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Your Hair Styling Products Might Be Causing Acne

Posted by Jasmine M. on

Your Hair Styling Products Might Be Causing Acne

woman with short brunette hair getting a hair combing at a salon

Taking care of your hair can be an amazing part of any self-care routine. New hairstyles, secured with hairsprays, pomades, and gels, always seem to make us feel fresh. However, if you notice that your skin is breaking out, especially in certain places, then your hair styling products might be contributing to acne. This happens the most frequently with acne prone skin, oily skin, and with people who use curly hair products. Check out today’s blog, to discover some useful tips and tricks for keeping your hair care routine acne free!

What Causes Acne?

woman with curly red hair throwing her hands up in frustration and confusion

Figuring out what’s causing your acne can be confusing and flustering. Acne is usually caused when the pores in our skin become clogged, leading to inflammation. This process can be linked to other factors too like: bacteria imbalances (often linked to sugary diets and allergies) and hormonal changes (like puberty). However, what many people don’t expect, is that hair products touching the skin, can also be major contributors to acne. Leave-in hair products, like hairsprays, are usually designed to make the hair appear glossy, and shiny, or to hold the hair in a certain shape. Some products even attempt to nourish the hair, making it softer and healthier. The issue is that many commercial hair products are full of thick oils and butters as well as alcohols and a long list of chemicals. In the article Hair Product Ingredients That Cause Acne, we are reminded that these ingredients, when they do touch the skin, can clog pores, cause irritation, and ultimately lead to breakouts. Additionally, hair products designed for curly hair, which tends to be especially dry, are often labeled as “moisturizing.” Unfortunately, these same products are notorious for containing excessive amounts of oil, leading to breakouts.

Where on The Face Does Hair-Product Related Acne Show Up?

woman face with circles around acne prone zones from a cause of oily hair products

One of the best ways to find out whether your acne is being caused by hair products is to look at where acne is showing up on your body. Acne that shows up along the hairline, on the cheeks (where longer hair touches), or on the shoulders and the top of the back, might be caused by hair touching those parts of the body.

Washing and Conditioning Your Hair

bald man showering with a slight smile outside with green foliage behind him

One of the best ways to stop breakouts, is to focus on moisturizing your hair  when you shower, rather than adding in lots of leave in products afterwards. In the shower, start with a good quality, natural shampoo. You want to cleanse your scalp thoroughly, without stripping your hair of moisture. You can even make your own hair shampoo, by following the Devoted Things Herbal Shampoo Recipes. Next, you can use a rich, nourishing conditioner, and leave it in for 10 or 15 minutes. I personally shampoo my hair once a week, but I rinse and condition my hair every day. What’s most important, is that you thoroughly wash your face, with a cleanser, after you’ve finished rinsing conditioner out of your hair. This ensures that any residue from your conditioner is removed from your skin.

Styling Products

Everyone’s hair needs are different, and what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another. For me, using natural hair products, is one of the best things I’ve done for my hair and my skin, too. There are only two leave-in hair products that I use in my hair. For shine, I use the Devoted Things Hair Shine Spray, which I spray on, and smooth in with my hands, after towel drying my hair. This doesn’t irritate my skin at all, even if it touches my face. When I do this on damp hair, I notice that my hair stays feeling nourished throughout the day. However, sometimes I need a bit more hold. In those instances, I make my own hair gel out of flax seeds and water! This is extremely easy to do and inexpensive. Most importantly, the gel is extremely effective. Youtuber Whitney White has an awesome Flax Seed Gel Recipe video up on Youtube, where she teaches you exactly how to make this life-saver!     

Other Options

If you find that you can’t avoid using products with chemicals and lots of different oils in them, there are still things you can do to protect your skin. Try to keep your hair in up-do’s like ponytails and buns. If you prefer to wear your hair down, you can use a headband to push the hair away from your face. Make sure to wash your face thoroughly before you go to sleep, to remove any hair product residue. Finally, when you go to bed, you can wear a bonnet, or wrap your hair in a silk scarf, to keep it off your pillow, and away from your skin at night.


I've been using the Hair Shine spray for about 6 weeks, My hair doesn't get dry at all, and it feels much smoother than it did when I used to use chemical based gels and hairsprays. Something that has helped me to get the best results with my spray is to use a really rich conditioner in the shower first, as I mentioned above. Recently, I've been loving Aveda's Curly Hair conditioners. When it comes to my flax seed gel, I also tried something new recently. Instead of using plain water in my gel, I'm using 50% water, 50% Rose Water, and just a few small drops of Rosehip oil. That combination is working really well for me, and it smells amazing. Overall, keeping my hair away from my face, avoiding chemicals and heavy leave in products, and sticking with natural products has done wonders for my hair and my skin!

Peace and Love!

                                 Jasmine M.




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