Does Shampoo Cause Acne?

Posted on: August 4th, 2009 | Filed under acne product selection

Shampoo is something most of us use on a bi-daily, if not daily basis. It not only comes into contact with our hair, but also our skin. Hence, it is surprising why few question the link between shampoo use and acne. Shampoo contains a number of ingredients that can contribute, or outright trigger the development of acne. The ingredients of a particular shampoo are not always to blame for bothersome breakouts. In many cases, people use shampoo improperly and are thus left to suffer the consequences. In this post, we will explore what you should look for in a shampoo, as well as how you should use such a shampoo to ensure that acne stays at bay.

Many of us have been at one time or another lured in by those very convincing shampoo commercials. Who doesn’t want silky and radiant hair? What they don’t tell you is that the cost of such beauty can be tremendous. Shampoo makers utilize a number of questionable ingredients that can exacerbate an existing case of acne, or outright create one. Let’s start off with one of the more menacing ingredients: oils. Those shampoos that promise you exquisite hair often feature a number of different oils. These oils can combine with dead skin cells and other contaminants on your skin to clog pores. Taking hot showers can drastically worsen this effect. The steam from the shower opens pores, allowing the oil to more easily penetrate. Shampoo oils essentially do your skin a big disfavor. Acne that comes as a result of shampoo can often be seen near the hairline in the form of comedonal acne. If you have substantial amounts of acne in this area, your shampoo may be to blame. Those of you currently using shampoos enriched with various oils and such should consider switching to an oil-free product immediately. Your hair will likely not suffer as a result.

A bigger culprit that rarely receives attention goes by the name of Sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical is a foaming agent that creates a lather effect when combined with hard water. Soaps lacking this ingredient will not react favorably with hard water, forming soap scum. Over eighty percent of homes within the United States receive hard water, making sodium lauryl sulfate (as well as Sodium laureth sulfate) essential ingredients in just about every cleaning product – from shampoos to industrial cleaners. You heard right, industrial cleaners. The chemical, while not officially labeled a carcinogen, is classified as a pesticide. This should shed sufficient insight into its overall safety. Sodium lauryl sulfate can be extremely irritating to the skin, even in negligible concentrations. The chemical is also believed to contribute to hair loss. This has been known for decades, however, very little has been done to replace the chemical with a safer counterpart. Acne sufferers are strongly advised against using shampoos that contain this harmful chemical. Nearly all popular brands of shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate, so it may be a bit of a challenge trying to track down the right product. Those of you that consider yourselves “risk takers” may choose to mitigate the use of shampoo altogether. A movement is currently underway that seeks to encourage the use of shampoo alternatives. Commercially available shampoo is swapped with baking soda and vinegar in one’s hair care regimen. This is definitely not something for everyone, however, a viable alternative for those willing to try.

Shampoo oftentimes necessitates improper facilitation in order to trigger the development of acne. When used properly, oils and other additives in shampoo will have a minimal effect on acne breakouts. The primary mistake most of make in shampooing is failing to properly rinse the substance off. Ultimately, the shampoo lingers on the skin in and around our hairline, causing acne. You need to let water run over you hair for adequate amounts of time before getting out of the shower and drying your hair. Point the shower head just above your head, turn your back towards it, and lean your head backwards. As the water runs through your hair, massage your head. After a few minutes have passed and you can no longer feel the shampoo suds in your hair, you are ready to get out of the shower. Changing your posture so that your back is turned to the shower is extremely important, as to ensure the shampoo does not make contact with your face. This should substantially reduce aggravation. You also want to lean your head somewhat backwards as to keep the shampoo off your back. Shampoo is just as effective in creating back acne (bacne) as it is in creating facial acne. If you find that shampoo still makes it way to your back, you should clean it with soap after you have finished washing your hair.

Shampoo is a largely ignored culprit in the fight against acne. Be observant while shopping for shampoo and modify your hair washing technique per the recommendations made above. Small changes such as these can go a long way in giving your clear and beautiful skin for years to come. If you are on the fence about a particular product, you should conduct some additional research. We are always free to answer such questions if need be. Best of luck in your journey towards clear skin!

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