Hairline acne is mostly caused by hair products high on grease and oil. These hair products are mainly used to improve the hair’s manageability and texture. The products are acne causing (comedogenic), and if they spread to the forehead, hairline or temples, they cause closely packed papular and comedonal acne. Hairline acne can be quite uncomfortable and embarrassing. It’s right there on the forehead so it’s clearly visible. Attempts to cover it may worsen the situation.
There is a solution to this problem, however, and you don’t have to stay home till the acne disappears.
Causes of acne on hairline
Hairstyling products are the main cause of hairline breakouts. The problem is usually in the usage. As you apply them or wash your hair with them, they touch your hairline and chances are that they will clog the pores and prevent the skin from breathing on your hairline. The acne can be caused by products such as shampoos, conditioners, style holders and heat protectants. The products are formulated so that they stick to the hair. This is how they work efficiently. This is great for the hair but not for the skin. The products contain thickening agents, quaternium, acrylates, emollients and other products that by nature clog pores.
Hairline acne can also be due to use of pomades. These are waxy, greasy or water-based substances used to make the hair shiny and give it a slick appearance. Hairline acne caused by pomades is referred to as pomade acne. Pomades clog pores since they have a thick texture. Pomade acne is mostly seen in teenagers and African American’s who use scalp oils, waxes and gels. This is according to Marke Lee, in his book, Skin Care Beyond the Basics. This waxes and oils contain oils, fatty acids and fatty acid derivatives. Gels, on the other hand, contain a stiff plastic polymer that clogs the skin surface if applied to the skin (the forehead area).
Styling products can cause acne on the hairline especially for people with bangs or those who try to control their baby hairs. Hairsprays, lotions, waxes and gels can also get on the hairline skin especially if you are rocking a fringe or if your hairstyle has hair constantly rubbing against your face. Applying too much of the product and subsequently sweating a lot can clog hairline pores and lead to breakouts.
How to prevent it
This may be the most difficult thing to do especially if your hair is oily.
The following are ways you can protect yourself from acne on the hairline.
- Use shampoos that are meant to calm oil production.
- Use gentle conditioners.
- When applying conditioner, apply it to the hair endings to prevent break outs.
- Do not touch your hairline with the products or your forehead area.
- After shampooing or conditioning your hair, follow up with hairline and face cleansing. This will help remove products from these areas.
- Don’t use too much conditioner. Use only the necessary amount.
- Avoid the hairline and face when applying styling products.
- Do not apply styling products to the hair touching your face.
- Use silicone serums since they cause no problems to the skin. Silicone will not suffocate the skin since it’s breathable.
- If still getting breakouts even after following the above prevention techniques, switch to a liquid cleanser that is gentle. Bar soaps and other cleansers contain a binding agent that helps them maintain their shape/ form. The binding agent clogs pores.
- Do not sleep in makeup.
- When sleeping, use clean sheets and pillow cases. Wash them with gentle or mild detergents with no fragrances or dyes.
- Do not touch your hairline. If you must scratch an itch, use a gloved hand or tissue so that you create a barrier between your hairline skin and your fingers.
- Exfoliate regularly.
Treatments to get rid of hairline acne
If you have break outs at the hairline, these steps will help you get rid of hairline acne:
- Cleanse your skin using a well formulated gentle liquid cleanser. Do not use bar soaps. Cleansing the skin will get rid of break outs.
- Exfoliate using products that contain salicylic acid. You can use BHA exfoliant. This will help get rid of any dead skin and help unclog clogged pores. Salicylic acid exfoliates the pores and also contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
- Use benzoyl peroxide to treat the skin. It’s a disinfectant that prevents acne breakouts while also reducing redness. It penetrates the skin pores and gets rid of acne causing bacteria.
- If you suffer from pomade acne, switch to a water-based pomade. This one tends to be thinner and will most likely not cause breakouts. If the breakouts happen, quit using any form of pomade.
If even after changing your makeup and hair care routine, the breakouts still happen on your hairline, see a dermatologist. Chronic acne can be healed, and your dermatologist will work with you to get a cure. Sometimes it’s just because your skin is different from another and what worked for them may not work for you. A professional will advise you on what products are best for your skin type.
- Skin Care: Beyond the Basics By Mark Lees
- Clearing Concepts: A Guide to Acne Treatment By Mark Lees