TikTok: Does dandruff shampoo get rid of acne?

A viral video on TikTok suggests that swapping your face wash for an anti-dandruff shampoo, like H&S, can help clear up acne. Although it seems like a cheap and simple beauty trick, does it really work?

Dandruff shampoo is normally used to wash hair. Although it is normally safe to use on the face, it is not designed to be used as a daily face wash. Experts say this is because some shampoo brands and formulations may contain active ingredients such as fragrances and other chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate the skin and disrupt the lipids in the skin barrier. And this is serious for people who have dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

Effective on some skins

Using dandruff shampoo on the face can be beneficial and effective for some people, including people who have fungal acne, a type of acne caused by an overgrowth of fungus. Patients with a specific type of fungal acne, known as pityrosporum folliculitis, may benefit from dandruff shampoos due to their antifungal effects . The secret is in the ingredients. Dandruff shampoos often contain zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, which fight fungal overgrowth. When the sprouts are related to a yeast, those ingredients can help reduce the yeast .

Despite its benefits for fungal acne, experts don’t recommend using dandruff shampoo for traditional breakouts or those with bacterial acne. Dandruff shampoos would only be effective as facial cleansers if used to treat fungal acne. If we have bacterial acne, which is the most common, we will not notice many benefits.

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

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Know your type of acne

People who are interested in using dandruff shampoo at home on their face should first consult a dermatologist to determine if they have fungal acne. In many cases, your dermatologist may recommend other topical antifungal treatments that are more effective and/or less irritating to your skin.

Once we have a proper diagnosis confirming if we have fungal acne, it is recommended to test the shampoo on a small section of the face before applying it all over to determine if the skin can tolerate it. Assuming we do not experience any negative patch test reactions, it could be used every other day as a face wash and it is not advised to leave it on the skin for more than 60 seconds.

Others say that using an anti-dandruff shampoo two to three times a week, once a day is sufficient and should be followed up with a gentle, hydrating moisturizer to minimize the chance of dryness or irritation.