Hair Product Ingredients that Cause Acne

Want beautiful hair and acne-free skin? You need to become an ingredient detective. 

If you have acne, avoid products that add oil to your hair. If it says “oil-free,” it may still contain ingredients that cause breakouts. Isopropyl myristate, all oils (except sunflower, safflower and tea tree), sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium chloride are commonly found ingredients in hair products that you should avoid. Wash and condition your hair before washing your face and body to remove any residue the hair products tend to leave on your skin. After rinsing your shampoo and conditioner, wash well with an approved cleanser so it’s the last thing that touches your skin.

To prevent pimples, consider a few changes to your hair routine.

  1. Style your hair before you apply your makeup, then wash your hands thoroughly to remove all hair products before you touch your face. Some of these products really stick, so you will need to wash your hands twice.
  2. Cover your face before you use hair spray. Check out beauty supply stores for a plastic face shield (or just use a hand towel).
  3. Don’t touch your hair and then your face once you’ve applied styling products, since that will just transfer hair product to your skin.
  4. Choose a hairstyle that doesn’t come in contact with your forehead or cheek area.
  5. Wash your hair before you go to bed to remove hair products that cause acne.
  6. Pull hair away from your face with a ponytail or bun when you sleep.
  7. Trade out your pillowcase every 2-3 days and avoid sleeping on dirty pillowcases.
  8. Use a headband to keep sweat and hair products from running down your face.
  9. To be on the safe side, only use approved shampoo, conditioner and leave-on hair products.


Here is a list of ingredients that cause acne. Ditch any of your hair products that have these ingredients. If breakouts just recently started happening, what new products have you been using? Stop using them for several weeks and see if your skin clears.

  • Argan Oil (MoroccanOil)
  • Apricot Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Peach Kernel Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Shea Butter
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Oleic Acid (and its derivatives)
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Decyl Oleate
  • Isodecyl Oleate
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Botanicals
  • Algae extract
  • Carageenan
  • Red Algae
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Isoparaffin C13-14
  • Isopropyl Linoleate
  • Isopropyl Lanolate


  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Myristyl Propionate
  • Myreth 3 Myristate
  • Butyl Stearate
  • Isostearyl Isostearate
  • PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
  • Isocetyl Stearate
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Isostearyl Alcohol
  • Octyl Dodecanol
  • Isocetyl Alcohol
  • Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth-20 (in combination)
  • Glyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Polyglyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Laureth-4
  • Laureth-23
  • Steareth-10
  • Oleth-3
  • PPG 5 ceteth 10 phosphate
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE (must have SE)
  • Trideceth
  • Lauric Acid
  • Isostearic Acid
  • Cetyl Acetate
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Isopropyl Linolate
  • Isostearyl Isostearate
  • Stearyl Heptanoate
  • Sodium Chloride


DISCLAIMER: Hair companies change their ingredients so often we can’t always keep up, and only find out when a client starts breaking out, so the “approved” products listed below may no longer be safe. Always check the ingredient lists on any products you put on your hair (which transfers to your forehead, jawline, neck, shoulders, back and chest) against the Pore-Clogging Ingredients List to ensure the products you are putting on your hair are still safe for acne. And please let us know if you come across any products that are no longer approved. Our acne community thanks you for your input!

  • While a product may have been approved in the past, it may no longer be approved because:
  • A new pore-clogging ingredient has come to our attention
  • Our large and active client base begins to have problems with certain products or ingredients
  • Manufacturers change their formulas
  • Sources we previously used to check ingredient lists turned out to be incorrect
  • Just because one product in a line is approved it does not mean the entire line is approved
  • Just because one product is approved it does not mean the matching product(s) are


  • SEEN Shampoo, Fragrance Free
  • Kevin.Murphy Balancing.Wash Strengthening Daily Shampoo
  • Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Scalp Build-Up Control Shampoo
  • ABBA Gentle Shampoo
  • Biosilk Color Therapy Shampoo
  • Joico Color Endure Shampoo
  • Mastey Traite Sulfate Free Normal To Dry Shampoo

Dry Shampoo

  • Cake Beauty The All Powderful Dry Styling
  • R+Co DEATH VALLEY Dry Shampoo
  • Neil George Refresh Dry Shampoo
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo
  • blowpro Faux Dry Shampoo
  • Marc Anthony True Professional 2nd Day Clear Dry Shampoo for All Hair Types
  • Tresemme Fresh Start Basic Care Dry Shampoo


  • L’Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Conditioner for Color Treated Hair
  • Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Sheer Moisture Conditioner Cucumber & Green Tea
  • Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Conditioner Citrus
  • Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Conditioner for Long Hair Juicy Pomegranate
  • Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Nourishing Conditioner Passion Flower & Rice Milk
  • Herbal Essences Honey, I’m Strong Strengthening Conditioner Honey
  • Herbal Essences Smooth Collection Conditioner
  • Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Volume Conditioner Arabica Coffee & Fruit
  • Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Conditioner Citrus
  • Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Conditioner with Pump
  • Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Conditioner Berry
  • Herbal Essences Blowout Smooth Conditioner Lotus
  • Sebastian Volupt Volume Boosting Conditioner
  • Pantene Aqua Light Weightless Nourishment Conditioner
  • Pantene Pro-V Classic Clean Daily Conditioner
  • Wella Brilliance Treatment for Fine To Normal Colored Hair
  • Wella Invigo Brilliance Mask For Normal Hair


  • Tigi Bed Head Headrush Spray
  • Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Mousse
  • DevaCurl Curl Frizz Free Volume Foam
  • Kerastase Touche Finale Polishing Serum
  • Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream
  • Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel
  • TIGI Bed Head Men Power Play Gel
  • L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

Stay clear!

Alissa Chasen
POREspective® Acne Care Team

Depending on your budget and goals, there are a number of ways I can help you get the clear skin you want (and deserve!):
● Find your Acne Type 
● Purchase a Kit-to-Clear
● Purchase the “Clear Your Acne!” E-book

Is your makeup breaking you out? Read this!
Are your workouts breaking you out? Read this!



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