8 Best Seborrheic Dermatitis Shampoos of 2021


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Seborrheic dermatitis , a common skin disorder that appears as red spots with oily yellow scales, can cause severe discomfort. Symptoms like itching, dandruff, and redness can be difficult to combat.

The main cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, but experts believe that yeast may play a role . Bridget French, MD, a dermatologist at Apex Health Care Associates, explains that "since areas of the skin that contain many oil glands are commonly affected, this is considered an inflammatory response to excess oil production."

Dr. French says that steroid creams and topical antifungals are the mainstay of treatment, along with oral fungal infections, for patients with "severe scalp injuries." As for shampoos, the most used are those that contain ketoconazole, selenium sulfide and zinc pyrithione. It is important to note that some shampoos can be very drying, which can cause hair to become brittle and brittle. So if you have this problem after using any of these recommended shampoo options, remember to use a moisturizing conditioner afterwards.

Here are some great shampoo options that can help treat seborrheic dermatitis symptoms like dandruff and other skin conditions to keep your scalp free from irritation.

Final verdict

Seborrheic dermatitis shampoos are available over the counter and by prescription. If you want to start with an over-the-counter product, choose a product with an antifungal ingredient and follow the directions on the package. You can't go wrong with Nizoral AD Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ( see Amazon ). This is one of the most popular anti-dandruff shampoos that will leave your scalp strong and protected. But if you're looking for an extra-strong formula, try the healing path with Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser for Men and Women (see on Amazon ).

If you still have seborrheic dermatitis after trying over-the-counter shampoos, make an appointment with a dermatologist. A shampoo with a higher content of antifungal agents or even topical steroid treatments may be prescribed to ease your symptoms.

What to look for in seborrheic dermatitis shampoos

Antifungal Ingredients:

If you want to fight yeast, you will need a shampoo that contains antifungal ingredients like zinc or ketoconazole. While it's tempting to use this all-natural dry scalp remedy you found on Pinterest, it probably won't help when it comes to treating dandruff .

'Tea tree oil is widely used in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis, but antifungal agents are much more effective,' says San Francisco dermatologist Karen Campbell, MD, 'and coconut oil doesn't help, [ because] only oil-based products enhance an oil-rich environment where yeast already likes to grow. "

Here are some ingredients to consider when purchasing an antifungal shampoo:

  • Zinc pyrithione: Zinc pyrithione is an antimicrobial agent that is often included as an active ingredient in over-the-counter dandruff shampoos. Since zinc has powerful antifungal properties, it helps eliminate yeast overgrowth. It can also be available in a cream form and is often recommended for daily use.
  • Selenium Sulfide : Selenium sulfide is an antifungal agent that can slow the growth of yeast on the scalp and scalp. Some foods contain selenium sulfide and zinc pyrithione. However, it can be a bit stronger than zinc pyrithione, so it is best to start slowly, using only a couple of times a week at first (then increasing from there), without losing sight of the irritation of the skin.
  • Ketoconazole – This antifungal has more uses than some of the other antifungals on this list and can be prescribed to treat everything from athlete's foot to tinea versicolor and ringworm. You can find this ingredient in a popular over-the-counter shampoo called Nizoral, but it is most commonly found in prescription topical creams. If you choose a shampoo, be sure to follow the directions on the package; It is generally recommended to use it only twice a week or every three days on the scalp.
  • Salicylic Acid: Joshua Zeichner, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says that if you have seborrheic dermatitis, which consists of a thick crust or uneven scales, choosing a salicylic acid shampoo can help. This beta-hydroxy acid removes dead cells that build up on the skin's surface, creating unsightly, stubborn, and itchy patches of flaky or flaky skin.


Because seborrheic dermatitis can dry out your skin, when you start using antifungal agents, your skin may need additional hydration. Choose a shampoo made for daily use so that you don't remove too many natural oils from your skin, or even one made with moisturizers to replace the oils washed off during your cleansing procedure.

FYI: If you are using the product on your scalp (as a dual-use shampoo and dandruff remedy), you should also apply an antifungal conditioner.

"Be sure to use an anti-dandruff conditioner in conjunction with an anti-dandruff shampoo," says Dr. Zeichner. "Otherwise, a regular conditioner can remove the active ingredient that has been deposited on the skin."

OTC or by prescription:

Dr. Zeichner says that over-the-counter products are often enough to fight seborrheic dermatitis, so it's best to start with a drugstore shampoo. But if your condition is moderate to severe, or if you find that over-the-counter products are not producing the results you want, Dr. Campbell advises that you don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for something stronger.

"Prescription shampoos contain higher concentrations of antifungal agents or anti-inflammatory agents like steroids that help calm the yeast [allergic reaction]," he explains, noting that his personal favorite for seborrheic dermatitis is antifungal shampoo. and a topical steroid solution.

Frequently asked questions

  • It depends on the ingredients used to treat your condition. Mild formulas, such as those containing salicylic acid, can be used several times a week (or, in some cases, even every day). But other shampoos, such as coal tar or zinc pyrithione, may be recommended only once a week.

    It is recommended that you check the directions on the bottle of shampoo you have chosen to treat seborrheic dermatitis. He will tell you how often to use the product for the best results. If you are unsure about the structure of your hair and scalp and how they will react to a new shampoo, seek the advice of a dermatologist.

Yeast lives in everyone as part of our natural microbiome, but some people just have a more sensitive immune system that doesn't like it, leading to redness, itching, and scaling. – Joshua Zeichner, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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Additional reporting for this Sarah Bradley story

Sarah Bradley has been writing health stories since 2017, from food reviews and disease FAQs to nutritional explanations and meals on diet trends. She knows how important it is to get credible, expert-approved advice on over-the-counter products that can help you cope with everyday illnesses, from gastrointestinal problems and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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