9 Cheap Psoriasis Shampoos the Experts Loveby Kaleigh Fasanella Health Writer
Out of the 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis, half of them will have it on their scalp. For some, it can be mild with minor flaking and redness, but for others, it comes with stubborn, hard-to-remove plaques that itch and sometimes bleed. Of course, there’s an array of treatment options available, but one of the easiest ways to attack scalp psoriasis head-on is with shampoos that specifically target scales and inflammation. To find out which psoriasis shampoos are worth adding to your arsenal, we tapped two board-certified dermatologists for their recommendations (all of which are $15 or less). Check them out!
Best Long-Lasting Formula
Neutrogena T/Gel Original Therapeutic Shampoo ($8, target.com)
Recommended by nearly all dermatologists, this is a formula worth trying. “I love this shampoo because it contains 1% coal tar and conditioners, which help to minimize and treat scaling and inflammation,” says Melissa K. Levin, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at New York University. It’s also safe to use every day—whether you’re flaring or not—and has been proven to calm scalp plaques for hours. Dr. Levin recommends massaging it into the scalp and then letting it sit for three to five minutes before rinsing it out.
Best for Damaged Hair
Dove DermaCare Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ($5, target.com)
This pick from Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, contains zinc parathion, an ingredient that he says has both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be effective at treating scalp psoriasis by minimizing yeast production. (FYI: Studies show that yeast production is greater in people with psoriasis.) “By lowering levels of yeast on the scalp, this shampoo can calm inflammation to improve itching, redness, and flaking,” he explains. “With consistent use, you should see a visible improvement.”
Best for Moderate-to-Severe Itching
Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo ($7, amazon.com)
Another recommendation from Dr. Zeichner, he says this shampoo works to minimize scalp psoriasis with selenium sulfide. “It’s an anti-microbial ingredient that lowers levels of yeast on the scalp, similar to that of zinc parathion, [and] by lowering yeast, you can reduce scalp inflammation that contributes to flaking,” he explains. It also contains menthol, which has a cooling effect on the scalp that can help to temporarily alleviate discomfort.
Best for Extra-Sensitive Scalps
Neutrogena T/SAL Therapeutic Shampoo ($6, walmart.com)
This powerhouse shampoo contains 3% salicylic acid, which Dr. Zeichner says is a highly effective, clinically proven hydroxy acid that works to remove excess scales and alleviate itching associated with scalp psoriasis. Additionally, he likes it because it’s got zero common irritants, like synthetic dyes, fragrances, and preservatives, making it an excellent option for those with extra-sensitive skin.
Best Budget Buy
Head and Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Daily Use Shampoo ($4, walmart.com)
In addition to yeast-minimizing zinc, this classic anti-dandruff formula also contains almond oil, a fatty acid that helps to significantly lower inflammation on the scalp, thereby reducing scales and redness. For best results, Dr. Zeichner suggests using it on a daily basis until your symptoms are more under control.
Best for Your Gym Bag
DHS SAL Shampoo Maximum Strength ($11, dermstore.com)
This salicylic-acid packed shampoo—in a perfectly portable bottle—aids in breaking down stubborn scales and preventing new build-up from forming. By doing so, it also helps to reduce redness, itching, and overall inflammation of the scalp caused by psoriasis.
Best for Color-Treated Hair
Nizoral Anti Dandruff Shampoo ($15, target.com)
Unlike its competitors, this shampoo contains 1% ketoconazole, an antifungal ingredient that’s used to treat certain skin conditions, including scalp psoriasis. Additionally, it’s still gentle enough to use on chemically treated and colored hair, and it doesn’t strip the scalp of its natural oils so it won’t get aggressively dry or tight after using it.
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo ($14, ulta.com)
This essential oil-infused shampoo features tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender to soothe the scalp while washing away skin-irritating impurities. It also leaves a satisfying cooling sensation on the scalp after every use.
Best for Multi-Tasking
Denorex Extra Strength Dandruff Shampoo + Conditioner ($14, amazon.com)
This shampoo/conditioner combo does double duty with coal tar to reduce inflammation and flakes and provitamin B5 to strengthen strands at the same time. Bonus: This also contains cooling menthol to take the edge off of any itchiness.