The girls love a good hack. From how to keep your hair bone straight without needing to train for the hair wrap olympics, to learning make up tricks that will make you feel red carpet ready for a run to the grocery store, true girlhood is sharing coveted beauty shortcuts. Thanks to mediums like TikTok and Instagram, these tips are spreading like wildfire, making it easier for us to put each other on and platform our newly learned secrets for the masses. 

The latest hack that seems to be all the internet craze is using glycolic acid for dandruff, a tip that’s gone viral on TikTok and is heavily supported by testimony. So, does it actually work?

What Causes Dandruff?

It’s not so sexy when your scalp looks like it has been snowed on, but luckily, you’re not alone: these small bits of dry skin shed from the scalp affect approximately 50 percent of the general adult population worldwide. It can definitely feel isolating to deal with, but it’s actually a pretty common skin condition.

A flaky scalp can be blamed on a variety of reasons, including fluctuating hormones, oily skin, hotter temperatures, eczema, age and shampooing infrequently, amongst many others.

Affecting men slightly more than women, dandruff is by no means indicative of your hygiene, but rather a luck of the draw. Episodic flares can even result from stress, though there are plenty of products on the market that can help alleviate symptoms. 

How Does Glycolic Acid Help With Dandruff?

TikTokers @annaytime and @calistatee, amongst other influencers, shared their discoveries to an immediately viral audience, chalking up their sudden decrease in dandruff to drenching their scalps in glycolic acid toner— specifically, The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution.

Glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar cane, is an alpha hydroxy acid that chemically exfoliates the skin. It chips away at the bonds between skin cells to reveal fresher, smoother ones underneath. This is why it’s so effective in giving us smooth, hyperpigmentation-free skin!

Effective on all kinds of skin and scalps, glycolic acid helps by increasing cell turnover, which starts to diminish in your mid to late twenties. It can also help boost hydration in the skin on the scalp, which will help prevent more dandruff from forming. 

Can you use any kind of glycolic acid for this hack? Sure, but it’s worth noting that The Ordinary’s glycolic acid toner boasts 7% glycolic acid, which is more than your average facial product. Otherwise, there are plenty of companies that make hair products with this ingredient in mind, including The INKEY List and Vegamour.

So How Do You Do It?

The hack is simple, as most good hacks are. 

Thirty minutes to an hour before washing your hair, drench the scalp with your glycolic acid solution. A precise nozzle will help to concentrate the product on your scalp and roots, and you can even help yourself out by massaging it in.

Your hair may feel a bit crispy afterwards, but it’s important to trust the process! Once time has passed, get in the shower and go about your normal hair washing routine. An imperative step in this process is rinsing extremely thoroughly once you’re done. Any leftover product could potentially irritate the skin, so you want to make sure it’s all out. Repeat the process weekly and take note of the difference in your dandruff!

The Bottom Line

If you deal with a flaky scalp, you aren’t destined to a lifetime of suffering and avoiding black clothes! While it can easily be an irritant and is not recommended for use more than once a week, using glycolic acid for dandruff is easy and cost effective, since you probably already own the tools necessary in your skincare routine. Say goodbye to snow-capped shoulders and hello to freedom!