I don’t personally use a lot of hair products. I did in years past. Like most men in the 90s I would gel my hair up like a Backstreet Boy. Then in the 2000’s I would scruff it up with a matte finish wax or paste. Going out in my early 20’s I would add hairspray for reasons I can’t recall and until recently I would add oil to condition and treat my beard.

However I’ve now adopted what I consider to be the peak of masculinity – the shaved head. What grunts masculine more than a man who shaved his head to avoid washing it or applying products, yet at the same time sports a healthy beard? Nothing, and as you can read, I’m really chuffed with myself.

So now that I’ve all but done away with hair products, I’m to learn that they can in fact contribute to acne break outs! So it looks like my idea had more benefit than I initially appreciated!

You may not have considered it previously, but the hair products you use can affect the health of your skin. Acne caused by pimples caused by hair products are referred to as “pomade acne”.

Hair products will affect people to different degrees, as everyone’s skin is different. The most common problematic additives and chemicals in hair products include:

  • Petroleum-based products (often in serums and masks)

  • Fragrances

  • Sulphates (common in shampoo)

  • Silicones (also common in shampoos and conditioners)

Just as how you would take caution to oily moisturisers, you should take the same care with oil-based or cream based products such as hair masks. These can clog pores and continue to do so after you’ve washed the product out.

Now I’m thinking those beard oils were a bad idea!

Break outs that occur at the hairline or sideburn area are a logical connection to the hair products you use. However dermatologists can also connect product used to cases of pomade acne on the upper forehead and jaw.

Upon reflection, I had a period where I was almost clear of acne, save for troublesome spots across my upper forehead. Since shaving my head, this hasn’t been a problem.

Logically, as you apply hair spray is will not fall exclusively to your hair. The spray can fall on your face, shoulders and neck. Even gels, oils or waves can cause breakouts as they come into contact with your scalp and during a workout, or a hot day can cause the product to dilute and travel down your face.

When applying shampoo or conditioner, be sure to wash them out thoroughly and quickly after applying. I like to use the SkinB5 Cleansing mousse in the shower, and it would be helpful to use this after shampooing.

If you are concerned one of your hair products could be causing break outs, stop using them (if possible) for a week or so, and slowly introduce shampoos or waxes one at a time. Should you notice any changes this could help identify problematic products!

Alternatively, you can follow my lead and shave it all off. However if you’d like to keep your hair, trial different products and see what works for your skin. You may be surprised by the difference it can make!

Who is Nick Bell?

Nick joins SkinB5 as a writer, contributing monthly to the blog.

A mid-twenties Melburnian cliche, the bearded student suffers wanderlust, a soft spot of his city’s cafe culture and a love of cycling. He writes from experience, having suffered acne himself throughout both high school and university,  and it’s something he still battles today. Nick also writes a personal blog where he is documenting his journey for clear skin with SkinB5, having previously given up after years of ineffective products and medications.