Shampoo: FSA Eligibility
What is shampoo?
Shampoo is among the most common everyday products that individuals from all walks of life use to support their general health and overall hygiene. Shampoo is a cleaning agent that is designed to break up dirt and oil that builds up over time after regular activities. This cleaning agent is dissolved in a liquid that is placed on the head during bathing that is rubbed into a lather and washed out of the hair during each use.
Over time, the skin that supports the hair follicles will produce a substance called sebum, a greasy substance that helps to coat and protect hair by coating the cuticle or outer keratin coat of each hair strand. While this material is vital for the health of hair and the scalp, accumulation over time can cause hair strands to clump together, which can leave hair looking dull and greasy. Shampoos act as surfactants, which enables it to bind with oils and soiling particles to clean hair, while conditioning agents in shampoo replace the protective coating of sebum to add body and shine (wiseGEEK).
In the vast majority of cases, shampoo is not eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts, as the IRS has ruled that these products are only used to support a person's "general health" and not required to treat or prevent a specific medical condition.
In certain cases, shampoos may contain active medical ingredients prescribed by doctors in which case that shampoo would be eligible for reimbursement. For instance, lice shampoo designed to kill the eggs and insects of a lice infestation is eligible with a prescription as it contains a medicated ingredient, but other shampoos such as shampoo + conditioner or anti-dandruff shampoos are only for "general health" purposes and not eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts.