Do hair products cause acne or are they responsible for your skin issues?
This has been the subject of several email questions lately and the answer is a little bit complicated, as it always is with skin issues.
You may not know this, but over the last one to two years, I have been struggling with acne. I wanted to write about it here but I didn’t really have a solution to share…yet. I’m getting close, and so I’ll be writing about that soon.
Now I don’t believe that hair products themselves cause acne, but there are a few situations when you’re using a lot of product that can cause skin irritations. These irritations are triggers from which you can develop pimples, spots and breakouts.
Here are a few easy steps you can take to minimise the risk.
Fringe benefits… and problems
My first experience of skin issues related to my hair was when I had a fringe (bangs). After a little while, I started noticing really small bumps all over my forehead and I knew it was because of my hair.
I love a fringe but the hair resting on my forehead can be an issue. It easily transfers hair products and the oil from my scalp onto my forehead and causes irritation. If you’ve got oily skin this can really be problem.
An easy way to try and fix this is simply by clipping your hair up whenever you can, like when you’re at home or overnight.
It is also really important to wash your forehead more carefully when you have a fringe. Your hair is resting on it all the time it’s not able to breathe like the rest of your skin. Make sure you’re doing a double cleanse to really wash your face properly at the end of the day. This should minimise any risk you have of skin problems from your fringe.
Skin problems while you sleep
If you wear a lot of hair products every day and then sleep with your hair out, you’re transferring a lot those products to your pillow every night.
Just think about how much hairspray, mousse, wax, pomade – whatever you’re using – is sitting on your pillow every night rubbing against your face. It’s kind of gross, right?
So while I wouldn’t recommend washing your hair every day, because that’s not my style, I do believe in washing your pillowcase more regularly. It’s easy to switch your pillow, or turn it over, so that you can start the night with a fresh pillowcase.
I’d also recommend you clip your hair up while you sleep, I’ve written about my trick to waking up with great hair, as clipping your hair up at night, whether you have straight or curly hair, will mean you wake up with tangle-free and bouncy hair in the morning.
Breakouts on your hairline
Another skin issue that a reader emailed me about is acne or breakouts on their hairline after using certain products. There are three main possible causes – the product is reacting with your skin, you’re using too much product or you’re not rinsing the product out of your hair. So let’s talk about each of those issues and how we can solve them.
1. Product reactions
Firstly, if the product is reacting with your skin, stop using it. There is no reason to keep using a hair product that is causing you to breakout or causing any skin irritation.
What you need to do is look at the label and look for ingredients that could be the cause of the irritation. Compare it to a product you’ve used before that worked fine and see if there’s a difference. Keep a note of any ingredients that you think could be the issue.
2. Using too much product
Excess product on your skin can cause a reaction. This could be true for mousses, hair powders and hair products that are applied close to your scalp.
First check, are you happy from the result you’re getting from your hair products? That’s a good way to tell if it’s actually working for you. If so, try using a little bit less product and see if that makes a difference to your skin.
Also check that you’re washing your face really well each night, and washing right up to your hairline. Make sure that any residue is staying in your hair and is not lying on your skin.
If you really love that product and want to keep using it, just use it a little bit less often and keep it away from your hairline, so that it’s more comfortable for you to use.
3. Product residues
Often hairline breakouts can be caused by leaving rinse-out hair products on your skin.
Some conditioners can be quite heavy on the skin and can block the pores on your skin around your face. Take that extra couple of minutes in the shower to make sure your hair really rinses clean.
Conditioners are usually the problem and one trick is to not put conditioner on your scalp. You don’t really need it there to begin with anyway.
Shampoo the roots of your hair and let it rinse through. Then condition from the mid lengths to the ends and that’s how the two products work together to really clean and nourish your hair.
So, do hair products cause acne?
Sometimes, but the issue could be more about actually cleaning your skin and keeping the products in the right place rather than letting them rest on your skin.
Now if you do break out, it’s really important to not go crazy and try and scrub and over clean your skin. Acne is an inflammation and you really need to be gentle on your skin to help it heal.
Be careful of products that are too drying. Although you do want to remove some of the oil, skin that’s too dry can’t heal and you will be left with red marks.
Has anyone else suffered with skin issues or acne from using hair products? Or just general adult acne like me? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below. What was the cause of your breakouts and what actually fixed the problem for you?