How Do I Choose the Best Shampoo for Sensitive Skin?

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  • Written By: T. Alaine
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2019
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The most important part of choosing shampoo for sensitive skin is learning to read labels and recognizing common irritating ingredients such as sulfates and the chemicals known as parabens. Additionally, the best shampoo for sensitive skin will usually not contain added colors or fragrances, which are both common causes of unpleasant skin reactions. Furthermore, since some of the most prevalent side effects of sensitive skin are rash and excessive dryness, the best shampoo for sensitive skin should probably contain soothing ingredients to prevent or heal damage.

Reading labels is essential to selecting the best shampoo for sensitive skin. Even if a product is labeled as hypoallergenic or touted as being specially formulated for sensitive skin, there is really no way to know for sure until you learn to recognize problematic ingredients on labels. Sulfates are perhaps the most common irritants found in shampoos, particularly sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. The problem is that these irritating ingredients can be found listed under many different names. As a general rule, ingredients that contain any derivative of the word “sulfate” should be avoided, but if you encounter an ingredient that is questionable it might be best to do some research before buying the product.


Similarly, ingredients such as parabens, salicylates, phthalates, and petroleum by-products can cause irritation, and should consequently be avoided when shopping for shampoo for sensitive skin. Again, it can be very difficult to identify harmful ingredients on labels because there are far too many different names and variations to memorize. A good way to try to avoid these substances is to shop for natural shampoos. These too can be problematic, however, if your skin is overly sensitive to any of the chemicals used as preservatives to keep the natural ingredients from spoiling.

The plus side of natural products is that they usually do not contain artificial colorings or fragrances, which can be irritating to sensitive skin. Avoiding products that contain these additives is a good step. Natural products such as cocoa or shea butters, honey, or aloe are all great choices for soothing a sensitive scalp that is irritated or dried out from using harsh shampoos.

Unfortunately, choosing the best shampoo for sensitive skin will probably still require some trial and error, even if you follow the selection guidelines. How much an individual enjoys a shampoo has a lot to do with how it makes his or her hair look and feel, which is usually quite subjective and personal. Different colors, cuts, and textures of hair will require different specifications when it comes to choosing a shampoo, but a good place to start might be with a gentle baby shampoo, as these are generally hypoallergenic and suitable for the delicate skin of newborns.


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Post 3

@heavanet- You should avoid natural shampoos with strong herbs and spices, such as lavender and mint. Though they smell nice, these natural ingredients can be irritating to people who have very sensitive scalps.

Post 2

@heavanet- Some of the best shampoos that I have ever used are natural shampoos that are also formulated for babies. Shampoos made with natural ingredients for young, delicate scalps are very gentle, and have ingredients such as natural fruit extracts, milk, and honey that are soothing and moisturizing to the skin.

When I first used this type of shampoo, it barely lathered so I thought that it wouldn't work for me. However, after using it, my scalp and hair has never been in better condition.

Though natural shampoos that are specifically made for babies can be difficult to find, some specialty shops do carry them. Natural product stores are also good places to look. If you don't have any luck in those places, you can always look online, though smelling the shampoos first is a big selling point for me.

Post 1

I have a very sensitive scalp and have found that even some shampoos that are formulated for babies causes it to be dry and flaky. I would like to try a natural shampoo, but don't know where to start. Does anyone have some suggestions based on experience using these products?

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