Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are your hair products breaking you out?

It's bad enough having sensitive skin, but when a hair styling product is a contributer to acne and clogged pores...c'mon! One of my readers asked me how to cope with this issue. Having to choose between perfectly coiffed hair and flawless skin is just unfair...we want both!!

First things first, time for me to lay down a little wisdom: The scientific word for clogged pores (aka pimples, acne, stuff everyone hates) is comedones. Substances that clog pores are thereby known as comedogenic. For people with sensitive, acne-prone skin, it is important to use products that contain non-comedogenic ingredients. 

Instead of me listing off all comedogenic substances, I thought it would be more beneficial to give some general tips:

  • Avoid getting hair products directly on your skin. As this is probably hard to do, make sure to rinse your skin well afterwards to remove any product residue.
  • Try to use hair products that are made from water or glycerine instead of oil or petroleum. Look for labels that say 'contain noncomedogenic ingredients'.
  • Wash your hands well after applying product to your hair in order to minimize transferring product from your hands to your skin.
  • Don't use shampoo+conditioner mixes. These contain thick, rich ingredients that can increase the risk of acne.
  • Don't use hair products if you anticipate that you'll be exercising or sweating. This may lead to the product dripping down onto your face.
Here are a few products that I read about online that won't break you out. I haven't tried all of these myself, so please take these recommendations with a grain of salt!
  • Baby Shampoo - gentle and mild enough for a baby's skin, but can cleanse an adult's scalp just as well
  • Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel - made with all natural, organic ingredients.
  • Aloe Vera Gel (any brand) - handy to keep around as it doubles as relief for sunburn and skin irritiations
  • Men's Science hair product line - a bit pricey, but labeled as noncomedogenic
  • Giovanni hair product line - made with all natural ingredients
Check out this link for a more comprehensive list of "safe" hair care products.

Though this post is about hair products, comedogenic substances can be in creams, lotions, etc. Be aware of what you are putting on your skin, especially your face! Check out the labels/ingredients if you are acne-prone. You could be making your situation worse without even knowing it!

Happy hair styling everyone :)


  1. I have always been weary of the shampoo conditioner combinations. I was wondering whether you knew anything about using a shampoo conditioner combo, rinsing then using a normal conditioner like the tresseme natural moisturizing conditioner? As a male with thinning hair, most shampoos I use to thicken my hair are those combo deals, but they leave your hair feeling incredibly dry.

  2. Thanks for the post! The Tresemme shampoo and conditioner (individually bottled) seem soothing and sulphate free.

    I noticed that breakouts occurred less when washing twice a day with exfoliator facewashes. Do you have any recommendations or does it not really matter?

    And, how often would you use oil? Every week, few days, day, or never? Would you use sesame, baby, almond, or cooling oil ( for your scalp or hair?

  3. @ GK: As far as exfoliating goes, I do it once weekly before bed. I like Aveeno's Skin Brightening Exfoliating Cleanser. Over exfoliating can be rough on your skin...try using a mild cleanser instead, I recommend Noxzema Original. I do not use hair oil on my scalp very often, but when I do, I've used baby and coconut, both have relieved itchy, dry scalp. I use Giovanni anti-frizz serum on the ends of my hair to keep them from drying out.