Shape Magazine posted "Eczema Shampoo Options That Keep Your Skin Happy and Healthy" The article featuring Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel's expert commentary on eczema and includes recommendations on the type of shampoos to use if eczema affects your scalp.
Here, dermatologists break down how to select the best shampoo for eczema-prone skin.
Some people pick the shampoo they think will provide the best volumizing benefits, others prioritize moisturizing qualities. For people with eczema, simply finding a formula that won't spark an intensely itchy scalp can supersede all else.
They're up against a pretty frustrating issue. "Eczema is a genetic skin condition that results in the inability to retain moisture," says Purvisha Patel, M.D., dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. "This results in the skin getting dry and cracked." Those pesky cracks expose nerves in the skin to air, which can create the sensation of itchy paper cuts, and scratching the itch can cause additional inflammation, redness, and peeling, says Dr. Patel.
"Because [eczema] is a genetic condition — often associated with asthma and allergies — this phenomenon can occur anywhere on the skin," says Dr. Patel. That means that in addition to affecting your scalp, unsuitable shampoos "can lead to irritation in the skin as they run off from the hair onto your body," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
People who are prone to eczema are better off avoiding shampoo containing essential oils and/or fragrances, which can be more irritating to your skin if it has those aforementioned cracks, according to Dr. Patel. "I am most cautious with [recommending] shampoos that contain fragrances as well as clarifying products which tend to contain more harsh surfactants than other shampoos," adds Dr. Zeichner. (The latter are often labeled "clarifying shampoo" right on the bottle.) Instead, "ultra-gentle, fragrance-free shampoos," are ideal, says Dr. Zeichner. Another helpful indicator you're choosing a suitable shampoo? "Many products also contain the seal of the National Eczema Association, which definitely is not a must, but tells you that the product is appropriate for people with eczema-prone skin," says Dr. Zeichner.
With those criteria in mind, these are some of the best shampoo options for eczema-prone skin. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Eczema, According to Derms)
Vanicream Free & Clear Sensitive Skin Shampoo
Dr. Zeichner counts this gentle shampoo as his top shampoo rec for people with eczema. "Vanicream Free and Clear Shampoo is formulated for the most sensitive skin and is fragrance-, dye-, paraben-, and sulfate-free," he notes. The shampoo is currently one of the bestselling shampoos on Amazon where it's earned a 4.5-star rating.
The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash Purely Sensitive
This fragrance-free shampoo from The Honest Company is formulated to be gentle enough for babies (including those prone to eczema or dry skin), but adults can absolutely get in on the action. The product doubles as a body wash and has received the NEA Seal of Acceptance.
CLn Gentle Shampoo
Another fragrance-free shampoo boasting the NEA seal, this option is made for sensitive or dry scalps. It's formulated to be gentle enough for anyone who is prone to eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, even if they choose to wash their hair daily. (Related: The Best Eczema Cream, According to Dermatologists)
Gladskin Shampoo Bar for Eczema-Prone Skin
Shampoo bars are useful if you're trying to reduce your plastic consumption, and they happen to be gentler than traditional shampoo in general. The Gladskin Shampoo Bar was created specifically for eczema-prone skin — you won't find fragrances or harsh detergents among its paired-down list of ingredients.
Mustela Stelatopia Fragrance Free Baby Foam Shampoo for Eczema Prone Skin
Once again a shampoo formulated for babies is worth a mention alongside eczema shampoo for adults. This foaming shampoo checks all the boxes: it's fragrance-free, has the NEA seal, and contains moisturizing ingredients such as sunflower oil to combat dryness. (Related: The Best Fragrance-Free Shampoo for Sensitive Scalps)
Exederm Shampoo promises a cleanse that's gentle enough for even the most temperamental of scalps. The fragrance-free shampoo doesn't contain ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate (two cleansing agents that can be especially stripping), instead relying on gentler surfactants. It's designed for people with eczema or dermatitis, and has the NEA seal.