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Are Your Hair Products Making You Break Out?

If your skincare regimen is dialed in, but you’re still seeing pesky breakouts, pomade acne may be to blame. Pomade acne is the term for pimples caused by hair products, and it typically shows up on your hairline, around your jaw or cheeks, and on your upper back or shoulders. Haircare is important, but many popular styles and products wreak havoc on your skin. Read on to learn how to tackle this troubling skin frustration.

Switch up your style

Whenever your hair touches your skin, any lingering oils or products are transferred from your strands to your skin. The most common pore-clogging culprits are bangs, which trap products on your forehead, preventing skin from breathing. Keeping hair off your face is critical, but wearing hats and thick headbands can also irritate your hairline by trapping sweat and bacteria against the skin. To avoid the ill effects of a new ‘do, try regularly switching up your style (especially if you have long hair), so it doesn’t hit the same spots each day. Instead of hats or headbands, use pins or clips to pull back unruly locks when sweating or a scrunchie when sleeping with unwashed hair. Even better: change your pillowcases daily!

Change the way you wash

Like your face, it’s essential to cleanse and moisturize hair. However, many common shampoos and conditioners are packed with ingredients that negatively affect your complexion. Sulfates (especially sodium lauryl sulfate) create the foaming effect in many shampoos but also act as a detergent that may irritate sensitive skin. Oil-based products containing silicone create a layer on top of the skin that locks in moisture but traps sebum and bacteria. Panthenol can strengthen hair, but when combined with other oil-soluble ingredients in hair conditioner, it repels water and clogs pores. To figure out what’s causing your acne, try substituting a sulfate-free baby shampoo as a gentle alternative. Not ready to toss your bottles? Change the way you wash. When showering, wash, condition, and rinse your hair before cleansing your face and body. This will clear your pores of any lingering irritants before stepping out of the shower.

Check the labels on your styling products

It’s important to remember that whatever you put in your hair will eventually end up on your skin. Ideally, you should look for styling products that are water or glycerin-based. Avoid hairsprays, gels, and frizz serums that contain drying alcohols, oils, silicone, or plasticizers known to clog pores and cause inflammation. And take it easy on the dry shampoo! Overuse can cause blemish-causing build-up, resulting in breakouts along your hairline. Regardless of product, use your fingers or a comb to apply (or cover your face with a towel if you must spray). Also, make sure to finish doing your hair before washing your face and applying makeup.


Think your hair might be causing breakouts? Comment below, and I’ll help you figure it out!

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