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Home » Hair Care Products » The 20 Best Shampoo and Conditioner for Acne-Prone Skin

The 20 Best Shampoo and Conditioner for Acne-Prone Skin

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aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

Understanding Acne on the Scalp

Before exploring suitable hair care products, it’s crucial to understand the causes of scalp acne. Factors such as excess oil production, dead skin cells, and bacterial growth contribute to acne formation. Moreover, hair care products containing comedogenic ingredients can aggravate the condition.

Acne is a struggle for many.

In the course of finding that effective product to solve your skin woes, you’d usually gravitate to pick one that’s expensive because it makes you think that it “must” work.

However, acne has several causes, and whatever triggers it varies from one person to another.

Some may have acne breakouts because of food intake, stress, genetics, or simply because of any reaction to whatever that comes in contact with the skin.

That’s why you should pay attention to whatever products you apply.

Some may seem harmless, but they may be the culprit to your struggles: A perfect example is your daily shampoo and conditioner.

A lot of people may say it’s just shampoo and conditioner.

But, if you would consult dermatologists, one of the questions they’d always ask is if you have changed your shampoo or conditioner recently.

It’s because shampoo and conditioner contain oils and other ingredients that may cause your pores to clog. In effect, you break out.

Best Overall

Amazon best-selling product B07BHCB9Y2

Our rating

Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

  • High-performance formulas
  • Completely safe for acne-prone skin
  • Designed to fortify damaged hair

Amazon best-selling product B07X1WBY7T

Our rating

Sebastian Professional Penetraitt

  • Deep Repair and Strengthening Masque
  • Treats and prevents acne
  • Doesn’t have unnecessary chemicals
Best Value

Amazon best-selling product B0009OMNKM

Our rating

Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two, Clarifying

  • Removes Buildup
  • For All Hair Types,
  • Paraben-free

What to Look for When Choosing Your Shampoo and Conditioner

Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is usually about trial and error. One person may not have any reactions to what he or she is using, but another person may breakout when using the exact product.

Shampoo and conditioner have a lot of unnecessary ingredients added to fill up the bottle or to make it bubble up even more when you use it to make it more affordable. True, essential oils are necessary to keep your mane moisturized and shiny, but the same oils can cause your skin to break out.

Some of the most commonly used ingredients that you should avoid are:

  • Isopropyl myristate
  • Oils except for sunflower oil, safflower oil, and tea tree oil
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium chloride

These ingredients are mostly at the top of the ingredients list. However, most of us don’t even know that these cause skin irritation to those with sensitive skin.

In short, it is safer to choose a shampoo and conditioner that are labeled:

  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Phthalates-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Dye-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-comedogenic

Indeed, it is not easy to find a product that can comply with the points mentioned. However, it is good to be aware of what are the components of the products so that it’s easier for you to spot what may have caused you to have irritation.

Top Shampoo and Conditioner for Acne-Prone Skin

1. Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

Product Overview

A lot of people love this shampoo and conditioner because it has argan oil in it, and at the same time, it is safe for acne-prone skin.

It can help thicken your hair without worrying about breakouts.

  • Doesn’t use SLS, parabens or other chemicals
  • Contains lots of natural oils
  • Has biotin and other beneficial vitamins
  • Can help with hair health

The oils in this conditioner are hydrating enough, but it won’t make your hair too oily, that it would cause you to break out in your scalp or forehead.

The best part is that it does not contain harmful chemicals, SLS, and parabens.


  • Keeps the acne away
  • Doesn’t get your hair too oily
  • Can help thicken your hair

The Cons

  • None

2. Sebastian Professional Penetraitt

Product Overview

Dermatologists recommend this shampoo not only because of its active ingredient but also because it is free of unnecessary chemicals that may cause pores to clog or irritate the skin.

  • Doesn’t use harmful chemicals
  • Doesn’t irritate your skin
  • Helps with inflammation and dandruff

This product shields hair from the damaging effects of chemicals and heat, while also providing intensive repair to promote stronger, silkier, and softer-looking hair.


  • It’s an actual acne treatment
  • Helps with other problems
  • Doesn’t irritate or inflame your skin

The Cons

  • Needs a nice conditioner

3. Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two, Clarifying

Product Overview

This shampoo is paraben-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, silicone-free, and made from natural ingredients.

A clarifying shampoo that provides a deep cleanse, effectively eliminating any dull buildup from the hair.

  • Sulfate and silicone free formula
  • Helps with natural oily scalps
  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties

As a component of a shampoo, it helps to clarify your scalp from oils that may cause buildup.

What’s good about it is that it cleanses the hair but doesn’t strip your hair of the natural oils that are required to keep your hair moisturized.


  • Doesn’t strip your natural oil
  • Deeply cleansing abilities
  • Keeps your hair moisturized and nice

The Cons

  • None

4. Maple Holistics Biotin Shampoo

Product Overview

If you are searching for a mild shampoo that will help you grow your thinning hair, then this is the answer to your problem.

It is a treatment shampoo that can thicken the hair by stimulating the hair follicles and removes dandruff.

  • Mild formula
  • Perfect for daily usage
  • Hypoallergenic and paraben free
  • Safe for sensitive scalp skin

It is paraben-free, sulfate-free, and hypoallergenic. It’s safe for use by those with sensitive skin, and so you know it won’t have residue that will cause you to breakout.


  • Repairs and protects damaged hair follicles
  • Stimulates hair follicles growth
  • Thickens and strengthens your hair

The Cons

  • Doesn’t help with severe acne

5. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo

Product Overview

This shampoo is best for those with kinky, curly, and wavy hair, but with sensitive skin. Do note that this shampoo contains coconut oil and hibiscus flower extract.

As long as your skin doesn’t react to these two, then you can have healthy, shiny, frizz-free, and protected hair.

  • Coconut oil usage
  • Hibiscus flower extracts
  • Silicone, sulfate and paraben free formula
  • Gentle cleansing process

You can feel assured that it’s gentle enough since it is silicone-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalates-free, propylene glycol-free, mineral oil-free, and petrolatum-free.


  • Deeply cleanses and hydrates
  • Removes frizziness and damage
  • Makes your hair healthier and shinier

The Cons

  • Doesn’t help with severe acne

6. Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoo

Product Overview

Removing buildup in the hair is the key to avoiding breakouts. This shampoo’s ingredients are mild enough, but it can effectively clarify the scalp using a blend of herbal extracts from tea tree, sage, rosemary, and arnica.

The best part is that it is free from sulfates, sodium chloride, parabens, and artificial fragrances.

  • Tea tree oil usage
  • Sage and rosemary extracts
  • Mild enough for daily usage
  • Free of sulfates and parabens

Since it is free from unnecessary ingredients, then you know that what is left is all the good stuff to treat your hair.


  • Promotes a healthy-looking hair
  • Removes all the impurities
  • Packs your hair with needed nutrients

The Cons

  • Has sulfates

7. Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo

Product Overview

Dry scalp and dandruff can cause your scalp to have breakouts. It becomes bothersome when you feel pain while combing your hair because of the bumps on your head.

You can avoid this with the Avalon Organics Tea Tree Shampoo.

  • Removes scales and flakes
  • Deeply hydration abilities
  • Organic tea tree oil
  • Free of harmful ingredients

It’s free from harmful ingredients such as parabens, preservatives, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances.

However, it is still equally competent in clearing your scalp of dandruff and dry skin to prevent future breakouts.


  • Moisturizes and nourishes your hair
  • Works best with dried out scalps
  • Removes dandruff and dead skin cells

The Cons

  • Doesn’t help with severe acne

8. WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Product Overview

This shampoo comes in a set with a conditioner. It is loved by many because of its main ingredient.

The apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial properties and is known to be acidic and keratolytic, which can help clear out the pores.

  • Uses apple cider vinegar
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Works great for sensitive skin
  • Deep cleansing abilities

Even if it may seem too harsh to apply anything acidic to the hair and scalp, the shampoo itself is hypoallergenic, which is a huge plus to those with sensitive skin.


  • Moisturizes and cleanses your skin
  • Leaves your hair nice and soft
  • Packs hair follicles with vitamins and moisture

The Cons

  • Works bad with oily hairs

9. Tree to Tub Organic Soapberry Shampoo

Product Overview

This soapberry shampoo stays true to its brand. It’s like a shampoo taken fresh from nature, so that’s how raw it gets.

This shampoo contains anti-bacterial and moisturizing ingredients such as organic soapberry, argan oil, aloe vera, chamomile, and olive leaves.

  • pH balanced formula
  • Organic soapberry usage
  • Argan oil and olive leaves for extra moisture
  • Infused with aloe vera and chamomile

These contribute to the formulation’s pH at 5.5, which is the right acidic level for our hair.

Lastly, it is guaranteed safe because it is free from sulfates, parabens, silicone, perfume, dyes, and DEA/MEA.


  • Provides deep moisture and hydration
  • Doesn’t use any chemicals 
  • Strengthens and restores your hair

The Cons

  • Can get your hair too oily

10. Maple Holistics Degrease

Product Overview

Degrease is a shampoo for those with oily hair and scalp. Greasy hair will cause breakouts on the scalp and even on the hairline or other nearby skin.

It is best to keep the oil levels of your scalp at bay but not stripping it of essential oils.

  • Jojoba oils for extra moisture
  • Peach kernel oil for vitamins and minerals
  • Works nice with oily scalps
  • Doesn’t clog your pores with chemicals 

This shampoo has jojoba and peach kernel oil to hydrate your scalp, so it doesn’t produce too much oil to prevent your pores from getting clogged.


  • Clears your pores and leaves no acne
  • Leaves your hair silky smooth
  • Leaves a nice, pleasant smell

The Cons

  • Makes your hair frizz

11. Pharmaceuticals Specialties Free & Clear Hair Shampoo

Product Overview

If you’re looking for a dermatologically tested shampoo that is safe for use for people who are suffering from eczema, dermatitis, acne, and other skin and scalp conditions, then try this product. It also has a conditioner to use after the shampoo.

  • No harsh chemicals used
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Works with acne, dermatitis and other scalp conditions
  • A nice conditioner

Although the packaging looks like it’s a medicated shampoo, it is not. However, it is proven to remove buildup and residue so that the pores are kept clear. It’s also free from harsh chemicals and is hypoallergenic.


  • Moisturizes and hydrates your scalp and hair
  • Protects and nourishes the scalp
  • Treats skin and scalp problems

The Cons

  • An unpleasant fragrance

12. WOW Hair Conditioner

Product Overview

This conditioner comes in a set with the WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo. It is best used together for maximum effect.

This conditioner’s formula has virgin coconut oil and avocado oil. These oils aid in inflammation and have soothing properties.

If used with the shampoo, this will moisturize your scalp. Furthermore, it contains other ingredients like keratin, vitamins E and B5, and saw palmetto extract that helps recover dull hair and keep it strong and healthy.

  • Uses keratin and saw palmetto
  • Infused with coconut and avocado oils
  • Has vitamins E and B5
  • Maximum effect possible


  • Recovers your hair
  • Stimulates the scalp and keeps it refreshed
  • Keeps your scalp healthy and acne-free

The Cons

  • Overwhelming perfume

13. Pharmaceutical Specialties Free & Clear Hair Conditioner

Product Overview

If you want the best results, you will have to use this conditioner with its shampoo. Like the shampoo, this conditioner is best for people with sensitive skin.

The shampoo works to remove flaking caused by dandruff, and the conditioner works to maintain the right amount of hydration.

  • Deep nourishing effect
  • Safe for daily usage
  • Works nice with dandruff and flaking
  • Caring, natural ingredients

It’s popular among dermatologists because it is free of dyes, fragrance, parabens, formaldehyde, and other chemicals, and it is also hypoallergenic.


  • Deeply moisturizes your scalp
  • Provides natural smoothness
  • Doesn’t use any synthetic ingredients

The Cons

  • Has sulfates

14. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner

Product Overview

Aside from castor oil, this conditioner has shea butter, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar.

All of these ingredients help in keeping the hair moisturized but not make your hair look weighed down.

  • Contains castor oil
  • Infused with apple cider vinegar
  • Has shea butter for extra nutrients
  • Uses peppermint for freshness

What this conditioner does best is that it restores your hair and scalp without sulfates.

It means that your hair and scalp stay hydrated, so it doesn’t produce too much oil that could cause breakouts.


  • Perfectly moisturizes and nourishes your skin
  • Works nice with itchy, dry scalps
  • Deeply hydrates your hair follicles

The Cons

  • Uses silicones

15. Derma-E Scalp Relief Conditioner

Product Overview

You will need this conditioner if you have too much dandruff, dry, and irritated scalp.

Having dry, and flaky scalp can cause breakouts when there is a buildup of oil and residue in the scalp and dirt gets trapped in the pores.

  • Infused with tea tree oil and menthol
  • Has salicylic acid
  • Works great with clogged pores
  • Uses a nice blend of plant extracts

This conditioner contains tea tree oil, menthol, and salicylic acid to remove flakes and stubborn residue.

It also has a blend of herbal extracts to revitalize the scalp, so it stays healthy.


  • Removes flakes and stubborn residue
  • Works great with any hair type
  • Protects against sun and heat damage

The Cons

  • Can strip the natural oils

16. Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Oil Conditioner

Product Overview

This conditioner is best when used with the pure tea tree oil shampoo.

The tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties help treat the itchy and dry scalp with its cooling sensation.

  • Tea tree oil usage
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
  • Works great with itchy, dry scalp
  • Doesn’t oil too much your scalp

What’s good about this conditioner is that it keeps the hair moisturized without being too oily.

You don’t need to fear of acne breakouts. This product complements the shampoo to balance things out.


  • Keeps your scalp hydrated
  • Removes itchiness and dryness
  • Works great with acne and dandruff

The Cons

  • Can be ineffective for dry scalps

17. Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner

Product Overview

First of all, we love this conditioner because it is free from SLS, parabens, and silicone.

From this alone, you can tell that it doesn’t have the main ingredients that are considered irritants found in other conditioners.

  • Free of silicones and parabens
  • Has tea tree oil and rosemary oil
  • Uses peppermint and eucalyptus
  • Has a nice, pleasant scent

Second, it has tea tree oil, rosemary, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

These herbal ingredients are also found in many skin care products to treat acne, and so you don’t have to worry about breakouts.


  • Removes itchiness and dryness
  • Cleanse the scales and flakes out
  • Treats acne and dandruff

The Cons

  • The smell might be unpleasant for some persons

18. L’oreal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Sulfate-Free Conditioner

Product Overview

Sulfates can help remove residue to avoid breakouts. However, a lot of the sulfates used in hair products can be too harsh on the scalp and hair that it does more damage than good.

This is why we pick this sulfate-free conditioner because aside from it being able to maintain smooth and silky hair and keeping the hair smell good, it doesn’t make the hair greasy.

  • Doesn’t get your hair greasy
  • Sulfate and paraben-free conditioner
  • Smells nice and fresh
  • Keeps acne breakouts away

Maintaining moisturized hair without being greasy is every girl’s dream.


  • Hydrates and nourishes your scalp
  • Provides needed nutrients
  • Maintains silky smooth hair

The Cons

  • Has no vitamins 

19. Tree to Tub Moisturizing Argan Oil Conditioner

Product Overview

Argan oil is an ingredient used in a lot of hair products because of its moisturizing power. It is considered safe for use for people with sensitive skin.

We liked this conditioner because it doesn’t weigh down the hair and the hair’s pH is still at 5.5 even though it’s highly moisturizing.

  • Uses argan oil as main ingredient
  • pH balanced formula
  • Doesn’t use any harsh chemicals
  • Works nice with sensitive skin

Another thing to love about this brand is that there are no sulfates, parabens, SLS, silicones, and other harsh chemicals. So if you have sensitive skin, then this will be good for you.


  • Hydrates and moisturizes your scalp
  • Provides all the needed nutrients
  • Makes your hair silky smooth

The Cons

  • Doesn’t promote hair growth

20. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Rose Water and Chamomile Blend Conditioner

Product Overview

The brand is known for its formulations, which are suited for those with sensitive skin.

There are a lot of things to love about this conditioner. The fact that it is free from sulfates, dyes, and parabens is just icing on top.

  • Sulfate and silicone-free formula
  • Helps with natural oily scalps
  • Tea tree oil
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties

It has oats at the top of its ingredient list, so you know that it can soothe any scalp irritations.

The rose water and chamomile makes the hair smooth, soft, and smell good.


  • Keeps the acne away
  • Doesn’t get your hair too oily
  • Can help thicken your hair

The Cons

  • Doesn’t help with oily scalps

Tips for Using Acne-Friendly Hair Products Effectively

Patch Test: Always perform a patch test before using a new product to ensure it doesn’t cause irritation or breakouts.

Alternate Products: Consider alternating between different shampoos and conditioners to prevent product buildup and potential acne triggers.

Rinse Thoroughly: Ensure thorough rinsing of hair products to prevent residue from lingering on the scalp.

Limit Heat Styling: Excessive heat styling can exacerbate scalp acne, so minimize the use of hot tools whenever possible.

Consult a Dermatologist: If scalp acne persists despite using acne-friendly hair products, consult a dermatologist for personalized recommendations and treatment options.


Concerning shampoo and conditioner, you would know that they are the culprits of your breakouts when you suddenly have breakouts without applying new skincare products or changing your diet or lifestyle.

Skincare products are great, but prevention is better than cure. Knowing what triggers you to have breakouts is a lot easier than having to apply whatever products on your skin and wait for a long time for it to heal.

Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner that suits you will always be a trial and error kind of thing.

Don’t just listen to what others say about what’s good and what’s not, because what works for others may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for them.

Be aware of the ingredients of the shampoo and the conditioner. The shorter the list, the better. This will also help you track which ingredients may cause your skin irritation or cause it to react.

Frequently asked questions

Can using the wrong shampoo or conditioner cause scalp acne?

Yes, using products containing comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients can contribute to scalp acne. Ingredients like heavy oils, silicones, and fragrances may exacerbate breakouts.

What ingredients should I avoid in shampoos and conditioners if I have acne-prone skin?

Avoid products containing heavy oils like coconut oil, mineral oil, and cocoa butter. Look out for silicones, sulfates, and fragrances as well, as these can potentially irritate the scalp and cause breakouts.

How do I know if a shampoo or conditioner is suitable for acne-prone skin?

Look for products labeled as non-comedogenic, oil-free, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. Additionally, opt for formulas that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or zinc pyrithione.

Can I use regular shampoo and conditioner if I have acne-prone skin?

While some individuals with acne-prone skin may tolerate regular hair products, it’s generally safer to opt for products specifically formulated for acne-prone skin or labeled as non-comedogenic to minimize the risk of breakouts.

How often should I wash my hair if I have acne-prone skin?

It depends on your hair type and scalp condition. Washing your hair every other day or every two days is typically sufficient for most people. However, if you have excessively oily hair or scalp, you may need to wash more frequently.

Can I use acne treatments on my scalp along with acne-friendly hair products?

It’s best to consult with a dermatologist before using acne treatments on your scalp, as some ingredients may be too harsh or drying for the scalp skin. They can provide guidance on safe and effective treatments for scalp acne.

Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help manage scalp acne?

Yes, maintaining good scalp hygiene, avoiding tight hairstyles that pull on the scalp, and minimizing the use of hair products can help prevent scalp acne. Additionally, eating a balanced diet and managing stress levels can contribute to overall skin health, including the scalp.

Best Choice

Amazon best-selling product B091K3LW4Y

Our rating

Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

  • Designed to fortify damaged hair
  • with keratin and fatty acids
  • High-performance formulas
aida turner


Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist

I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!