try this Tea Tree Special Shampoo from popular salon brand Paul Mitchell. 

And honestly? I have mixed feelings about this one.

On one hand I absolutely adore the tea tree formula as it soothed the inflammation and redness on my scalp in just 3 weeks of continued use.

On the other hand I was sort of disappointed to see the use of sulfates in the shampoo. 

best shampoo for folliculitis and hair loss

I mean I get that a shampoo for treating folliculitis needs to be clarified but I guess there are better surfactants and exfoliants out there than sulfates! 

Also I loved the peppermint fragrance at first and thought that it was from the added mint essential oil but no… this shampoo actually contains fragrances.

At this point you could just use the CLN shampoo despite the strong formula as your hair is getting dry anyway.

Use this shampoo if you have mild folliculitis and don’t want to pay a lot for the Aromatica shampoo. And also if you have oily hair that is not color-treated.

Otherwise, look for any other tea tree oil shampoo (personally I like the Maple Holistics one), and give this one a skip! 


  • Cheaper alternative to the Aromatica shampoo
  • Tea tree oil formula has excellent antifungal and antibacterial properties
  • Comes with a fresh peppermint fragrance
  • Menthol leaves a cool, fresh feeling on inflamed scalp


  • Contains sulfates so it’s not for color-treated hair
  • Contains artificial perfumes and colorants that can cause further irritation 
  • Dimethicone can cause product buildup in the long run

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5

Alpecin C1 Caffeine Shampoo

Alpecin C1 Caffeine Shampoo is one of the products I turned to in my battle against psoriasis on my scalp. While it’s not specifically marketed as a psoriasis shampoo, it has some properties that make it a noteworthy choice.

The caffeine infusion is said to stimulate hair growth and improve the overall health of the scalp. In my experience, it did provide relief from the itching and flaking associated with psoriasis.

The shampoo has a pleasant scent and lathers well, leaving my hair feeling clean and refreshed.


  1. Caffeine may help improve scalp health.
  2. Pleasant scent.
  3. Effective in reducing itching and flaking.


  1. Not specifically formulated for psoriasis.
  2. May not provide complete relief for severe cases.

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3/5

Probliva’s Fungus Shampoo

ketoconazole shampoo for folliculitis

Probliva’s Fungus Shampoo is designed to combat fungal infections, making it a suitable option for those with psoriasis, which can sometimes be exacerbated by fungal issues. This shampoo contains active ingredients like ketoconazole and tea tree oil known for their antifungal properties. I found that it helped soothe my scalp and reduce inflammation. It has a refreshing scent, and a little goes a long way in terms of lather.


  1. Contains antifungal ingredients.
  2. Soothes the scalp and reduces inflammation.
  3. Refreshing scent.


  1. May not provide complete relief for severe psoriasis.
  2. Some may find it a bit drying with frequent use.

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5

Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Best antibacterial shampoo for folliculitis

Tea Tree Special Shampoo is a popular choice among those with psoriasis due to its natural antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil is known for its ability to soothe itchy and irritated scalps. This shampoo has a refreshing and invigorating scent that leaves a cooling sensation on the scalp. It effectively cleanses the hair and scalp, providing relief from itching and flaking. While it’s not a specialized psoriasis shampoo, it’s a great option for regular use.

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  1. Contains tea tree oil with natural antiseptic properties.
  2. Refreshing and invigorating scent.
  3. Provides relief from itching and flaking.


  1. Not specifically formulated for psoriasis.
  2. May not provide complete relief for severe cases.

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5

Selsun Blue Medicated Anti-dandruff Shampoo

medicated shampoo for folliculitis

Selsun Blue Medicated Anti-dandruff Shampoo is a well-known product in the fight against dandruff and scalp conditions like psoriasis. It contains selenium sulfide, which is effective in reducing flakiness and itching. I found that it helped manage my psoriasis symptoms, particularly during flare-ups. The shampoo lathers well and has a medicinal scent. It’s essential to follow the instructions carefully, as it can be drying with frequent use.


  1. Contains selenium sulfide for psoriasis relief.
  2. Effective in reducing flakiness and itching.
  3. Readily available at most drugstores.


  1. May be drying with frequent use.
  2. Medicinal scent may not be appealing to everyone.

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5

Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoo

dermatologist recommended shampoo for folliculitis

Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoo is a specialized product formulated to address various scalp conditions, including psoriasis.

It contains natural ingredients like tea tree oil, arnica, and sage, which are known for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. I found this shampoo to be incredibly gentle on my scalp while effectively reducing redness and itching. It has a pleasant herbal scent and is suitable for daily use.


  1. Contains natural soothing ingredients.
  2. Gentle and effective in reducing redness and itching.
  3. Pleasant herbal scent.
  4. Suitable for daily use.


  1. Can be relatively expensive compared to some other options.
  2. May not provide complete relief for severe cases.

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5

PACIFICA Beauty, Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoo

caffeine shampoo for folliculitis

PACIFICA Beauty’s Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoo is a vegan and cruelty-free option that contains rosemary and mint, which offer a refreshing and invigorating experience for the scalp.

While it’s not specifically designed for psoriasis, it can provide relief from itching and flaking associated with the condition. The natural ingredients make it gentle on the scalp, and the pleasant scent adds to the overall experience.


  1. Vegan and cruelty-free.
  2. Contains rosemary and mint for scalp invigoration.
  3. Gentle and soothing on the scalp.
  4. Pleasant scent.


  1. Not specifically formulated for psoriasis.
  2. May not provide complete relief for severe cases.

Remember that individual experiences with psoriasis can vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan for managing your psoriasis symptoms.

My Ratings:

  • Follicle Unclogging Power – 4/5
  • Soothing Power – 4/5
  • Gentleness on Scalp – 3.5/5

How often should I wash my hair if I have folliculitis?

Experts recommend you wash your hair at least twice everyday if you have folliculitis. This is to prevent bacterial buildup on your scalp that can worsen this condition. However, be careful to use a mild shampoo or wash to cleanse your scalp if you’re washing it twice a day or even everyday. Most over-the-counter shampoos for folliculitis are very strong as they contain antibacterial and antifungal agents such as tea tree oil, ketoconazole, etc. So you should use a mild shampoo/soap on scalp everyday and use the medicated shampoo for folliculitis once a week or every 3 days (whatever suits your scalp the best!).

Final Thoughts on Using the Best Shampoos For Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be very easily managed if you use the right shampoo. If you have a mild case then there even a OTC shampoo like the ones listed above should be enough to cure it. 

You can use high-strength shampoos like Nizoral or CLN with ingredients like ketoconazole or coal tar. 

But for milder cases or color-treated hair, gentler shampoos with natural ingredients like tea tree oil, neem, or apple cider vinegar should also do the trick.

If you find the folliculitis isn’t going away easily or getting worse even after using these shampoos, I highly recommend going to a dermatologist. 

Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.

Also Read:

Best Shampoos For Smelly Hair and Scalp

Amazing Vegan Anti-Dandruff Shampoos

CLn Shampoo for Scalp Prone to Folliculitis

The best shampoo for folliculitis is one that reduces inflammation and cleans hair follicles. The CLn Shampoo for Scalp Prone to Folliculitis is medicated and reduces redness and irritation quickly.

Product SKU: CJK2UGR2711

Product Brand: CLn

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $36.00

Price Valid Until: 2025-06-06

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
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