Antibacterial shampoos help control scalp bacteria. This helps them treat scalp conditions like folliculitis, impetigo, and dandruff.
Your head is home to millions of minuscule microbes. While most are harmless — or even beneficial — some can wreak havoc on hair health. Certain strains of bacteria (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus and Propionibacterium acnes) can trigger issues like:
Antibacterial shampoos can help curb these concerns.
Here’s a rundown of the benefits of using antibacterial shampoos, the 10 best products, and how to use them. We also have a rundown of the potential risks and popular alternatives.
The most common active agents in antibacterial shampoos are:
- zinc pyrithione
- selenium sulfide
These ingredients can help treat multiple bacteria-related conditions on the scalp. Here’s the DL.
- inflamed skin
- brown or yellow scabs
- pimples or whiteheads
- pus-filled or crusty sores
- itching, burning, or tender skin
Antibacterial shampoo can help curb the bad bacteria and get your scalp back on track.
Dandruff is often caused by a fungal infection on the scalp. However, a bacteria called Malassezia globosa can also play a part. This single-celled microbe feeds on the delicious oils produced by your skin. This can turn your once flake-free scalp into the Itchy & Scratchy Show.
Antibacterial shampoos containing triclosan and zinc pyrithione might help resolve your flaking, itchy scalp. But your doc might also suggest an anti-fungal shampoo or rinse, too.
Impetigo is a mild skin infection that’s caused by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. The infection can pop up anywhere on your bod. Common symptoms include itchy, red sores that can leak pus or clear fluids.
Antibacterial shampoo can help resolve symptoms and may provide relief from itching.
Antibacterial shampoo is generally safe when used correctly. However, there are some potential probs to keep in mind.
For peeps with sensitive scalps, the ingredients in antibacterial shampoos can cause:
Itching is also a common side effect. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the shampoo and see your doc if the symptoms don’t improve.
P.S. Antibacterial shampoo can kill good and bad bacteria. The imbalance of microbes can sometimes cause more problems than it solves. So, unless you have an actual condition that needs to be treated with antibacterial shampoo, stick to your normal haircare routine.
The best antibacterial shampoo for you depends on your particular scalp situation. There are a few different types of antibacterial shampoos to choose from, each with its own unique benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10.
Zap bacteria with lemon essential oil, aloe, and witch hazel, this citrusy scented shampoo. It’s gentle, infuses natural hydration, and soothes and heals your scalp. It also purifies your scalp pores and has soothing anti-inflammatory properties.
This multitasking shampoo helps with scalp issues caused by fungus, ringworm, and bacteria. With ingredients including coconut oil, jojoba oil, and emu oil, it soothes and reduces inflammation while adding moisture to your hair and scalp.
This shampoo is a great option if you’re prone to folliculitis, dermatitis, dandruff, itching, or flaking. It’s formulated with salicylic acid and sodium hypochlorite to shift oil, dead skin cells, and debris, leaving you with healthy-looking hair and scalp.
With a gentle, antibacterial formula, this shampoo uses Brazil nut and keratin oils to hydrate and repair the hair. Plus, it smells amazing.
This calming and gentle clarifying shampoo clears away bacteria and dandruff. It’s formulated with jojoba oil and is sulfate and paraben free.
Say goodbye to bacteria and flaking with this therapeutic peppermint and yucca shampoo. It restores moisture and shine and boosts hydration and shine.
Not only does this shampoo tackle folliculitis, but it promotes hair growth. Ingredients like tea tree, patchouli, and lemongrass) oil also leaves your hair smelling like a dream.
If you’re scalp and skin are itchy and flaky, this double-action shampoo and body wash is for you. It’s formulated with proteins, amino acids, and vitamins with added panthenol for full, luscious hair.
Even if your teenage years are far behind you, this shampoo, with its non-comedogenic formula, can help you avoid breakouts.
Biotin and castor oil reduce the frizzies, while apple cider vinegar helps cleanse and detox your hair. It also reduces itching, flaking, and irritation.
If you’re not into the idea of using harsh shampoo on your delicate scalp, there are some other natural options.
- Tea tree oil: This essential oil has natural antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that have benefits for skin and scalp. You can find it in shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products.
- Apple cider vinegar: ACV is another all-natural product with antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can also help to restore the natural pH balance of your scalp.
- Lavender oil: Like tea tree oil, lavender oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Coconut oil: This superfood has natural antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it’s great for moisturizing the scalp and hair.
You can find over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial shampoos at most pharmacies. In most cases they will help treat mild symptoms and get your scalp healthy again.
However, these products might not work on more intense concerns. You should see a healthcare provider if your symptoms are severe. You should also seek medical attention if your symptoms don’t improve after a couple of weeks.
Your healthcare provider can prescribe stronger medicated shampoos or give you other treatments. In some cases, you may need antibiotics to clear the infection.
Antibacterial shampoo can help treat and prevent scalp infections caused by bacteria. Depending on the active ingredients, it may also help reduce dandruff.
But, it’s usually unnecessary to use these types of shampoos unless you have an active infection or are prone to developing them.
If you use antibacterial shampoo, be on the lookout for side effects like redness, irritation, and burning. If you experience any of these, stop using the shampoo and see your doctor. You should also see your doc if your symptoms don’t improve after using antibacterial shampoo for a couple of weeks.