Can You Actually Use Anti-Dandruff Shampoo as Face Wash? Well, Maybe.

The clock app is at it again! The latest TikTok beauty hack involves swapping your face wash for… dandruff shampoo? Stay with us here, because this theory may have some legs. The theory started with popular TikToker Elyse Meyers, who posted a video about using Head & Shoulders in place of facial cleanser for acne-prone skin. 

“Before you spend a lot of money on skin-care products, just hold on. Just go buy Head & Shoulders and wash your face with it and see what happens,” she says in the intro before sharing that she’s been using a generic drugstore version of the popular dandruff shampoo as a cleanser for years. According to Meyers, a dermatologist told her the zinc in the product was “incredible for your face.” She’s been using the product since middle school and shows off photos of clear, glowing skin to prove her point. Meyers shares that when she stopped, she experienced chin breakouts that no “fancy” products were able to treat. She threw them all away and went back to her old standby and voilà, clear skin returned.

It’s a compelling theory, especially when you consider that a bottle of Head & Shoulders shampoo costs less than $10 and can be found practically everywhere. Meyers’s video has over a million impressions and has been shared by dermatologists offering their takes on her method. Many pros say that yes, this could work for your skin — with a few caveats, of course. Before you head to Target or swipe your sibling’s Head & Shoulders from the shower, we reached out to a few experts for their take on this intriguing trend.

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“There is some truth to the trend, but I would stick to an actual acne cleanser,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “Anti-dandruff shampoos have antifungal properties due to the ingredient zinc pyrithione,” she says. 

Board-certified facial cosmetic and oculoplastic surgeon Tanuj Nakra, MD, based in Austin, Texas, agrees. “This trend has taken flight because most dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione, an antifungal, which helps people who have a very specific type of acne from fungal overgrowth. However, as most people with acne actually have the bacterial variety instead of the fungal variety, dandruff shampoos won’t work,” he says. “Worse, the detergents in relatively cheap over-the-counter dandruff shampoos are not made for facial skin and can irritate and dry out the skin.”