Can dandruff shampoo get rid of acne?

Key points to remember

  • A viral video on TikTok suggests replacing your face wash with a dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders can help clear up acne.
  • Dermatologists say dandruff shampoo can be effective as a face wash for people with fungal acne because it contains zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide, which are ingredients known to fight fungal overgrowth.
  • This beauty tip is not recommended for everyone, especially those with sensitive, dry, eczema-prone skin and those with bacterial acne.

Facial cleansers, pimple patches, even toothpaste as a spot treatment – ​​many of us have tried it all when it comes to trying to get rid of pimples.

However, a recent beauty hack on TikTok suggests there’s a cheaper and easier way to get rid of acne: replace your face wash with dandruff shampoo.

The brand new skincare theory was started by Elyse Myers, a popular TikToker with over 5.6 million followers on the app. Myers shared a video last month explaining how using dandruff shampoo helped clear up her skin.

“I’ve been using Walmart’s version of Head & Shoulders on my face since I was in college because a dermatologist told me the zinc in dandruff shampoo is amazing for your face,” she said.

However, Myers claimed that when she stopped using the dandruff shampoo, she started getting several rashes on her chin.

“I started trying to use fancy stuff because people were sending it to me for free — I’ve never had the worst skin in my entire life,” Myers said. “Three days ago I threw everything away and started using my dandruff shampoo again…the skin is already clearer.”

The video has been viewed over 12 million times and received 1.6 million likes. But is this beauty hack safe, right? really eliminate acne, and do dermatologists recommend trying it?

Is dandruff shampoo safe to use on the face?

Dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders is typically used to wash hair or hairy areas, such as the face for those who can grow beards.

Although it’s generally safe to use on the face, it’s not intended for use as a daily facial cleanser, according to Marisa Garshick, MD, board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York City.

Experts say that’s because some shampoo brands and formulations may contain active ingredients like fragrances and other chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate that can irritate skin and disrupt skin barrier lipids.

This is especially true for people who have dry, sensitive, or eczema-prone skin, Lauren Penzi, MD, board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York City, told Verywell.

“Those with dry or sensitive skin should be careful” before trying dandruff shampoos on their face, especially without talking to a specialist first, Penzi says.

What skin types would benefit from using dandruff shampoo?

Using dandruff shampoo on the face may be beneficial and effective for some people, including people with fungal acne, a type of acne caused by fungal overgrowth, Melanie Palm, MD, Art Certified Dermatologist of Skin MD in San Diego, CA, told Verywell via email.

Penzi added that this type of acne often appears as fine pustules on the face and can be itchy. It also tends not to respond to traditional acne treatments and can get worse with humidity and heat.

“Patients with a specific type of fungal acne, known as pityrosporum folliculitis, may benefit from dandruff shampoos due to their antifungal effects,” Penzi said.

The secret is in the ingredients. Dandruff shampoos often contain zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, which fight fungal overgrowth.

“When breakouts are yeast-related, these ingredients can help reduce yeast,” Garshick said.

What do dermatologists recommend?

Despite its benefits for fungal acne, experts do not recommend using dandruff shampoo for traditional breakouts or people with bacterial acne.

“Dandruff shampoos would only be effective as a face wash if used to treat fungal acne. If you have bacterial acne, which is more likely to occur than fungal acne, you won’t see many benefits to using dandruff shampoo as a cleanser or treatment,” Palm said.

She added that it’s possible that the use of dandruff shampoos, especially if used daily, can irritate and dry out the skin, leading to a compromised skin barrier, redness, bumps, allergic reaction and possibly even be an infection.

Instead, experts like Garshick and Penzi recommend sticking to proven treatments with key acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids.

“Although they [dandruff shampoos] showed slight improvement in acne, there are other acne-fighting ingredients that seem to be more effective,” Penzi said. “I don’t recommend trying this hack [especially with] initially dry or sensitive skin.

If you want to use a dandruff shampoo, know your acne type

People who want to use an at-home dandruff shampoo on their face should first consult a dermatologist to determine if they have fungal acne, Palm said. In many cases, your dermatologist can recommend other topical antifungal treatments that are more effective and/or less irritating to your skin.

Once you’ve received a proper diagnosis confirming whether you have fungal acne, Palm said it recommends testing the shampoo on a small area of ​​your face before applying it all over to determine if your skin can handle it. tolerate.

“Assuming you don’t experience any negative reactions to the patch test, I would start using it every other day as a face wash and wouldn’t leave it on my skin for more than 60 seconds,” she said. added.

Others say that using a dandruff shampoo two to three times a week, once a day is sufficient and should be followed by a mild, hydrating moisturizer to minimize the risk of dryness or irritation.

Other Acne Clearing Tips

Don’t want to sue this TikTok hack? You have other options.

Susan Massick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist from Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, told Verywell some specific tips:

  • Use a gentle facial cleanser twice a day.
  • Consider a retinoid that can help with blackheads, whiteheads, and comedones.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Wear sunscreen daily, especially on the face.
  • Avoid picking, scratching and squeezing blemishes or pimples, this makes them worse and can cause scarring.

If you don’t see improvement with certain over-the-counter products or medications after a few months of regular use, you may want to schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist for a diagnosis and other treatment recommendations.

“TikTok can be a fun platform to browse, but be careful following every recommendation that gets a bunch of likes,” Massick said. “There may be some kernel of truth behind them, but there may be better, safer, and more effective options that you can try with the help of your dermatologist.”

What this means for you

Dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders is safe to use and can help clear up acne for specific skin types, including those with fungal acne, however, dermatologists do not recommend using it if you have acne. bacterial acne or traditional acne breakouts. People who want to try the dandruff shampoo hack should first consult a dermatologist.

By Alyssa Hui

Alyssa Hui is a St. Louis-based health and science news writer. She was the 2020 recipient of the Jack Shelley Award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

About Sally Dominguez

Check Also

RHONJ star Teresa Giudice’s daughter Gia, 21, shows off her real skin with acne in new video and admits she was ‘insecure’

TERESA Giudice’s daughter, Gia Giudice, 21, showed off her real skin and facial acne in …