The best scalp treatments to use in 2023, tested by care experts

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ALMOST EVERY hair problem you’ve ever had originated on the scalp: dandruff, hair loss, dry hair and limp locks are all due to an imbalance in the scalp. In fact, the roots of your hair are the only part of your hair that is actually alive – the rest of your hair is dead. It sounds crazy, but it’s true, and understanding how your hair grows can provide valuable insight into treating and preventing conditions such as thinning hair or hair loss.

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, and if you want a healthy scalp, it’s time you start treating it right. While using a nourishing shampoo and conditioner can help, adding a targeted scalp treatment to your hair care routine can make an even bigger difference in the health and appearance of your hair.

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Scalp treatments often offer a deep-cleansing scalp scrub, which can help unclog hair follicles and remove product buildup from your daily gels and pomades, dead skin, and dandruff.

According to dr. Kari Williams, a board-certified trichologist and licensed esthetician, the benefits of a scalp treatment can dramatically improve overall hair health. “[T]hey can promote healthy blood circulation in the scalp which promotes healthy hair growth; reduces inflammation in the scalp; relieves scalp discomfort in the form of itching and flaking and also balances the pH of the scalp.”

Some scalp treatments are used before or in the shower before your usual washing routine, while others are treatments that are not used to reduce inflammation that often results from scalp irritation.

“A scalp treatment usually includes some form of exfoliation to rid the scalp of excess buildup, flakes, and debris that can cause discomfort or hinder hair growth,” says Dr. Williams. “Scalp treatments keep the skin healthy and create a healthy environment for hair growth.”

Dr. Williams says anyone can benefit from a scalp treatment, even if you don’t experience any symptoms of scalp discomfort. But if you suffer from dandruff or a chronic itchy scalp, you will benefit most from regular scalp treatment.

If an itchy scalp is causing problems, a soothing scalp treatment has what you need to relieve the itch. We’ve done the work for you by finding the best scalp treatments below to heal your scalp and encourage healthy hair.

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Best overall scalp treatment

Act+Acre

Cold Processed Scalp Detox

Active ingredientsSalicylic acid and peppermint
Measure3 fl oz
BrandACT+ACRE

dpHUE

ACV Daily Scalp Serum

Active ingredientsApple Cider Vinegar, Apple Stem Cells, Peptides, Organic Maca Root
Measure1.7 fl oz

Best exfoliating shampoo

Briogeo

Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

Active ingredientsCoconut oil, charcoal, panthenol and tea tree oil
Measure8 Oz

Best leave-in scalp treatment

PHILIP KINGSLEY

Flaky Scalp Toner

Active ingredientsPiroctone olamine, camphor and benzalkonium chloride
Measure250ml

Best scalp treatment for damaged hair

VIRTUE

Topical scalp supplement

Active ingredientsAlpha Keratin 60ku®, B vitamins, peptides, ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Measure2 fl oz

Best affordable scalp treatment

The INKEY list

Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment

Active ingredientsSalicylic acid, fluidipure, panthenol
Measure5 fl oz

Best scalp treatment for oily hair

Davines

Naturaltech REBALANCING Shampoo

Active ingredientsphytoceuticals extracted from lemon
Measure8.45 ml

Best scalp treatments for hair growth

Augustine Bader

The scalp treatment

Active ingredientsTFC8®, watercress and cress extracts, hazel leaf extract, peppermint extract, bamboo extract
Measure1 ounce

Best scalp treatment for dandruff

SACHAJUAN

Scalp Treatment Duo

Active ingredientsPiroctone olamine, climbazole, rosemary oil, salicylic acid and ginger extract
Measure1.7 fl oz

Best scalp treatment for curly hair

DevaCurl

SCALP PURI(pH)Y Easy-Rinse exfoliating spray

Active ingredientsGlycolic Acid, Glycerin, Castor Oil, Cetrimonium Chloride, Acetic Acid, Allantoin
Measure8 Oz

What to pay attention to during a scalp treatment

The best scalp treatment is one that is tailored to your specific scalp conditions. Persistent conditions such as dandruff may require a more concentrated formula with dandruff-fighting ingredients. If you only experience occasional itchiness, a weekly scalp treatment could be just what you need to remove product buildup and give your scalp a much-needed reset.

“Effective active ingredients for a scalp treatment are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and coal tar,” says Dr. Kari Williams, Board Certified Trichologist & Licensed Cosmetologist. “These ingredients gently exfoliate the scalp.”

For the past three years, we’ve consulted the editors and writers of Men’s Health’s Grooming on the best scalp treatments for men. Experts, including our Grooming Editor Garrett Munce, have put a number of scalp treatments to the test and evaluated their effectiveness, texture, scent and price. We also looked at the top-rated scalp treatments that had over 100 five-star ratings on ecommerce websites we trust.

Cristina Montemayor is a freelance writer and journalist living in Austin, Texas who focuses on beauty, grooming, style and culture.

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The best scalp treatments to use in 2023, tested by care experts

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