Can Dandruff Shampoo Cure Acne: The Myth Explained by Beauty Experts

Can Dandruff Shampoo Cure Acne: The Myth Explained by Beauty Experts

Turns out the internet took notice when people started touting dandruff shampoo as a skincare treatment. Approved by dermatologists, the trick specifically targets fungal acne and can help eliminate the symptoms of breakouts caused by yeast.

To find out if it’s right for you, we spoke to dermatologists about exactly what fungal acne is, how dandruff shampoo can help, and what products to try.

If you’ve noticed stubborn and itchy bumps under your skin that don’t seem to go away with traditional acne products, it could be fungal acne. This is caused by Malassezia yeast and is also known as pityrosporum folliculitis and is different from acne vulgaris, or the standard type of acne we usually think of when we see blemishes.

“Fungal acne is a common misnomer because the condition isn’t actually acne,” explains Dr. Ramya Garlapati, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and co-founder of Skin Medicinals. “It’s actually folliculitis, or an infection of the hair follicles that results from an overgrowth of yeast, and as such the condition doesn’t respond to traditional acne treatments.”

Instead, fungal acne needs to be treated with antifungals, which can fight the growth of yeast in the hair follicles.

Treating fungal acne can include over-the-counter skincare products and oral medications, as well as the not-so-secret lifehack of using anti-dandruff shampoo. Both dermatologists we spoke to and many others on social media have confirmed its effectiveness in treating the condition.

“Using dandruff shampoos as a face or body cleanser to treat fungal skin conditions like fungal acne or seborrheic dermatitis is something I recommend my patients do,” says Garlapati. But before we try the viral trend, Garlapati reminds us that it’s still “important to have your skin problem evaluated by a dermatologist first to make sure it’s a fungal condition.”

Benefits of dandruff shampoo for fungal acne

Dandruff is caused by the same Malassezia yeast that is the root of fungal acne, so anti-dandruff products and scalp care treatments can also be used to combat the skin condition.

“Anti-dandruff shampoos that contain active ingredients with antifungal properties, such as zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole, are most effective in treating fungal acne,” says Garlapati. “You don’t have to look for a skincare product that contains these ingredients, as an anti-dandruff shampoo can also be used as a face or body cleanser.”

And while there are over-the-counter and prescription options, the dandruff shampoo you can find in the hair care section of your drugstore will do the trick. The state-certified dermatologist Dr. Jenny Liu says common brands like Nizoral (with ketoconazole) and Head and Shoulders (with pyrithione zinc) are safe to use on your face.

Side effects of using dandruff shampoo on the skin

As with any skin or hair care product, there is a risk of skin irritation, so always test on a small area away from your face, such as the back of your neck. B. your arm before using dandruff shampoo as a toner. Nizoral also lists rash as a possible side effect, and you should discontinue use if one occurs in the treated area.

Additionally, Liu notes that dandruff shampoos “can be drying, so I recommend limiting use to a few times a week.”

How to use dandruff shampoo for fungal acne

Once you have your anti-dandruff shampoo of choice, you can use it as a face wash or mask to treat fungal acne. “The most important thing when using the product is to lather it up and leave it on the skin for a few minutes before rinsing it off,” says Garlapati. “The shampoo should not be washed off immediately as the product needs to remain in contact with the skin for a few minutes for the treatment to be effective.” Liu recommends doing this in the shower as it’s the easiest to incorporate into your routine.

Both Garlapati and Liu recommend using Nizoral on the face and body to treat fungal acne. It contains ketoconazole, an ingredient that fights the fungus that causes dandruff and pityrosporum folliculitis.

Good ol’ Head and Shoulders contains antifungal Zinc Pyrithione to combat the Malassezia yeast that causes the uneven, clogged follicles of fungal acne.

Recommended by Garlapati, Selsun Blue uses the antifungal selenium sulfide to balance the scalp and skin. The formula contains menthol, which has a cooling effect, so those with sensitive skin should be careful.

Those looking for natural remedies can try tea tree oil. “Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial properties and is effective in treating fungal diseases,” says Garlapati. “Keep in mind that some people with sensitive skin may react to tea tree oil, so it’s best to test the product with a patch before applying it to the entire affected area.”

Liu says salicylic acid-based treatments can help mild cases of fungal acne. She likes this gentle option, which contains salicylic acid along with succinic acid and powdered sulfur, two antimicrobial ingredients that help fight traditional breakouts as well as fungal acne.

Whether you suffer from pityrosporum folliculitis or athlete’s foot, the cause of the uncomfortable conditions is the same: fungus. Garlapati says that athlete’s foot cream can also be a helpful treatment for fungal acne because it contains clotrimazole, a potent antifungal ingredient.

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