What Is Antibacterial Shampoo?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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Antibacterial shampoo is a type of detergent that contains chemicals that kill bacteria. Unlike an antibacterial soap, it is specially designed to be used on human hair or animal fur. Though the medicinal properties are aimed at the skin, the cleansing properties of the shampoo are designed to work on hair and fur. There are a number of antibacterial agents that can be used in an antibacterial shampoo, and the best type of shampoo to use will depend on the reason that the shampoo is prescribed.

Like other types of shampoo, antibacterial shampoo is made to clean the hair and the skin beneath it. Though it is possible to use regular soap to wash hair, it can be difficult to rinse soap out, so most people prefer to use shampoos that are specially formulated to clean dirt and oil off of hair and then rinse completely away. When combined with an antibiotic agent, shampoo can be used to clean hair and to help clear up bacterial infections on the skin.


In humans, antibacterial shampoo is often used to help treat acne on the scalp. Normal acne washes are made to be used on the skin but may damage a person's hair if used on the head. A specially formulated acne shampoo is safe to use when trying to clear the scalp of acne. These shampoos contain one or more antibiotic agents, such as methylchloroisothiazolinone or salicylic acid which helps to kill bacteria that could enter the pores and form pimples.

It is also possible for humans to use this type of shampoo to help treat staph infections, that can appear on the scalp. In most cases, infections such as these should be treated with an oral antibiotic as well as a topical antibacterial shampoo. Any skin infection should be examined by a doctor who can determine the best type of antibiotic to use to fight the infection.

Veterinary medicine also makes use of antibacterial shampoo, especially in the treatment of hot spots on dogs. Depending on the severity of the skin infection, a veterinarian may prescribe antibiotic pills, antibiotic ointment, and antibiotic shampoo. The shampoo helps to clear up bacterial infections that are more widespread on the animal's skin because it is easier to apply the antibacterial agent all over the animal when bathing it in an antibiotic shampoo. Iodine, benzoyl peroxide, and chlorhexidine acetate are all commonly used antibacterial agents in veterinary antibacterial shampoos.


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Post 4

@kylee07drg – You can buy a shampoo for dogs that is both antibacterial and antifungal, and it is supposed to relieve itching from allergies. So, it encompasses just about everything that could be causing a dog to scratch.

I used this on my dog when he had red spots where his fur full out. He had been scratching at them a lot, but the shampoo made him feel better.

The hair finally grew back, too. Once he got relief, he was able to leave the spots alone and give them a chance to heal.

Post 3

My dog has hot spots, but I don't know whether they are caused by bacteria or not. He has really sensitive skin, so he might just be breaking out from some sort of allergy.

Would antibacterial shampoo help him anyway? I'd like to try something other than his regular shampoo, because he is itching a lot.

Post 2

@feasting – There are some that you can buy without a prescription, especially the ones for acne. My brother had acne all over his face and scalp as a teenager, and I remember him using this type of shampoo.

It was expensive, though. It cost nearly $20 a bottle!

It worked, and that's what mattered most. It's a good thing that my brother had a part-time job to help pay for the shampoo, because I doubt our dad would have spend this amount on it!

Post 1

I've never heard of an antibacterial shampoo before. Are they available by prescription only?

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