TGel vs. TSal: Difference Between Neutrogena T/Gel and T/Sal

A cute black lady with an itchy scalp has been using an anti-dandruff shampoo with original therapeutic formula.

Thousands of products on the market aim to treat dandruff and other scalp conditions, but two of the most popular are T/Gel and T/Sal.

These products contain different active ingredients, so it is essential to understand how they work in order to determine which one is right for you.

In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of both products so you can make an educated decision between the two. Let’s get right into it! 

What Is T/Gel and How Does It Work?

T/Gel is a medicated shampoo by the mega-brand Neutrogena. It treats various scalp conditions, including dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

  • Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo – Extra Strength: Controls redness, intense itching, and flaking of severe scalp conditions.
    • It starts working after just one use for dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Active ingredient: Coal Tar 1% (4% Neutar® Solubilized Coar Tar Extract)
  • Directions: For best results, use at least twice a week or as directed by a doctor. Wet hair thoroughly. Massage shampoo into your scalp. Lather, leaving on your hair and scalp for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat.
Close-up of T/Gel shampoo - a dandruff treatment shampoo - which also helps protect against mild psoriasis.

T/Gel contains coal tar extract as the main ingredient, which helps to reduce the inflammation, itching, and flaking associated with the aforementioned scalp conditions.

Coal tar has been used to treat skin conditions for centuries and is thought to work by slowing skin cell growth. The product also contains surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate and Cocamidopropyl betaine for effective yet gentle cleansing.

T/Gel is available over the counter and online and is typically used daily.

Some people may experience side effects such as dryness, redness, or scalp irritation, but these are generally mild and resolve with continued use.

To get the most out of T/Gel, you’ll use it at least 2 times per week, but you can use it more often if you’d like. It’s gentle enough to use once a day. 

A beautiful black woman that has been using t gel shampoos to prevent scalp itching due to excessive sweating.

What Is T/Sal and How Does It Work?

T/Sal, also by Neutrogena, is a shampoo formulated to treat scalp conditions like psoriasis, dandruff, and seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo – Scalp Build-Up Control: Clears and helps prevent flakes and scalp build-up.
    • It starts working after just one use for dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Active ingredient: Salicylic Acid (3%)
  • Directions: Use at least twice a week or as directed by a physician for best results. Wet hair thoroughly. Massage a liberal amount into the scalp. Leave lather on the scalp for several minutes. Rinse and repeat.
T/Sal shampoo image - a dermatologist, recommended dandruff shampoo that helps prevent crusty scalp build-up.

T/Sal contains salicylic acid as the main ingredient; it helps to break down skin cells to reduce the symptoms associated with the three conditions we just mentioned.

With regular use, users experience a reduction in scalp flakes and scales and an overall improvement in their scalp’s health.

T/Sal also has antifungal properties, which make it effective against dandruff-causing fungi such as Malassezia. In addition, T/Sal has gentle cleansers that help cleanse the hair and scalp without leaving it too dry.

For best results, T/Sal should be used at least 2 times per week or as directed by a doctor. But according to Neutrogena, the formula is gentle enough for daily use. 

Customer Reviews for T/Gel and T/Sal

One of the best ways to determine if a particular product does what it’s supposed to do is to look at reviews. Thankfully, many people have reviewed both T/Gel and T/Sal online – their comments will yield some insight into what to expect when using both products. 

Product boxes comparing tgel vs. tsal to treat chronic scalp psoriasis and other severe scalp conditions.

T/Gel Customer Reviews

T/Gel has an average online rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 16,000 customer reviews. 75% of reviews were a perfect 5 out of 5. The vast majority of users report that the product was effective at treating their psoriasis, dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis.

In fact, many say it’s the only product that has worked for them after trying several commercial and home remedies.

Negative reviews, which were very few and far between, stated that the product smelled bad, didn’t arrive intact or wasn’t effective. 

The common theme among all the positive reviews is that T/Gel works great but has a powerful smell. If you can get past that, then this product may be worth trying.

T/Sal Customer Reviews

T/Sal has an average online rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars as well with over 2,000 customer reviews. Interestingly enough, 75% of those reviews were a perfect 5 out of 5.

As you can imagine, most customers were pleased with the product, stating that they’ve seen an improvement in their scalp’s condition. Some even found that their hair was shinier and more resilient after using the shampoo.

But, as with all products, not everyone was happy. Unsatisfied customers stated that the shampoo made their scalp issues worse. 

It’s important to remember that everyone’s hair is different, so your experience with the product may look a little different from the next person’s.

But on the whole, both products seem to be highly effective at healing the previously stated scalp conditions. 

1ST IMPRESSION: Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength Shampoo | Type 4 Hair | Seborrheic Dermatitis

T/Gel vs. T/Sal: Which One Should You Use?

Now that you know the basics of each product, you might be wondering which one is right for you. The answer to that question depends on a few factors, including the severity of your dandruff, your personal preferences, and any other skin conditions you might have. 

When to Use T/Gel

If you have chronic dandruff without a ton of stubborn buildup or are looking for a preventative measure against future flakes, T/Gel is a good choice for you.

The coal tar will bring most people relief from their dandruff symptoms, but it might take a few weeks of use before you see the full effect. 

A black girl with silky smooth skin has been using an effective dandruff shampoo to eliminate scalp flaking.

When to Use T/Sal

If you have caked-on, built-up dandruff that just won’t quit, or you’re looking for something to get rid of flakes quickly, T/Sal might be a better fit.

The salicylic acid will help to break down the flakes so they can easily be removed. 

If you’re unsure which one to choose, we recommend trying both and seeing which one works better for you. Of course, you’ll use one for a few weeks and then move to the other if the first one is ineffective.

Just remember to give each one a fair chance to work before you make a decision. Ultimately, the choice between T/Gel and T/Sal comes down to personal preference.

T/Gel and T/Sal Differences at a Glance

Here we’ll summarize the main differences between T/Gel and T/Sal so you can get a quick overview. 


  • Features coal tar as the active ingredient
  • Focuses on stopping the source of the scalp infection on a cellular level
  • Costs about $8 on average (at the time of this writing)


  • Features salicylic acid as the active ingredient
  • Focuses on eliminating buildup on the scalp
  • Costs about $11 on average (at the time of this writing)
A young black girl with colored hair experiencing scalp buildup has been treating it with t-sal shampoos.

Similarities Between T/Gel and T/Sal

We trust that you’ve got the differences down. Let’s turn our focus to the similarities between the two products. 

  • They both target dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. 
  • They’re both available over the counter. 
  • They both cleanse and invigorate the scalp.
  • They’re both from Neutrogena.
  • Both products may be used to calm down psoriasis flare-ups or remedy seborrheic dermatitis.

To use either product, you’ll apply it like you would any other shampoo. You’ll want to apply it to your wet or damp hair, massage it in thoroughly, and then leave it on your scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.

As with any new product, it’s always best to do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have any reactions.

Related Articles

So, there you have it – everything you need to know about T/Gel and T/Sal.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the critical differences between these two products and made it a little bit easier to choose the right scalp infection remedy for you.

If ever you feel like your scalp infection is getting worse after starting treatment, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. When scalp infections worsen, they can sometimes lead to hair loss. 

But on the whole, both T/Gel and T/Sal are effective treatments for dandruff and other scalp conditions.

So whichever one you choose, you can rest assured knowing that your chances of seeing a significant improvement in your scalp’s condition are pretty good. We wish you the best as you search for an effective scalp treatment!

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