Acne-Prone Skin? Try These 10 Non-Comedogenic Shampoos!

Acne-Prone Skin? Try These 10 Gentle Non-Comedogenic Shampoos!

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Have you noticed that sometimes, you still get breakouts no matter how hard you try to care for your skin? And not just on your face. Your scalp and neck too.

This might be caused by the shampoo that you’re using.

It sounds crazy that a product meant for cleaning could be causing breakouts, but it happens. Sometimes shampoo can be harsh on the scalp and cause sensitive and acne-prone skin to break out.

Woman with long hair washing her hair with shampoo

But luckily, there is a solution! Non-comedogenic shampoos have a gentle and mild formulation that can still effectively clean your hair and scalp but won’t cause irritations and breakouts.

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not! More and more people with acne-prone skin are turning to non-comedogenic shampoos to keep their scalp clean but breakout-free.

If you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, this type of shampoo is for you. And to help you find the best one, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best non-comedogenic shampoos for acne-prone skin.

Keep reading to find a new shampoo that’s tough on dirt but gentle on your skin.

Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
Editor's Choice
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Reduces scalp inflammation
  • Contains coal tar extract
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo
Premium Pick
  • Contains an amino-acid complex to effectively but gently cleanse
  • Created with MIT technology
  • Healthier hair in just one wash
OGX Refreshing Scalp + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
Budget Pick
  • Contains tea tree oil, peppermint, and witch hazel
  • Refreshing deep cleanse
  • Sulfate-free and paraben-free

What Is a Non-Comedogenic Shampoo?

When you have acne-prone or oily skin, your scalp tends to excrete a lot of oil and blocks the hair follicles, often resulting in dry, brittle, or dull locks and breakouts on your scalp.

This is why using a non-comedogenic shampoo is important if you have an oily scalp and acne-prone skin. This type of shampoo can cleanse the hair without clogging pores.

By definition, non-comedogenic means that a product contains no ingredients that can potentially block or clog the pores.

For shampoos, this essentially means a shampoo that does not cause acne. It still effectively cleans and hydrates the hair, but it does so without blocking hair follicles.

Plus, many non-comedogenic shampoos don’t just not clog pores; they can actively unclog them too while removing any buildup on the scalp. 

And the best part is that there are several non-comedogenic hair products you can use in tandem with your shampoo, including

  • non-comedogenic conditioner,
  • non-comedogenic leave-in conditioner, and
  • non-comedogenic hairspray.

Benefits of a Non-Comedogenic Shampoo

Now that you know what non-comedogenic shampoo is, you may wonder why you should invest in this gentle hair cleanser.

Here are the main benefits of non-comedogenic shampoos:

Prevents breakouts 

The primary benefit of non-comedogenic shampoo is to prevent breakouts on the scalp. Thanks to their milder formulation, these products won’t clog the scalp and block hair follicles resulting in less scalp acne.

Cleans hair 

Despite being more gentle than other shampoos, non-comedogenic variants are just as effective when it comes to cleaning the hair and removing dirt from the strands.

Battles existing breakouts 

Alongside preventing new breakouts, most non-comedogenic shampoos also contain ingredients that combat existing breakouts and help promote hair health.

Removes product buildup and gently exfoliates 

Many non-comedogenic shampoos are excellent at removing product buildup and dirt from the scalp. Most also contain antioxidants and anti-fungal ingredients that help slough off dead skin cells.

Maintains hair’s natural pH level 

Non-comedogenic shampoos are formulated to help maintain the scalp’s pH level to ensure cleaning without drying the scalp or your tresses.

How to Tell If Your Shampoo is Non-Comedogenic

A product is non-comedogenic if the product won’t clog pores. That means that products sold as non-comedogenic won’t cause buildup and, eventually, breakouts.

However, it’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the term “non-comedogenic.” 

This means there is no standard definition and governing rules to determine that it is indeed non-comedogenic as advertised. In fact, products labeled as non-comedogenic don’t have to undergo stringent testing to assess the claims.

The best way to tell if a shampoo is non-comedogenic is to look at the product’s ingredients and avoid products with ingredients that can potentially cause acne.

As a rule of thumb, the best non-comedogenic shampoos should not contain the following: 

  • Sulfates 
  • Silicones
  • Cocoa butter
  • Shea butter
  • Petroleum-based ingredients (like paraffin wax)
  • Artificial fragrances 
  • Alcohol 

The above ingredients can cause irritation and dryness that can cause breakouts and acne.

The list of comedogenes is quite long and extensive. The ones we listed are the most common to avoid in shampoo, but you can also check out the full list here.

On the flip side, the ingredients that can help and that you should look for include salicylic acid or zinc pyrithione, which is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.

10 Best Non-Comedogenic Shampoos

Now that you know what non-comedogenic shampoos are for and what ingredients to avoid, you definitely want to try these out. They are the best shampoos for acne-prone skin.

Check out our top 10 best non-comedogenic shampoos list:

Neutrogena T-Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Thoroughly cleanse your hair with an effective shampoo that is dermatologist-recommended and gentle on your scalp.

Key benefits: Immediate relief for itchy scalp; safe for daily use; combats dandruff


  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Reduces scalp inflammation
  • Contains coal tar extract 

Experience lasting relief from a dry and itchy scalp with this effective shampoo that cleans your hair while keeping breakouts at bay.


This highly effective therapeutic shampoo is a great all-around pick for non-comedogenic hair cleansers. The formulation thoroughly cleans your tresses but is gentle enough for sensitive skin and prevents breakouts.

Plus, Neutrogena is a tried-and-tested reputable skincare brand that utilizes non-comedogenic ingredients that are beneficial to your skin.

This shampoo doesn’t clog the pores and utilizes salicylic acid to help address and prevent acne and clear clogged pores. It’s also instrumental in combating dandruff and preventing itchy scalps.

While you may notice a slight medicinal smell, that’s a small trade-off for all the benefits. If you have sensitive skin, this effective, fragrance and preservative-free shampoo is perfect for you.

CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo

A gentle, high-performing shampoo that combats many scalp issues while ensuring clean and healthy hair.

Key benefits: Clinically tested; protects the scalp’s natural oils and retains moisture; softens skin and unclogs pores


  • Formulated by physicians
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Combats dandruff and itching

A gentle but highly effective shampoo that’s perfect for sensitive skin and an acne-prone scalp.


It’s very common for people with acne-prone skin to have dandruff issues too because of their sensitive and irritable skin. 

If you suffer from both of these, CLn Healthy Scalp Shampoo is a good bet. Its non-comedogenic formula successfully helps fight dermatitis and folliculitis, which are known to cause dandruff.

This shampoo works on all hair types and helps remove excess oil buildup while clearing dead skin cells, unclogging blocked pores, fighting dandruff, and improving skin health.

It’s fragrance-free and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, making it gentle for sensitive skin and even mild enough to use on facial hair too. 

Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge Shampoo

Recharge your dry hair with high-performance, lightweight hydration that cleans your hair without damaging your scalp.

Key benefits: Lasting hydration; leaves hair silky smooth for days; protects against split ends


  • Contains goji berry beads
  • Contains vitamins B3 and B6
  • Smells sweet

This supercharged shampoo offers effective cleaning with a lightweight formulation.


The Hydra Recharge Shampoo by Garnier is a refreshing and lightweight formula that cleans the hair through the power of superfruits.

It’s infused with encapsulated beads of superfruits goji berry, kiwi, and passionfruit to replenish moisture without adding heaviness.

This revitalizing special formulation addresses dry and brittle hair by providing intense hair hydration that leaves strands feeling soft and silky for two days.

Plus, it has an natural light and sweet-smelling citrus scent.

OGX Refreshing Scalp + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo

Deeply nourish your strands with a fresh combination of tea tree and mint for a fresh, invigorating wash.

Key benefits: Antibacterial and anti-fungal; moisturizes and nourishes; stimulates hair growth


  • Contains tea tree oil, peppermint, and witch hazel
  • Refreshing deep cleanse
  • Sulfate-free and paraben-free

This refreshing shampoo is not only gentle on the scalp but gentle on the pocket too.


This affordable shampoo from OGX is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a gentle but effective shampoo on a budget. It’s non-comedogenic, safe for daily use, and works on all hair types.

Its combination of tea tree oil, witch hazel, and peppermint help to combat dandruff and prevent itching while hydrating your locks. 

It also has a pleasant mild scent that leaves users feeling refreshed as they step out of the shower.

OGX is a reliable brand that offers a wide array of hair products for acne-prone skin, like non-comedogenic shampoos and conditioners, as well as treatments. 

And with such a friendly price tag, you can definitely afford the set.

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

This medical shampoo is the perfect choice to combat scalp problems and keep strands clean and soft.

Key benefits: Actively treats damaged scalp; maintains hair’s pH balance; relaxing and pleasant fragrance


  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Anti-fungal
  • Good for colored or treated hair

Get strong, manageable locks with regular use of this medicated anti-dandruff shampoo.


Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is a good shampoo for those looking to relieve scalp itching, dryness, and dandruff with a clinically proven product.

Its active ingredient, ketoconazole, is a popular product in skincare treatments and works to kill dandruff. The shampoo also contains ingredients that soothe irritated skin and provide moisture and hydration.

This shampoo is safe for all hair types, including gray and colored locks. It’s a great non-comedogenic hair product for curly hair too as it cleanses without drying out curls.

Because it only needs to be used twice a week with regular shampoos in between, it’s cost-effective, and one bottle can last longer.

Plus, it provides a nice thick and foamy lather that rinses off, leaving hair manageable, soft, and shiny.

SEEN Skin-Caring Shampoo

Get dermatologist-approved benefits from this gentle shampoo, which cleans the hair while protecting the scalp.

Key benefits: Reduces frizz and breakage; color-safe; promotes hair health


  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Developed by a dermatologist
  • Good for sensitive skin

Enjoy a luxurious lather and effective cleaning with this doctor-recommended shampoo.


This non-comedogenic shampoo was developed by Dr. Iris Rubin, a Harvard-trained dermatologist, and is proven to unclog pores and give you healthier, stronger strands.

It’s also proven to reduce and minimize frizz and hair breakage with bisabolol and hemisqualane, a natural alternative to silicone.

Plus, it’s cruelty-free, color-safe, vegan, and doesn’t contain sulfates, dyes, phthalates, preservatives, and other artificial oils that can clog pores and cause breakouts.

Its natural formulation and effective cleansing power make it a fantastic shampoo for acne-prone scalps.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo

A hydrating shampoo that gently cleanses and protects the scalp and provides visibly healthier and shinier hair.

Key benefits: Delivers high shine; strengthens hair; protects against environmental stressors


  • Contains an amino-acid complex to effectively but gently cleanse
  • Created with MIT technology
  • Healthier hair in just one wash

Clean your hair and protect your scalp with a shampoo backed by science and technology.


This non-comedogenic shampoo, created with MIT technology, was once voted a beauty best for its ability to protect the scalp and produce visibly thicker, cleaner, and healthier hair after the first use.

It’s perfect for anyone with unhealthy, dull, dry hair as it delivers up to 68% more shine while strengthening your strands.

Its special amino-acid formulation gently cleanses the hair without stripping the locks of the hair’s natural oils and protects hair against environmental stressors, making it suitable for an acne-prone scalp.

Lastly, this gentle shampoo prevents dandruff and delivers hydration.

Vanicream Medicated Dandruff Shampoo with Pyrithione Zinc

This safe OTC pyrithione zinc shampoo is non-comedogenic, battles dandruff and dryness, and is safe for sensitive skin.

Key benefits: Sulfate-free formula; good for all skin types; fights dryness and acne


  • Fragrance-free
  • Medicated for sensitive skin
  • Dermatologist-tested and recommended

Combat dandruff and dryness with this shampoo, specifically medicated for sensitive skin.


This is a good choice if you want a powerful shampoo to combat dandruff and dryness. Plus, it isn’t harsh and won’t potentially cause breakouts.

This shampoo is created by dermatologists and contains 2% pyrithione zinc, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, helping to effectively clean the scalp while soothing it at the same time.

It’s also fragrance-free, so there’s no overpowering smell or less potential for irritation.

Overall, it’s an excellent choice for acne-prone scalp and sensitive skin.

Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Revives damaged hair and provides intense hydration and shine.

Key benefits: Invigorates locks with refreshing tea tree; soothes while cleansing; provides luster and shine


  • Vegan and paraben-free
  • Full of natural ingredients
  • Helps repair oily and acne-prone scalp

An invigorating and gentle cleanser that revives lifeless strands and leaves them refreshed and clean.


Tea Tree Special Shampoo is a non-comedogenic shampoo with anti-fungal and antioxidant properties to combat breakouts, dry scalp, and dandruff.

Plus, its natural ingredients let it clear the scalp of residue, build-up, and other debris that can block the hair follicles while strengthening the strands and nourishing the hair.

It’s great for all hair types and combines tea tree oil and peppermint to soothe the skin on your scalp, while natural lavender helps leave your hair smelling sweet and fresh.

The lavender also works to combat hair breakage and stimulate and promote new hair growth. Regularly using this gentle but effective shampoo will result in thicker and healthier hair.

Clear 2 Perfection Nourishing Shampoo

Clean your hair with a mild but effective exfoliating shampoo.

Key benefits: Restores hair radiance and bounce; effectively cleans tresses; also effective against neck and back breakouts


  • Enzyme-rich formula
  • Expertly formulated
  • Unique botanical blend

The C2P haircare products help clean the hair and protect your scalp and skin too.


This shampoo is part of the C2P hair care system that combines science and skincare to create products that clean the hair while caring for the skin.

Combined with the C2P conditioner, this hair care regimen works double time to prevent acne not just on the scalp but also on the neck, forehead, and back. 

Its breakout-fighting formulation makes it one of the best shampoos and conditioners for back acne.

An enzyme-rich formulation cleans the pores, nourishes the hair, and reduces inflammation and irritation, while mango, carrot, and pumpkin extracts deliver antioxidant benefits that help unclog pores and strengthen strands.

Regularly using this shampoo results in stronger, healthier, and happier locks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to use non-comedogenic shampoos and conditioners together?

Not necessarily, but using an acne-safe shampoo and conditioner together is always better.

After all, you are already caring for your scalp with a mild shampoo, you don’t want to contribute to product build-up by using a conditioner that may contain harsh chemicals or oils.

Using the right shampoo and conditioner together gives your hair and scalp the best chance to stay healthy and breakout-free.

Should I use my non-comedogenic shampoo every day?

This depends on your particular needs. The best way to treat your breakouts if you have them is to wash your hair daily, or at the very least, every time your hair becomes greasy or sweaty, like after exercise.

Since non-comedogenic shampoos are gentle, they typically won’t dry out your scalp or cause damage to your strands.

But see how your hair reacts too. If your strands get too dry, you can try shampooing every other day instead.

Non-Comedogenic Shampoo Cares for Both Your Hair and Your Scalp

Breakouts are bad no matter where they happen on the body. 

While we are used to stockpiling products that can combat acne on our faces, we don’t often remember to buy products for other body parts.

woman washing hair with shampoo in a shower with blue tiles

It’s also important to care for the skin on our scalp, neck, back, and more.

To help keep your scalp acne-free, invest in a good but gentle non-comedogenic shampoo that can clean your hair but keep acne at bay.

If you use acne-safe shampoo and conditioner, your scalp will be healthier and happier while your mane stays shiny and smooth.

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