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Dermatologist-Recommended Shampoos for Hair Loss — Discover What’s Right for You

A simple shampoo swap could make a dramatic difference in the health of your hair

Hair loss and sparse strands can be caused by everything from vitamin or mineral deficiencies, hormone fluctuations, overuse of heat styling products or androgenetic alopecia. It’s so common that by age 50, more than 52% of women and up to 50% of men experience hair loss. And that number only increases with age. Thankfully, it’s easier than you’d think to thicken strands and fill in sparse spots. One great place to start: Washing hair with dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss.

How shampoo primes the scalp for healthy hair growth

“Although many shampoos claim to re-grow hair, no rigorous clinical study has ever demonstrated an over-the-counter shampoo’s ability to regrow hair,” says Andy Goren, MD, dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of Daniel Alain.

But while a shampoo might not directly help with hair regrowth, its scalp-cleansing benefits are essential for thwarting shedding and maintaining healthy strands. “Often patients with hair loss reduce the frequency of hair washing to avoid shedding in the shower,” explains Dr. Goren. Though, this is not the best strategy as he notes “a scalp that is not clean can increase the chance of bacterial and fungal infections that can worsen hair loss.”

Woman with thick, healthy hair after using a one of the best shampoos for thinning hair
Westend61/Getty

5 dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss

With so many products on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Francesca Fusco, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in hair care, advises choosing a shampoo that is both nurturing and moisturizing. She says opting for a formula with ingredients like antioxidants and natural oils will help create a healthy environment for hair to get stronger and thicker-looking with each use.

Below, you’ll find the top dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss that fortify breakage-prone strands, plump up fall-flat roots, heal an inflamed scalp, stimulate growth and thwart fallout.

1. Hair break easily? Fortify hair with oligopeptides

Dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss: K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo bottle
K18 Hair

K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo (Buy from K18 Hair, $36)

For those bothered by hair that is brittle and frequently breaks, look to a shampoo that contains oligopeptides peptides. “I frequently recommend the K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo,” says James Kilgour, MD, resident dermatologist at Stanford University and founder of KilgourMD. “It contains sh-Oligopeptide-78, which is a peptide that mimics the structure of the keratin within the hair. He also notes that this “can rebuild the strong covalent bonds that can be damaged by chemical processes” such as hair dye and keratin treatments.

2. Hair fall flat? Plump up roots with pea peptides

Dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss: Philip Kingsley Density Hair Thickening Shampoo
Philip Kingsley

Philip Kingsley Density Shampoo (Buy from PhilipKingsley.com, $40)

“Pea peptides are great at adding body without drying or damaging your hair,” says Anabel Kingsley, trichologist and Brand President of the Philip Kingsley hair loss and scalp care clinics.

In fact, a study published in Phytotherapy Research reports that pea-derived peptides add density to hair follicle cells. This increases strand thickness and make roots look fuller, while also providing hydrating and smoothing benefits to hair overall.

3. Inflamed scalp? Try a medicated shampoo

dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss: Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Dryness and Itch Relief
Dove/CVS

Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Dryness & Itch Relief (Buy from CVS, $6.79)

If your scalp is itchy and flaky, Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and New Jersey, suggests this option from Dove. “This shampoo contains uses pyrithione zinc to fight dandruff and reduce flaking, while still being gentle on the scalp, helping to reduce itch and irritation,” she says. “It also nourishes the scalp and is pH balanced, so won’t leave the scalp feeling stripped or dry.”

Related: Dermatologists Reveal How Tea Tree Oil May Work Better to Heal Red, Itchy Skin on Face and Scalp Than Prescription Drugs

4. Can’t grow hair as long? Look for rosemary oil

Dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss: Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo bottle
Mielle

Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo (Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo, $7)

For hair that grows longer and stronger, try this option from Mielle, says Dr. Garshick. “Containing a blend of biotin and rosemary oil, the shampoo helps to strengthen the hair and promote hair growth,” she says. “It is gentle on the hair and scalp and works to nourish while it also cleanses.”

One study even found rosemary oil to be as effective as minoxidil at boosting hair growth. That’s because its rosmarinic acid increases circulation to the scalp, delivering oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to hair follicles to promote new growth, adds Dr. Fusco.

Related: Using Rosemary and Oil Can Reverse Hair Thinning as Effectively as Rogaine

5. Notice “shorties” falling out? Unclog hair follicles with salicylic acid

Dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss: Neutrogena T/Sal® Therapeutic Shampoo-Scalp Build-Up Control
Neutrogena

Neutrogena T/Sal® Therapeutic Shampoo-Scalp Build-Up Control (Buy from Neutrogena, $5.94)

If you see new strands of hair popping up, only to have them break off before they truly get a chance to grow, you can fix the problem with a salicylic acid-infused shampoo like this one from Neutrogena. “It contains 3% salicylic acid as its active ingredient, making it effective at breaking down and removing excess oils and dead skin cells from the scalp,” says Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and published author based in Miami.

“Salicylic acid is known for its exfoliating properties, which can help unclog hair follicles, reduce inflammation, and prevent fallout.” She says this shampoo is particularly suitable for individuals dealing with conditions such as dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis, which can all contribute to clogged follicles and hair loss.

“Plus, the shampoo can help exfoliate the scalp so that any other medicated shampoos you apply will have better penetration in the scalp,” adds Nazanin Saedi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Pennsylvania.

Bonus: Use a pre-shampoo treatment to also help reverse thinning hair

Dermatologist-recommended shampoos for hair loss: Daniel Alain INTACT
Daniel Alain

In addition to using one of the best shampoos for thinning hair, there’s an easy way to get extra protection against shedding. The trick is to apply a pre-shampoo scalp serum, like Daniel Alain INTACT (Buy from DanielAlain.com, $27). The serum contains compounds that contracts the muscles on the scalp that hold hair in place. This grips hair at the root to secure strands and reduce shedding up to 77% after one use. To use, simply saturate the scalp with the serum 30 minutes before washing your hair.


For more tips about thickening thin hair, click through these stories:

How Coconut Oil Can Strengthen Hair, Reverse Thinning and More — For Pennies!

8 Layered Haircuts for Women Over 50 That Make Thinning Hair Look Twice as Thick

Top Hair Loss Doctor Explains How Rice Water Can Help Reverse Thinning + Add Shine

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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