The 8 Best Shampoos for Seborrheic Dermatitis of 2023

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo contains 1% ketoconazole to relieve flaking

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Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Verywell Health / Jessica Juliao

Seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition that presents as red patches with overlying greasy, yellow scales, can cause symptoms like itchiness, dandruff, and redness. While the root cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, "it’s thought to be an inflammatory response to excess oil production,” says Bridget French, MD, a dermatologist at Apex Health Care Associates. Luckily, shampoos can help with symptoms.

When looking for a shampoo, Dr. French recommends ones containing ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, and pyrithione zinc. It’s important to note that some shampoos can be very drying, which can create brittle hair prone to breakage. So, if you run into this issue after using any of these recommended shampoo options, make sure to use a moisturizing conditioner afterward. 

We researched dozens of shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis and evaluated them for active ingredients, cost, size, scent, and packaging. Each of the shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis chosen in this article was determined to be the best of these factors. A medical dermatologist from our Medical Expert Board reviewed the following information to ensure accuracy in terms of the efficacy of ingredients, keeping hair hydrated, and OTC versus prescription options.

Below, you'll find the best shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis on the market today.

Best Overall

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


  • Contains antifungal ingredients

  • Doctor-recommended

  • Safe for color-treated and processed hair

  • May cause dryness

Formulated with 1% ketoconazole, the antifungal shampoo works to prevent fungus growth while relieving flaking, scaling, and itching caused by dandruff, which is why we chose it as the best overall pick. This shampoo lathers quickly, seeping into the scalp to relieve common symptoms caused by dandruff and leaving your hair smelling fresh.

To see the best results, it’s recommended to use this shampoo every three to four days for up to eight weeks and to leave it on for five to 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

Price at time of publication: $20

Active Ingredients: Ketoconazole 1% | Uses: Flaking, scaling and itching of the scalp associated with dermatitis

Best Natural Medicated

Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo

Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo


  • Botanical ingredients

  • No parabens, sulfates, or phthalates

  • May leave hair greasy

Sometimes the best way to go back to nature is by making sure your products are chemical free. Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo relies on nature’s botanicals to bring you a natural shampoo free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfate. Instead, this shampoo uses a combination of sulfur and salicylic acid to treat mild psoriasis and dermatitis, which ultimately eliminates flakes and itchiness. Added to soothe and moisturize the scalp are plant-based healers like rosemary, olive, and jojoba oils.

If you use this shampoo at least three times a week, the occurrence of flaking, scaling, and itching should be significantly reduced.

Price at time of publication: $10

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid 2.2%, Sulfur 2.4% | Uses: Mild psoriasis and dermatitis

Best Medicated

Nioxin Scalp Recovery Anti-Dandruff Medicating Cleanser Shampoo

best dandruff shampoo


  • Formulated with green tea extract

  • Pleasant smell

  • Price

Formulated with 1% pyrithione zinc and green tea extracts, this shampoo is ideal for relieving the itchiness and flakiness associated with seborrheic dermatitis. It helps restore the scalp to its natural balance and provides soothing protection.

What’s extra nice about this particular shampoo is that it doesn’t have the unpleasant smell of medicated dandruff shampoos, but is light and soothing. For the best results, use it at least three days a week.

Price at time of publication: $57

Active Ingredients: Pyrithione zinc 1 % | Uses: Flaking and itching of the scalp associated with dermatitis

Best Natural

The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo

The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo


  • Hydrating

  • Reduces itching and irritation

  • All-natural ingredients

  • Small bottle

  • Contains sodium laureth sulfate

The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo may be small and its ingredients light, but don’t let that fool you because this shampoo is mighty. Made with a blend of ginger essential oil, birch bark, white willow, and honey, this shampoo perfectly calms the scalp by relieving irritation, itchiness, and boosting moisture. It’s just as effective as more traditionally formulated shampoos and definitely smells a lot better with its spicy scent. As long as you massage it into wet hair and use it as needed, your scalp should feel clean and healthy again.

Price at time of publication: $25

Active Ingredients: None | Uses: Flaking and dryness of the scalp associated with dermatitis

Best for Color Treated Hair

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo


  • Cleanses the scalp with micro-exfoliators

  • Cruelty-free

  • Safe for color-treated and processed hair

  • Price

Similar to dye, hair straighteners and some protective hairstyles can aggravate seborrheic dermatitis, because it can result in less frequent hair washing and helps the scalp accumulate oil and debris, explains Dr. French. But this shampoo might be able to help because it’s not a regular shampoo. Its formula contains vegetable-derived micro-exfoliators, set to remove dead skin cells and any product build-up from the scalp. Not only does it clean the scalp, but leaves hair strong and full with a helpful dose of biotin

It’s hard to know whether most dandruff shampoos are working, but this one from Briogeo clues you in by actually cooling your scalp with soothing tea tree oil that also works hard to eliminate flakes. When using the shampoo, make sure to massage it into the scalp and all the way through your ends for the best results.

Price at time of publication: $42

Active Ingredients: None | Uses: Dryness, flaking, and itching of scalp due to dermatitis or excess product build-up

Best for Babies

Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo & Body Wash

Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo & Body Wash


  • Pediatrician-approved for infants and children

  • Can be used as a body wash

  • No irritating fragrances or dyes

  • Can take multiple uses to see results

  • Thicker, creamier consistency

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition amongst children, especially in babies under three months. It usually begins with cradle cap, but can also start on the face or diaper area. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo is pediatrician-approved and contains the active ingredient pyrithione zinc to help fight off flaking, itching, and scaling. It also doubles as a body wash, which is extra nice considering seborrheic dermatitis isn’t always exclusive to the scalp area.

This formula is virtually free of any harmful ingredients: no fragrance, dye, alcohol, parabens, sulfates, or BPA. Results start to show after one or two washes, but most parents will start to see significant improvement with their child’s skin after one to two weeks of consecutive use.

Price at time of publication: $13

Active Ingredients: Pyrithione zinc 0.95% | Uses: Scaling, redness, itching, and flaking associated with dermatitis or “cradle cap” in babies

Best Luxury

Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

ORIBE Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


  • Easy to lather

  • Pleasant smell

  • Attractive packaging

  • Price

Sometimes you need to splurge, baby, splurge. Not only does this shampoo look extra pretty sitting in your shower, but the way it lathers when massaged into your scalp truly feels luxurious. Oribe’s formula combines its beautiful packaging with sumptuous fragrance to smell like perfume and exfoliating salicylic acid to control flaking and reduce itching. Along with caffeine, sugarcane extract, and orange and lemon extract, Oribe rejuvenates and nourishes the scalp.

Price at time of publication: $166

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid 2.0% | Uses: Relieving dryness and itching of scalp, reducing dandruff

Best for Every Hair Type

Sebamed Everyday Shampoo

Sebamed Everyday Shampoo


This shampoo is truly formulated to improve the health of your strands and scalp. If you’re dealing with dandruff, the soap-free shampoo works to rid dryness and add moisture back into the skin. The result: far less itching, and relief for your tired hands. Did we mention it's mild? The pH balance is designed to optimize scalp health, making it safe to use for any hair type and problem (from psoriasis to seborrheic dermatitis).

Price at time of publication: $45

Final Verdict

Shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis are available OTC and by prescription. If you want to start with an OTC product, choose one with an antifungal ingredient and follow the package directions. You can’t go wrong with Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (view at Amazon). It’s one of the highest-rated anti-dandruff shampoos and will leave your scalp feeling strong and protected. But, if you want an extra-strength formula, try going the medicated route with Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser for Unisex (view at Amazon). 

If you’re still suffering from seborrheic dermatitis after trying OTC shampoos, make an appointment with a dermatologist. They may be able to prescribe you a shampoo with a higher formulation of antifungals or even a topical steroid treatment to reduce your symptoms.

How We Rated Shampoos for Seborrheic Dermatitis

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis we reviewed. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

What to Look for in Shampoos for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Antifungal Ingredients

If you want to tackle yeast, you need a shampoo containing antifungal ingredients like zinc or ketoconazole. While it’s tempting to use that all-natural remedy for dry scalp you found on Pinterest, it probably won’t do the trick when it comes to treating dandruff

“Tea tree oil gets a lot of airplay for seborrheic dermatitis, but the antifungal agents are much more effective,” says San Francisco-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Caren Campbell, M.D., “and coconut oil doesn't help [because] oil-based products only increase the oil-rich environment the yeast already likes to grow in.”

Here are some of the ingredients you should look for when shopping for an antifungal shampoo:

  • Zinc Pyrithione: Zinc pyrithione is an antimicrobial that is often listed as the active ingredient in OTC dandruff shampoos. Because zinc has powerful antifungal properties, it’s good at killing yeast overgrowth. It may also be available as a cream and is often recommended for daily use.  
  • Selenium Sulfide: Selenium sulfide is an antifungal that can slow down the overgrowth of yeast on your scalp and skin. Some products contain both selenium sulfide and zinc pyrithione. It can be a little harsher than zinc pyrithione, though, so it's best to start slow by using the product only a couple of times per week at first (then building up from there), keeping an eye out for skin irritation. 
  • 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 to ringworm. You can find this ingredient in a popular OTC shampoo called Nizoral, but it’s more often administered in a prescription topical cream. If you do opt for the shampoo, make sure to follow the directions on the packaging; it’s usually recommended that you only use it twice per week or every three days on the scalp.
  • Salicylic Acid: Joshua Zeichner, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says that if your seborrheic dermatitis consists of thick crust or patchy scales, it can help to choose a shampoo with salicylic acid. This beta-hydroxy acid removes the dead cells that build up on the surface of the skin, forming unsightly, stubborn, and itchy patches of scaly or flaky skin.


Since seborrheic dermatitis itself can be drying to your skin, by the time you start applying an antifungal treatment, your skin could be in need of some extra hydration. Choose a shampoo that is designed for daily use so that you’re not stripping your skin of too many of its natural oils or even one that’s made with moisturizers to replenish some of the oils washed away during the cleansing treatment.

FYI: If you’re using the product on your scalp (as a dual-purpose shampoo and dandruff treatment), you should follow up with an antifungal conditioner, too.

“Make sure to use a dandruff conditioner along with your dandruff shampoo,” says Dr. Zeichner, “otherwise a regular conditioner may wash away the active ingredient that has been deposited on the skin.” 

OTC or Prescription

Dr. Zeichner says that over-the-counter products are often all that is needed to combat seborrheic dermatitis, so drugstore shampoos are probably the best place to start. But if your condition is moderate to severe or you’re finding that OTC products aren’t giving you the results you want, Dr. Campbell says not to hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for something stronger.

“Prescription-strength shampoos contain antifungal agents at higher concentrations or anti-inflammatory agents like steroids that help calm the [allergic reaction] from the yeast,” she explains, noting that her personal favorite treatment for seborrheic dermatitis is a prescription-strength antifungal shampoo and a topical steroid solution.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should I use my shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis?

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

    It’s a good idea to check the directions on the bottle of shampoo you choose to treat your seborrheic dermatitis. It will tell you how often you should use the product for best results. If you're unsure about your specific hair and scalp texture and how it will react to a new shampoo, ask your dermatologist for guidance.

What the Experts Say

Yeast lives on everyone as part of our natural microbiome, but some people just have a more sensitive immune system that does not [like it], leading to redness, itching, and flaking. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital

Why Trust Verywell Health

Having been raised by two medical professionals, Amari Pollard understands the importance of health literacy. As a seasoned health writer, she is committed to producing well-researched and well-sourced product reviews to help people make informed medical decisions.

Additional reporting for this story by Sarah Bradley

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Savi GD, Bortoluzzi AJ, Scussel VM. Antifungal properties of zinc-compounds against toxigenic fungi and mycotoxinInt J Food Sci Technol. 2013;48(9):1834-1840. doi:10.1111/ijfs.12158