Why Your Eczema Shampoo Isn’t Working 


Fact: Many eczema shampoos contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. We looked through the top 20 search results for the term eczema shampoo and found some pretty surprising products.

Spoiler alert! At the end of this article you can find a promo code to get a P&P only natural shampoo sample that’s used by people with eczema.

Meanwhile, back to those eczema shampoo search results…

Potential Irritants in Eczema Shampoo


The problem with some common shampoo ingredients is two-fold: There’s a risk of aggravating the scalp eczema, but you can also make an existing hand eczema or contact dermatitis worse by using a harsh shampoo.

Of the 20 shampoos that appear first in an online search for best eczema shampoo (as of early 2020), more than half contain ingredients that are known irritants. For example,

  • TEA lauryl sulphate
  • Sodium Laureth and Lauryl Sulphate
  • Ammonium lauryl sulphate
  • Cocamide DEA
  • Polyquaternium-10
  • Disodium EDTA
  • MI – Methylisothiazolinone
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Fragrance (parfum)

True, it depends what else is in the formulation to lessen irritation, or how much of these ingredients are used. But the most beneficial eczema shampoo surely starts from the premise of zero potentially irritant ingredients.

Certainly, all sulphates are best avoided in an eczema shampoo. Some sulphate detergents are slightly less harsh than others, but there are many milder alternative cleansing ingredients around to fulfil that function of a shampoo.

In Odylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo, we use coco glucoside which has shown a long history of compatibility with eczema. Other mild detergents that are usually fine for sensitive skin include amphoacetates, glutamates and sarcosinates.

No Skin Soothers


Very few of the eczema shampoos in the 20 top search results had any ingredients to actively soothe eczema. Most go down the route of benign or neutral ingredients which don’t irritate, but don’t help the condition either.

This misses a huge opportunity. An itchy scalp with tendency to dryness can genuinely benefit from natural moisturisers and calming botanical extracts. All the more so, if the shampoo is left on the scalp for a few minutes so that the ingredients can absorb.

For example, in Odylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo we use coconut oil – which has a particular affinity with the scalp and hair, alongside soothing herbs of aloe vera, chamomile and rosemary. By leaving the shampoo to soak into the hair and scalp for a few minutes, the active ingredients get to work. And many people also find they don’t need a separate conditioner. 

pH Balance (or lack of it)

In general, few shampoos mention what their pH is – i.e. how acid or alkaline. The ideal pH for a shampoo, or what’s known as pH balanced, is 5-5.5; the pH of the scalp. With more alkaline (higher pH products), the risk of scalp irritation is high. And all the more so with an eczema prone scalp. The scalp’s ‘acid mantle’ is more open to damage, allowing environmental irritants to trigger itching and soreness.

N.B. Our shampoos are pH balanced!

Summary Tips for Choosing Eczema Shampoo

When choosing a shampoo for eczema, opt for a sulphate-free shampoo that has plenty of high-quality soothing botanicals. Always choose one that is pH balanced. And avoid shampoos with ‘parfum’ as it could be an artificial fragrance – a very common cause of eczema and contact dermatitis.

If you’d like to find out more about Odylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo, or try one FREE 20ml sample (just pay the price of postage) click here, and use the code EczemaShampoo at check out!

For more tips and advice on managing eczema please sign up to our newsletter.  You can also reach us at customercare@odylique.co.uk or 01638 491022.


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