How do I Choose the Best Salicylic Acid Shampoo?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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Salicylic acid shampoo helps treat a flaking scalp to help eliminate dandruff, but there are many different types on the market. To get the best shampoo, find the right type for your condition, then research the qualities of different types of shampoos and choose features and qualities you would want in a regular shampoo. Features to look for include salicylic acid percentage, fragrance, and effect on your hair. After selecting some shampoo options, decide by price to get the best value for your money.

Read the label to find out how much salicylic acid is in the product. The percentage of salicylic acid present in the shampoo is important in gauging how effective it might be when you use it. When choosing a salicylic acid shampoo under the direction of a doctor, it is most important to get the salicylic acid levels your doctor told you to get. Buying salicylic acid shampoo with levels greater than recommended can cause irritation, and getting weaker levels make render the treatment ineffective. If you are confused about the salicylic acid levels in your shampoo, ask your doctor to help you choose.


While lower levels of salicylic acid in shampoo can be used to treat an itchy scalp or mild dandruff, high levels are used for severe psoriasis. Generally, shampoos and gels with a high concentration of salicylic acid are given by prescription only. Salicylic acid treatments can contain up to 60 percent salicylic acid for severe cases requiring prescription medication and can be as low as 0.5 percent in over-the-counter preparations made for sensitive skin. Most shampoos contain two or three percent salicylic acid.

Individuals with sensitive skin should take extra precautions when choosing a shampoo. In addition to examining the medicinal contents of your shampoo, read the product ingredients carefully to ensure that it is free of allergens and irritants. Common allergens used in many shampoos include methylparaben, propylparaben, and some fragrances, but allergies can vary among individuals, so focus on ingredients that cause allergies for you and your family.

Choosing the best salicylic acid shampoo involves some trial and error. If a shampoo does not agree with you, it is best to return it and buy another type of shampoo to find out which will work for you. It is especially important to change shampoos if your scalp is getting extremely irritated or if the levels are too low. If prescription shampoo does not work out for you, talk to the doctor about other options before switching to a new shampoo.

When choosing a salicylic acid shampoo, value should also play a factor. Value in a salicylic acid shampoo can mean different things to different people, but it essentially involves finding the best price on shampoo without sacrificing any of the qualities you value in a shampoo. Choose several salicylic acid shampoo options that meet your needs for quality, including scent, performance, and salicylic acid content, and go with the lowest priced option that fits your needs.


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Post 2

I have found that salicylic acid shampoo that contains 3 percent salicylic acid works much better than formulas that contain less. My advice is to not waste money on one that has a weaker concentration of this active ingredient.

Post 1

If you are only trying to treat a mild problem, such as a flaky scalp, a generic salicylic acid shampoo should work fine. You will also save a little money since brand name shampoos can be expensive.

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