Is your shampoo causing acne? The question isn’t as crazy as you think.
Every day, millions of women break out around their hairlines or in the middle of their foreheads. Yet they never have a single pimple on the rest of their faces. So what gives?
It turns out if you’re getting acne around your hairline, on your shoulders or upper back, hair products may be the culprit, says Dr. Annie Chiu, a dermatologist and the director of The Derm Institute in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Shampoos, conditioners, gels, mousses and hairsprays all have ingredients that can cause a problem.
In fact, these blemishes even have their own name — pomade acne — because they’re often caused by products with a thick consistency like pomades.
“These products often contain petrolatum or mineral oil,” says Dr. Chiu. “They build up on the skin and cause breakouts near the hairline.” But she points out that some flare-ups could be an allergic reaction. The main difference? “Allergic reactions tend to be itchy,” she says.
Don’t worry. You may not have to toss all your favorite hair products just yet. First and foremost it’s important to figure out what’s causing the problem.
Here are six tips to help you avoid those dreaded breakouts on your forehead:
1. Avoid pore-clogging ingredients.
“Oil-based products tend to trap the most bacteria and create a breeding ground for acne,” says Dr. Chiu. Read the labels, and steer clear of products that contains petroleum, silicones, jojoba oil, mineral oil and shea butter.
Another ingredient to avoid? Panthenol. “It is a popular ingredient for providing strength to the hair, but it needs to be combined with heavy oil-soluble ingredients,” she says. In other words, give panthenol a pass.
2. Go for H20.
She recommends using water-based products. When you read the ingredient list, “water [should] be one of the first three ingredients listed.” Also look for shampoos that contain salicylic acid, which help balance oils on the face and scalp.
3. Wash your face after you’ve shampooed and conditioned your hair.
This will ensure you’ve remove all residual product, says Dr. Chiu. “It’s like washing a car, you want to go from the top to the bottom!”
4. Use care when styling hair.
You don’t want to accidentally transfer the products from your hands to your face. “Use a damp washcloth or an alcohol-free toner to remove excess product that may have gotten on your skin,” says Dr. Chiu.
5. Try not to touch your hair.
Don’t let hair hang in your face. (We know. We sound like your mom!) Also avoid touching or playing with your hair and then touching your skin.
6. Protect your face while you sleep.
Residue and oils from hair and hair products end up on your pillowcases and cause breakouts when we lie on them. “You should always put your hair up before bed and change your pillowcase often,” she advises.
So go ahead. Invest in some fun hairbands. And, yes, keep those hands away from your gorgeous locks!