8 Best Head Acne Shampoos & Treatments

Surprisingly, acne can occur on the scalp just as it can on the face and on any other part of the body.

I don’t need to tell you that acne is one of the most irritating and frustrating issues that anyone could ever suffer from, whether you’re old or young.

Just like all of the other parts of the body, the scalp has many pores that secrete oil on to the surface of the scalp. When this occurs, the bacteria that is already present on the scalp often combines with dead skin cells and the oil which can lead to the pores becoming blocked.

This is what ultimately leads to a breakout of acne.

There are several factors that contribute to scalp acne. Some of these factors include hormonal changes such as during times of menstruation and adolescence, an unhealthy diet, poor hygiene, an allergic reaction, air pollution, living in particularly humid conditions, exposure to specific chemicals and oils, and other mechanical factors such as regularly wearing tight headgear or constantly scratching your scalp, which removes the protective layer.

If you’ve found yourself in dire need of some scalp acne treatment, then take a browse through this brief guide that aims to inform you about the world of varying acne treatment medicines.

Best Products That Help Treat Scalp Acne

1. Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

pure tea tree oil shampoo

One of the best shampoos for scalp acne, Maple Holistic’s Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo strives to relieve your scalp from both dandruff and acne irritation.

This essential oil deep cleanser gently and carefully washes away dirt, dandruff, excess oil and other impurities to create a much cleaner and healthier looking scalp.

Having a healthy scalp will also greatly improve the health of your hair as the roots of the hair strands are getting the required nutrients.

This scalp acne shampoo is formulated with three essential oils that both stimulate and soothe your scalp, making sure that your hair grows strong, thick and long.

The Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo uses a revitalizing blend of tea tree oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil which is perfectly balanced by Argan oil and the hydrating jojoba oil. This is then further enhanced by botanical keratin which aims to strengthen hair.

This combination of completely natural ingredients work together to add volume and texture to your hair by detoxing your scalp and exterminating any excess bacteria.

This shampoo contains no sulfates, parabens, artificial dyes or fragrances, so you needn’t worry about any harmful chemicals being subject to your vulnerable skin.

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2. Dermapet Benzoyl Peroxide Plus


It isn’t always easy to find a shampoo that can treat a wide range of skin problems, however Dermapet Benzoyl Peroxide Plus shampoo fits the bill perfectly.

It contains both salicylic acid and sulfur in a base of all-natural ingredients for an effective way to treat skin conditions. With its pleasant, herbal fragrance, it smells great while offering outstanding moisturizing properties.

The 2.5% formulation is given extra nutritional value and stability by the most effective natural antioxidant in the world – Vitamin E, while its gentle formula is entirely soap-free.

Its antimicrobial properties make this an excellent choice to treat a host of problematic skin conditions.

This product can assist in treating skin infections, hot spots, acne, greasy skin, oily seborrhea and lick granulomas as well as skin fold and staph infections. This makes it an extremely versatile shampoo.

It is unrivaled on the market in its ability to flush infectious microbes from hair follicles ensuring that it offers amazing value for money.

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3. Free & Clear Set

free clear set

This highly effective set includes both scalp acne shampoo and conditioner, so you can double the amount of care that your scalp and hair receives. This set by Free & Clear has been well-tested by many dermatologists who all highly recommend it and suggest it expressly for treatment of acne-prone scalps and other hair and skin issues.

This shampoo and conditioner set is free of common chemical irritants that are often found in other, ordinary shampoos that you can find elsewhere on the market.

Some of these irritants include artificial dyes, artificial fragrances, masking fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers.

Luckily, Free & Clear believe in natural medical remedies and do not use any of these harmful chemical irritants in their products.

This shampoo and conditioner set is also free of phosphates, sulfates, gluten, protein and preservatives, which makes it suitable for use for just about anyone. This set is also perfectly pH balanced so you don’t need to worry about your skin’s natural production of oil and other moistures.

This product is often used to remove flaking skin, to help control an oily scalp and to help remove the build-up of bacteria due to hair sprays and other hair care products.

This is definitely one of the best shampoo and conditioners for acne-prone skin.

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4. SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar

sal3 salicylic acid sulfur soap bar

An effective acne treatment squashed down into a small bar of soap, the incredible SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar is a perfect addition to all travel kits due to its small size but high effectiveness.

Salicylic acid and sulfur soap provides antifungal, antiseptic and keratolytic action.

Salicylic acid by itself is already mildly anti-bacteria and keratolytic, meaning that it can hydrate the keratin layer of the skin when the pH is lowered on the surface.

When in combination with sulfur, the product can support normal keratin formation also, meaning that hair grows at a steadier rate and is much stronger.

When soap is in the form of a bar it can be a lot more convenient for larger skin surface areas such as your scalp, face, neck, back or arms.

Of course, carrying a bar of soap is also very easy so that makes this product an ideal one for those who travel around a lot and also suffer from acne-prone skin.

SAL3 soap is often recommended by both dermatologists and doctors alike due to its high success rate at treating acne, dermatitis, keratosis pilaris and psoriasis to name a few.

This soap targets clogged pores and neutralizes the bacteria within them, preventing the pores from being blocked again.

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5. Antibacterial Shampoo

antibacterial shampoo

Healthy Hair Plus has created an extremely effective and successful antibacterial shampoo that treats scalp irritation and prevents severe head acne breakouts.

This antibacterial shampoo is also anti-inflammatory, meaning that you should feel absolutely no irritation when it is applied to your hair and scalp, even if you have very sensitive skin.

It could even be the best shampoo for scalp acne on the market today.

This shampoo aims to give you thick, moisturized and full-bodied hair while also aiming to kill and inhibit bacteria growth on the scalp. This shampoo has transdermal properties meaning that it penetrates deep into your hair’s roots, scalp and follicle pores so that it can work to reduce, minimize and block the development of various harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause infection and itchy skin.

This particular antibacterial shampoo has a natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial formula that replenishes and revitalizes your scalp with essential fatty acids such as omega 3,6 and 9 as well as other beneficial vitamins and minerals. This soothes areas of itching, irritation and redness.

The strong antibacterial properties of this shampoo reduces the possibility of acne breakouts and pimples and instead promotes a healthy head of hair and a healthy scalp that is completely free of infection and itchiness.

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6. Tea Tree Peppermint Moisturizing Shampoo

tea tree peppermint moisturizing shampoo

Another highly effective and easy to administer treatment for scalp irritation and head acne is Honeydew Products’ premium Tea Tree Peppermint Shampoo which combines 100% pure and therapeutic-grade essential tea tree, peppermint and rosemary to give you a completely first-rate treatment for all malnourished hair and irritated scalps.

This shampoo has also been proven to work on those who experience symptoms related to flaking or dry scalps, dandruff and those who suffer from limp and malnourished hair.

This is a highly effective treatment for acne-prone scalps that often breakout when subjected to other, ordinary shampoos on the market.

This hydrating, moisturizing and thickening shampoo has a formula that contains only the purest and most potent tea tree oil essences, uniquely cultivated and extracted from specifically selected steam distilleries within Australia.

The many beneficial effects of the tea tree oil are elevated via the addition of rosemary oil which increases the overall natural compound content within the formula.

The formula is then further enhanced with a very potent and sweet-smelling peppermint essential oil which provides a refreshing and highly pleasant aromatic showering experience without the harmful additions of artificial fragrances.

This combination of only natural ingredients ensures to fix malnourished hair and give relief to those who suffer from scalp irritation and acne-prone skin.

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7. CLEAR 2 Perfection Treatment

clear 2 perfection treatment

Clear 2 Perfection comes from a rich background of medical professionalism.

Founded by a paramedical esthetician, this company is all too familiar with both the physical and emotional pain that acne breakouts can cause.

For the longest time sufferers of acne-prone skin were completely unaware of just how many ingredients within their skincare products actually caused the breakout of acne as opposed to benefitting it.

For the last 30 years, Clear 2 Perfection has been striving to create products that treat acne-prone skin, and, in the process, they have undoubtedly helped thousands of people to be comfortable in their own skin once again.

This non-comedogenic nourishing shampoo, conditioner and exfoliant is just the latest in Clear 2 Perfection’s products that aim to help those with irritated skin.

This set has a unique blend of antioxidant rich enzymes that promote deep cleansing of the scalp’s pores and help to soothe the overstressed skin and hair that are a result of irritated, acne-prone skin. This enzyme-rich formula cleanses the pores within the skin and reduces inflammation.

Mango, carrot and pumpkin extracts all deliver a form of natural antioxidant healing that repairs the hair follicles and the inflamed scalp.

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8. Acne Zap Shampoo

acne zap shampoo

This shampoo by Acne Zap is an all-natural way to help clear the scalp from any and all forms of acne whilst also removing any zits, pimples, blackheads or whiteheads.

The unique scalp acne fighting formula is manufactured with only the most natural and potent ingredients, ensuring that no harmful chemicals are found within the product that could possibly seep into the pores of your skin and block them, which is what leads to acne breakouts and pimple growth.

Some of these all-natural ingredients are sulfur, birch leaves extract, the all-important tea tree oil, safflower oil, saw palmetto extract and borage seed oil. This formula does not contain any mineral oil, parabens or other harmful substances.

This shampoo has a unique combination of both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that cannot be easily found by other, more ordinary and budget shampoos on the market. And whilst this shampoo’s price may not be low, you can rest assured knowing that you are receiving only the highest quality of ingredients and treatment.

This product is a very simple and easy way to treat scalp irritation and will likely have you feeling yourself and feeling confident with your appearance again in no time.

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What Causes Scalp Acne?

  • There are several factors that can all contribute to scalp acne, here is a brief list of just a few:
  •  Dead skin cells or excess oil is blocking hair follicles or pores
  • There is a build-up of hair products on the skin such as hair gels or hairspray
  • Not washing your hair thoroughly enough
  • Waiting too long after a workout or physical exercise to wash the hair
  • Sweating an excessive amount while wearing an item that covers the head, such as a hat.

Several other factors are also said to contribute to scalp acne such as diet. A study published in “Advances in Dermatology and Allergology” seems to suggest that a diet that is high in sugary carbohydrates can cause and increase in the likelihood of developing acne on scalp.

There are several bacteria that have also been directly linked to severe scalp acne. Some of which include:

  • Cutibacterium
  • Staphylococcus Epidermidids
  • Yeast from the Malassezia family tree
  • Staphylococcus Aureus
  • Demodex Folliculorum

It is important to note that it is not just one factor that causes acne on scalp, it is instead a combination of many factors.

It could also be suggested that there is a positive correlation between the number of factors present and the severity of the acne, meaning that the more factors a person has, the more severe their acne is likely to be.

How to Prevent It?

After reading all of this you may now be frantically searching for a way to prevent scalp acne before it can even occur.

The first thing to know is that hygiene plays a crucial role in avoiding blocked pores that cause acne.

Generally speaking, you should wash your hair whenever it begins to feel excessively oily. It is especially important that you wash your scalp and your hair directly after any physical exercise or workout.

There are several other ways that you can help to treat scalp acne and prevent any further breakouts.

One of which is to switch your hair care products to more natural and hypoallergenic ones.

Another way is to avoid using too many hair products overall such as the likes of hairsprays and hair gels. You should make sure that you are getting enough vitamin A, D and E in order to keep the skin healthy.

You must strike a balance between washing your hair frequently but not too often. You must only wash your hair regularly after exercise, sweating or when your hair feels oily.

Washing your hair too often can lead to your skin being stripped of its natural oil production, leading to a higher risk of other harmful contaminants seeping into your skin.

We hope that this guide helped you to find the best shampoo for scalp acne and soon enough you will be acne free and happier than ever!