The 7 Best Shampoo for Psoriasis and Itchy Scalps

Psoriasis is a scalp condition that can cause a lot of discomfort and distress for those who have it, although it is not as common as dandruff. About 4% of Americans have psoriasis, and many of them struggle with managing the scales and flaking that often come with the condition. The good news is that there are over-the-counter shampoos designed specifically for treating psoriasis.

According to Dr. Brendan Camp, a dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York, using a specialty shampoo can help with any type of psoriasis. If your psoriasis is mild, using just a shampoo might be enough to control your symptoms. However, if you have moderate or severe psoriasis, you may need to combine the shampoo with a topical leave-in medication or a prescription from your doctor.

When choosing a psoriasis shampoo, it’s important to consider the active ingredient and how it can affect your scalp. Many treatment options contain either salicylic acid or coal tar, which are the only two ingredients approved by the FDA for treating psoriasis without a prescription. To help you find the best shampoo for your scalp condition, we spoke to dermatologists and skin specialists who are experts in psoriasis and consulted the National Psoriasis Foundation’s list of approved products. Here are the shampoos that we recommend.

MG217’s Psoriasis Scalp Shampoo + Conditioner is designed to provide relief for your dry and itchy scalp. It contains salicylic acid, which is a powerful ingredient known to combat psoriasis. When applied to the scalp, salicylic acid helps break down the tough, scaly skin and encourages the shedding of psoriasis flakes. Additionally, this shampoo includes soothing chamomile and panthenol, a type of vitamin B5, to ensure it doesn’t strip away your scalp’s natural oils.

This product is suitable for all hair types, and the manufacturer recommends using it in conjunction with a coal tar-based product for optimal results. It’s important to remember that salicylic acid can cause dryness and irritation in some cases. To avoid any discomfort, it’s advisable to start with a small amount and gradually increase it as your body adjusts.

Sphagnum Botanicals Psoriasis Shampoo is a fantastic choice because it’s not only a natural option but has also received recognition from the National Psoriasis Foundation for its outstanding effectiveness. This shampoo combines peat mud, salicylic acid, and naturally derived ingredients like fulvic and humic acids. The two acids work as an exfoliator to gently remove dead skin cells, while peat mud soothes and nourishes sensitive skin.

Using this shampoo will leave your hair feeling clean and soft, while also promoting cell turnover and reducing scaling. It’s gentle on the skin as it doesn’t contain sulfates or harsh chemicals, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin. However, it’s slightly more expensive than other products on our list. But if you’re looking for an eco-friendly and nature-inspired solution, the price tag is definitely worth it.

When your scalp needs extra moisture to tackle psoriasis, Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner is a great choice. This convenient two-in-one product contains a high concentration of salicylic acid (3%), making it highly effective against psoriasis. It also features a zinc complex with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties for quick relief.

Furthermore, this shampoo includes a special emollient complex that restores moisture and helps prevent further scaling. It’s fragrance-free and has the recommendation of the National Psoriasis Foundation. However, some users have noticed that it doesn’t leave their hair as soft and silky as they expected. The likely reason for this is the high content of salicylic acid and zinc. Nevertheless, Dermarest made sure to include hydrating ingredients to counteract this issue and keep your hair moisturized.

Nizoral Psoriasis Scalp Psoriasis Shampoo and Conditioner is a fantastic duo designed to tackle psoriasis. It contains powerful ingredients like salicylic acid, vitamins, and other nutrient-rich components that are beneficial for your scalp. What’s even better is that it’s free from common skin irritants, so you don’t have to worry about any unwanted reactions.

Although the consistency of this combo product is thinner than expected, don’t let that discourage you. It contains maximum-strength salicylic acid to effectively remove flakes and debris from your scalp. Additionally, it’s enriched with vitamins, minerals, and nutrient-rich ingredients that work together to keep your psoriasis symptoms under control. Moreover, it doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances, parabens, sulfates, or dyes, making it suitable for sensitive scalps.

With the added green tea extract and vitamins C, E, and B5, this duo provides your scalp with extra conditioning and protection. The result is a lightweight option that won’t weigh down your hair. Instead, it leaves your hair looking voluminous and adds just the right amount of shine.

Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo is a highly recommended option for managing psoriasis. It contains a powerful ingredient called salicylic acid, with a 3% concentration, known for its effectiveness against scalp plaques and scaly skin caused by conditions like psoriasis. Melinda Asfaw, a physician assistant at Novant Health’s Northlake Dermatology in Huntersville, North Carolina, who regularly treats psoriasis, specifically recommends this shampoo to her patients with mild cases. For severe cases, a prescription may be necessary, but even then, a strong salicylic acid shampoo like this one can be beneficial when used alongside other treatments.

If you have severe psoriasis, it’s important to consider combining various therapies to achieve complete relief. This shampoo can help clear scalp plaques and reduce discomfort, and it can be used alongside prescription treatments or other therapies recommended by your doctor. Discussing your treatment options with your healthcare provider will help determine if this product is the right choice for you.

Selsun Blue Antidandruff Shampoo is the perfect solution for those annoying flaky white specks that can make you self-conscious. If you’re experiencing dandruff caused by the fungus Malassezia, Selsun Blue has you covered with their range of anti-dandruff products available at popular retailers like Walmart, Target, and CVS. The shampoo’s rich lather effectively soothes itchiness and flakiness associated with dandruff.

While this shampoo isn’t specifically formulated for psoriasis, it can still help manage dandruff-like symptoms that often accompany the condition. Its formula contains selenium sulfide to target fungal growth, while aloe vera moisturizes the scalp and provides much-needed relief from discomfort.

We specifically recommend this product over the original formula because it’s enriched with moisturizing ingredients that keep your scalp healthy. Plus, the aloe vera has strengthening properties

The Biolage Scalp Syn Antidandruff Shampoo is a great choice for those with color-treated hair and mild psoriasis. This shampoo is gentle enough for daily use and won’t harm your hair color. It effectively reduces inflammation and promotes a healthy scalp, thanks to its active ingredient, pyrithione zinc, which fights dandruff flakes and prevents fungal overgrowth.

With Biolage’s Scalp Syn shampoo, you can enjoy the benefits of a balanced scalp without worrying about stripping away the natural oils in your hair. It leaves your color looking vibrant and shiny. However, it’s worth noting that some people may not be fond of its strong fragrance, which is a blend of menthol, peppermint leaf extract, and added fragrance. If you’re sensitive to strong scents, you might want to explore other options. But rest assured, this shampoo has a solid reputation for caring for dyed and damaged hair while effectively addressing psoriasis.