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T Gel Vs. T Sal: What’s The Difference?

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Comparing T Gel vs. T Sal can help you choose from the popular medicated shampoos. Despite their similar names, the shampoos have a lot of differences you should know.

T/Gel is thicker and can help with itching and redness. Meanwhile, T/Sal has an average consistency and can help get rid of flakes.

Read on to learn more about both products.

What Is T/Gel?

T Gel Shampoo

T/Gel is a shampoo from Neutrogena that uses coal tar, but Neutrogena calls it Neutar. The coal tar can help treat certain skin conditions that affect the scalp.

Most commonly, people use it to treat dandruff, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis. Because of the coal tar, T/Gel has a dark brown color and comes in a clear bottle.

What Is T/Sal?

T Sal Shampoo

Neutrogena T/Sal is another medicated shampoo that you can use to treat the skin on your scalp. However, it doesn’t contain any coal tar but uses salicylic acid as the active ingredient.

You can use the shampoo similarly to how you’d use T/Gel. If you have dandruff, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis. T/Sal is a good option.

Major Differences Between T/Gel and T/Sal

T/Gel and T/Sal may serve similar purposes and be appropriate for all hair types. However, they’re two very different shampoos, and you may find you prefer one over the other.

Active Ingredient

T/Gel uses coal tar, which can help treat psoriasis and the itch that comes with the condition. It’s effective and fairly safe to use long-term, but it can make you more sensitive to UV rays.

Meanwhile, T/Sal uses salicylic acid, which many people use for acne. Many people use it with other psoriasis treatments since T/Sal can help soften and eliminate flakes of dead skin.


T Gel Vs. T Sal - Thickness

T/Gel is quite thick due to the coal tar, and that can make it hard to use at first. You need to spend a bit of extra time running it through your hair and to your scalp.

On the other hand, T/Sal’s consistency is similar to that of other shampoos. It’s pretty easy to use and work into a lather to put on your scalp.


If you use T/Gel, you’ll notice it has a strong, unique smell, which comes from the tar. Luckily, the smell goes away quickly after you wash your hair. But you might want to pair the T/Gel with a conditioner with a fragrance you like to help block the tar smell.

T/Sal also smells a bit like a medicated product. However, it has a very mild smell that’s almost impossible to detect. The fragrance it does have smells similar to rubbing alcohol, and you can cover it up with a conditioner.

Conditions It Treats

You can use T/Gel to treat a variety of skin conditions, from dandruff to psoriasis. However, it’s more suitable for minor cases of psoriasis. It can help soothe the itchiness and slow the skin cells’ growth, but you may need more treatments for moderate or severe cases.

T/Sal is also suitable for dandruff, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. It can be more effective than T/Gel for moderate to severe cases since it helps get rid of scalp buildup. Just make sure not to use it more than a couple of times per week so that you can get the best results.


Another difference to consider between T/Gel vs. T/Sal is the goal. With T/Gel, the goal is to target the itching, redness, and flaking of your skin condition. That can help relieve your symptoms and makes it an excellent sole treatment option.

However, T/Sal’s primary goal is to reduce the buildup of flakes and dead skin cells. It can help loosen flakes so that you can wash them out. While you can use T/Sal on its own, it’s usually more effective when you pair it with another cream or a biologic treatment for psoriasis.


T/Gel contains sodium laureth sulfate. Like other sulfates, the ingredient can remove all of your hair’s natural oils and leave your hair dry. Healthy hair needs some amount of oil, so using T/Gel all of the time could damage your hair.

Compare that to T/Sal, which doesn’t contain any sulfates. The product won’t irritate your scalp as much, so you may not have as many adverse effects.


Major Differences Between TGel and TSal

If you want to use T/Gel, you can start with the Original Formula that contains 2% coal tar. There’s also an Extra Strength version with 4% coal tar. That means you can try both varieties to see which works best for you.

Neutrogena only makes one variety of T/Sal with 3% salicylic acid. You won’t find an extra-strength shampoo. If it’s not effective enough for you, you might need to use other treatments that your dermatologist recommends.


Product availability isn’t as significant as ingredients, but it still matters if you want to use a shampoo consistently. T/Gel has been relatively easy to find in pharmacies and grocery stores across the US and online retailers.

Unfortunately, it appears that T/Sal has had a supply chain issue. The product is either not in stock at all, or you’ll only find one or two bottles at your local pharmacy or grocery store. If you can’t use the product consistently, you may not be able to maintain good results.

Before you choose which product to use on your scalp, consider the most significant differences. Then, you can make sure you can take care of your skin and hair.

T/Gel T/Sal
Coal tar Salicylic acid
Quite thick Same consistency as other shampoos
Strong tar smell Minimal smell, like rubbing alcohol
Minor cases of skin conditions Moderate to severe skin conditions
Relieve itching and redness Reduce skin buildup on the scalp
Contains sulfates that can dry your hair Doesn’t contain sulfates
Pretty easy to find for purchase Not consistently in stock
2% and 4% coal tar varieties are available Only one version

So, T/Gel or T/Sal: Which One Is Right for You?

T/Gel is best for people with minor cases of dandruff or other skin conditions. It’s also helpful if you have a lot of itching or redness that you want to treat.

However, T/Sal is more effective if you notice a lot of buildup of dandruff or psoriasis. You may need to combine it with other treatments if you have a severe skin condition.

FAQs About T/Gel & T/Sal

You may still have questions about T/Gel and T/Sal, so here’s what you should know.

Can I use T Gel and T Sal together?

You can use T Gel and T Sal shampoos together, but you should consult your doctor first. Using both can be suitable for moderate and severe cases, but it’s not necessary for everyone.

Does T Gel or T Sal damage hair?

T Gel can damage your hair from the sulfates since they can dry it. Similarly, using T Sal more than twice a week or so can also dry out your hair due to the salicylic acid.

Should I use T Gel and T Sal Shampoo daily?

You shouldn’t use T Gel or T Sal daily. Two times per week is often enough, and you can use another shampoo on the other days you wash your hair.