The Connection Between Hair Care Products And Acne

You wash your face and do your skincare routine every night, yet you’re still dealing with stubborn acne. If this rings true to you, your hair care products may be to blame. Hair care products and acne have a surprising link, as the oil in hair products can clog your skin’s pores leading to breakouts.

Hair Care Products And Acne

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne caused by hair care products will often be whiteheads or tiny flesh-colored bumps called papules, and it’s quite common! So common there is a medical term for it— acne cosmetica.  At Blue Ridge Dermatology, we understand the frustrating link between haircare products and acne. To combat this phenomenon, you must first understand the basics.

What Is Acne Cosmetica?

Acne cosmetica is acne that is caused by pore-clogging cosmetics that contain irritating ingredients. Some symptoms can include tiny, itchy, or rash-like bumps on your face, blackheads on the forehead, cheeks, chin, and scalp, or localized breakouts. Oftentimes, makeup, skincare products, and hair care products are comedogenic, meaning pore clogging, which can lead to this type of acne. This type of acne is most commonly found along the hairline or on the face and neck. Acne cosmetica rarely occurs instantly after exposure to certain products or chemicals. In fact, the breakouts can take anywhere from a couple of days to six weeks to form!

How Can I Get Rid Of This Acne?

The first step in getting rid of acne cosmetica is to identify the culprit. Because this type of acne can appear on the forehead, cheeks, or neck, it is essential to first identify which products you use that come in direct contact with the affected area. Usually, dermatologists will recommend combating acne with ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or adapalene. These ingredients work to either fight acne-causing bacteria or unclog pores.

How Can I Prevent This Acne?

The best way to prevent acne due to hair care products or skincare products is to know your ingredients. It is important to read labels or check with your dermatologist before purchasing anything new. Keep an eye out for these pore-clogging ingredients used in cosmetic products, including:

  • Lanolin
  • Butyl stearate
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Isopropyl myristate
  • Oleic acid

Other products known to cause acne cosmetica include hair oils, hair masks, conditioners, heavy moisturizers, eye creams, and makeup. Don’t count anything out too quickly— it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to see improvement in your skin once you stop using certain products.

How Can A Dermatologist Help?

A dermatologist can help to link haircare products to acne and make suggestions based on your individual and unique case. If you suspect that your skin or hair products are the culprits for your breakouts, follow these tips to clear up your skin:

  • Opt for moisturizer, makeup, and hair care products that are non-comedogenic and that don’t contain harsh chemicals or ingredients
  • Ensure your products aren’t expired
  • Wash your face when you wake up and before going to bed
  • Get rid of products that you think may be causing breakouts
  • Start a skin detox which can be helpful in the identification of irritating products

Not knowing the cause of your acne can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you have tried several at-home remedies to try and clear it up. If your acne doesn’t seem to resolve, a dermatologist can help you achieve clearer skin and identify underlying causes.

The relationship between haircare products and acne can leave you feeling like it’s one or the other: nice hair or clear skin. However, after reading the basics, you can now have both! Do you have more questions about the connection between hair care products? Contact us at (919) 781-1050.

You might also enjoy

Scroll to Top