WOman talking(l+r), head and shoulders(c)

Monticello/Shutterstock @savannita/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I was today years old when I found out’: Woman says there’s another secret use for Head & Shoulders. Does it work?

‘Why don’t they explain we should literally be putting it on our shoulders?’


Brooke Sjoberg


Living day-to-day with acne can be a very personal experience, with different treatments yielding wildly different results for each individual. What works for one, might not work for all.

The highly individual nature of acne has led many experiencing the skin condition often characterized by small bumps and build up of sebum, or oil produced by the skin, to share their best tips and tricks for what does and does not work for them.

One woman says she had tried just about everything for acne related to a hormonal disorder—until she saw someone using dandruff shampoo brand Head & Shoulders to treat their hormonal breakouts.

In a video posted to TikTok, user Savannah (@savannita) says she began incorporating Head & Shoulders into her daily shower routine, and began to see results from the off-label treatment in just about two weeks.

“I was today years old when I found out that Head & Shoulders literally is the cure for hormonal acne,” she says in the video. “I have PCOS [Polycystic Ovary Syndrome] and when I tell you I have no shame in the game saying that I get bad shoulder acne, and just flare ups and inflammation in general.”

Savannah says another TikTok creator inspired her to try the dandruff product for her acne.

“I don’t know who it was, but I saw a TikTok and they recommended Head & Shoulders because it has zinc and something in it for the dandruff that works wonders for boils, cysts, hormonal acne, red bumps, fungal acne,” she says. “I have been using it religiously for the last two weeks. I will do my full shower and as soon as I do my body wash, I will end with Head & Shoulders all over the parts that I want to use it on. When I tell you, the changes in my skin. My acne is gone, literally gone. I’ve used Panoxyl, I’ve used everything, but Head & Shoulders is the winner.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Savannah via comment on the video and TikTok direct message regarding the video.

The use of dandruff shampoo to treat some kinds of acne has become widespread advice on TikTok for those looking for affordable and accessible ways to treat their skin. Even a board-certified dermatologist has weighed in on the advice, telling viewers that the same anti-fungal ingredient that fights fungal acne, Ketoconazole, can also be effective in fighting hair loss.

So how does it work? This anti-fungal ingredient, as well as zinc pyrithione, can kill bacteria and prevent the growth of yeast on the skin, which contributes to the growth of a type of fungal acne called folliculitis. These ingredients are not likely to be effective against types of acne produced by an overproduction of oil in the skin or buildup of dead skin cells, per Health.

Several viewers shared that they had also tried using dandruff shampoo to treat what they thought was hormonal acne. However, because it was so effective against the condition, they determined it was likely fungal acne, instead.

“I thought mine was hormonal, then when head & shoulders literally wiped it away within 2 uses, Google made me convinced it was fungal acne,” one commenter wrote.

“It only works for fungal/yeast based acne,” another said.

“My husband has psoriasis and H&S is literally the only shampoo that clears up his scalp, so I can believe that it will work for acne,” a further user wrote.

@savannita @headandshoulders my holy grail 🧼🚿 #foryoupage #pcos #hormonalacne #acne #skincare #headandshoulders ♬ original sound – Savannah

Others shared that this will only work for some folks depending on where they live, as the active ingredients in the version used by Savannah are not available in some countries with stricter regulations on what ingredients can be included in beauty products.

“This isn’t valid for the UK as it doesn’t have the magic ingredients!” one commenter wrote.

“Me crying as an europian because pyrithion zinc here is banned and our H&SH doesn’t have that specific ingredient that helps with acne,” another commented

“So what is the equivalent in the UK?” a third asked.

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