Head, shoulders and face?
An influencer shared a hack for using popular dandruff shampoo Head & Shoulders as a face wash to clear up acne, with many debating whether her hack is a miracle or a mistake.
Popular TikToker Elyse Myers shocked the internet when she revealed she swears by using a generic store brand dandruff shampoo to wash her face.
“Before you spend a lot of money on skin-care products, just hold on. Just go buy Head & Shoulders,” Myers said in a viral TikTok that has since amassed 12.9 million views and 15,500 comments.
Myers shared that she’s been using the Walmart version of the two-in-one dandruff shampoo since she was in middle school when it was recommended to her by a dermatologist who reportedly told her that “the zinc in it is incredible for your face.”
Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose told The Post that dermatologists “sometimes recommend the use of an [over the counter] anti-dandruff shampoo to treat the skin” and while this hack may work on some, “there are better topical treatments for acne than topical zinc.”
“The original Head & Shoulders shampoo contains zinc sulfate which has anti-inflammatory properties,” the board-certified derm explained. “Studies have suggested that zinc may help to reduce acne. The role of an oral zinc supplementation has a stronger association than topical zinc as it is unclear how well topical zinc penetrates to affect an improvement in the skin.”
But Myers insisted that she had clear skin throughout her life until she stopped using the product and broke out around her chin.
In her viral clip, she revealed she tried clearing her skin with “fancy stuff” that she got as freebies but “never had worse skin.” That’s when she threw all her products away and went back to Walmart to buy the Equate Everyday Clean dandruff shampoo, which she said cleared her skin in just a few days.
“Just try it,” she told her followers — many of whom did exactly that and shared their results.
Taking Myers’ advice, Chelsea Gerbeshi posted a TikTok video sharing her experience, noting that she’s never had clear skin in her life and always had “volcanic breakouts.”
Despite pouring money into trying all types of remedies, nothing ever cleared her skin until she used Head & Shoulders as a face wash, she said.
“After three days of using shampoo on my face, it’s gone. All of it,” Gerbeshi announced.
Unfortunately, not everyone has experienced immediate miracle results from the over-the-counter product.
Alexi McKinley, who has been trying to tame her acne for months, tried the viral hack and filmed a TikTok video to reveal the results.
“I heard this only works if it’s bacterial or fungal but maybe I have a little mix of both? Who knows?” McKinley said in the video.
But several days later, she shared a follow-up clip denouncing the hack.
“Stop using this,” she said in a clip holding up bottles of Head & Shoulders and PanOxyl, claiming that the products were “pore-clogging” and continued to cause acne.
Dr. Murphy-Rose told The Post that fungal folliculitis, a condition when too much yeast grows on the skin and infects the hair follicles, “can appear very much like true acne” and those who suspect they suffer from it should consult a medical professional.
“My preference is to treat it with a topical anti-fungal cream,” she said. “This is less likely to trigger an irritant reaction in most cases.”
Dermatologists also joined in on the online conversation, saying dandruff shampoo can be used as a face wash for certain types of breakouts but is not a cure-all for all skin concerns.
Dr. Aamna Adel, who goes by @dermatology.doctor, posted a TikTok video explaining that the anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties in Head & Shoulders shampoo can be used to fight seborrhoeic dermatitis or “fungal acne,” which WebMD calls “a skin condition called pityrosporum folliculitis. It is one of many types of folliculitis, a skin condition that causes an infection in your hair follicle. It can look like pimples and is often confused with acne.”
Dr. Adel notes that dandruff shampoo would not be her first option for clear skin.
“If you have any of these conditions then it’s worth using the Head & Shoulders,” she said, “but otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it as first-line option for clear skin.”
Dr. Murphy-Rose also cautioned that these types of shampoos “are developed for use on the scalp” and because of that, “some will experience skin irritation using an anti-dandruff shampoo as a face wash.”
Instead, the New York-based professional suggests salicylic acid as “an excellent first-line OTC anti-acne ingredient” along with adapalene, Azelaic acid, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide and AHAs.