10 Hair Mistakes That Cause Acne

You've probably never thought that your hair has anything to do with acne on your face. However, your hair care habits, some hair products and even hairstyles could be the root of the problem.

January 15, 2022 5 minutes read
Woman playing with her hair

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Proper cleansing and skincare aren't the only staples for healthy skin and a clear complexion. Odds are you've never made this connection, but your hair care also has a lot to do with keeping your acne at bay.

So, if you've been battling acne by boosting your skincare routine with a bunch of different products to no avail, the answer might just be in your hair care. It's only logical as your hair constantly touches your face – hence, what's in your hair eventually ends up on your skin.

Therefore, if you're suddenly breaking out, but don't know the reason, try these simple hair hacks and tips – just a few tweaks here and there can be life-changing.

#1: Wearing Bangs = Forehead Woes

woman with bangs blowing raspberry

If your hair tends to get oily quickly, plus you have bangs – this might be the root of the problem. Usually, oily hair and skin impurities go hand in hand. In addition, bangs are in constant touch with your forehead, causing more sweat and oil to pile up on your skin.

So, if you're battling with forehead acne, rocking bangs might be the cause of your woes. Therefore, try giving your forehead a bangs-break whenever you have a chance by pinning them back. Or, if washing your hair daily sounds like overkill, you could try washing only your bangs whenever you feel like wearing them down.

#2: Too Much Heat Styling

woman holding hair styling heat tools

If you're a fan of blowouts and style your hair often with a hairdryer, you might irritate your skin and cause breakouts. Additionally, the intense and constant heat from a blow dryer can dry out your scalp and the skin on your face. This, in turn, leads to your skin producing more oils (to compensate for the dryness), leading to more acne and blemishes.

Therefore, for that gorgeous wavy style, you could give those heatless curls a shot. You can do overnight braids or try headbands – braid your hair (or wrap it around a stretchy headband) while it's still damp before going to bed. You just need to brush your hair in the morning, and you'll have beautiful loose curls – and healthy hair and skin.

#3: Skipping Washing After Workout

woman jumping

Sweat can clog your pores, and if you're not washing your face after a workout, you'll likely break out. The same applies to your hair and scalp. After an intense workout, the sweat collects along your hairline, causing acne and blemishes.

So, try washing your hair after exercising. If you exercise every day, you should use a gentle cleanser or baby shampoo to avoid a dry and itchy scalp. Or, if that's too much effort, you can go with your face cleanser over your hairline after each workout and make sure to get rid of all the sweat and dirt sitting there.

#4: Leaving Your Hair Down While Sleeping

woman sleeping with her hair down

If your hair tends to be greasy (or you like to condition it with overnight oil treatments), you shouldn't leave it down while sleeping. The oils and dirt from your hair will transfer onto your pillowcase and your skin, again leading to acne.

In any case, it might help to braid your hair before going to bed. Another option would be using a hair bonnet (this is especially handy for ladies with shorter, bob haircuts).

#5: Showering in the Wrong Order

woman thinking and having her hair wrapped in a towel

Washing your hair first and then the rest of your body would be the proper showering order to avoid breakouts. This way, you're making sure that all your hair products, like shampoo, oils, and conditioners, are nicely rinsed from your hair and off your skin.

#6: Wearing Hair Accessories Too Often

two women holding hats in front of their faces

Admittedly, scarves, bandanas, and hats are cute and helpful (especially during summer) hair accessories. However, wearing them too often can lead to clogged pores and acne since these are usually quite tight around your head.

Therefore, if you can't (or don't want to) get rid of your favorite hats and bandanas, at least make an effort to wash and change them regularly. During summer, you should be particularly diligent about it.

#7: Getting Hair Products Onto Your Face

hairdresser spraying hair spray on her customer's hair

This one is easily overlooked, especially if you're usually getting your hair done as the last step of your night-out beauty routine. Getting your hair products, like hair spray, onto your face can irritate your skin and clog your pores, causing breakouts.

Therefore, try to reverse your beauty steps and do your hair first. Then, after washing your face, you can go on with your makeup. Also, it would help if you chose hair products that are water-based (or glycerin-based) as these are less likely to be irritating and pore-clogging.

#8: Same Hairstyle Every Day

young woman holding her pony tail

Like wearing bangs, wearing the same hairstyle most of the time will have a similar effect on your skin – as your hair is touching the same part of your face day in and day out. Again, this leads to dirt and oil build-up in a particular face area, causing clogged pores and acne.

So, switch it up from time to time, and spice up your life with different hairstyles. This will help not only your skin but your hair as well (and your mood).

#9: Dandruff as the Main Culprit

woman scratching her itchy scalp

Believe it or not, dandruff is one of the most common causes of acne. Those dry skin flakes can easily get in touch with your skin while playing with your hair or combing it, for example. In addition, they are usually mixed up with oils and dirt from your scalp – a dangerous combination for your skin.

With this in mind, try using anti-dandruff shampoo at least once a week and see if your skin condition improves after a month or two. Also, avoid applying your hair conditioner close to your scalp, as it can aggravate your skin and cause more dandruff.

#10: Kissing Your Bearded Beau

man combing his beard

Sometimes it's not only your hair that's to blame. While it may be attractive, a beard can often cause skin irritation and breakouts. And, no, we're not suggesting this is a bad habit and that you should stop making out with your guy. However, if you can't get him to shave, you should take special care of your skin. Even more so if you have extra sensitive skin and even a one-day beard causes you to break out.

In any case, you should soothe your irritated skin with creams and masks containing aloe vera, peptides, allantoin, licorice root, cucumber, niacinamide, and chamomile. These ingredients will calm your skin down and prevent inflammation and beard-caused acne.

To Wrap Up

If you find some of these hair mistakes apply to you, try our skin-friendly hair tips and hacks and see how your skin reacts. They are all easy to do; you just need to stick to them. And once your complexion starts to clear up, you'll never want to go back to your old ways.


Can my hair be causing my acne?

Yes, sometimes your hair care habits, products, and hairstyles can be the main culprit for acne on your face and body. For example, if you don't rinse your hair conditioner off your body, it may, over time, lead to acne on your back and buttocks.

What hair ingredients cause acne?

The ingredients in your hair conditioner, such as various plant oils and butters as well as silicones, and the ingredients in your shampoo, like sulfates, may clog the pores and irritate your skin, leading to acne.

How do I know if my hair products cause acne?

If you notice your skin is constantly breaking out on your back, shoulders, hairline, forehead, or buttocks, it's highly likely that your hair products are causing them. In that case, wash and condition your hair first, and after rinsing it, wash your body.

Does coconut oil on hair cause acne?

Coconut oil is highly comedogenic, which means it can clog the pores and lead to acne. If you use coconut oil as your hair conditioner, make sure to wash your face and body thoroughly after the coconut treatment to avoid any residue on your skin.

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