Pomade acne? Here’s what to do.

A quick guide to non-comedogenic hair products.

Chinyelu Chukwurah Avatar

Chinyelu Chukwurah
Oct 16, 2020 · 5 min read

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

My name is Dr. Chinyelu and I’m a doctorate prepared nurse practitioner at Curology! For almost 2 years now, I’ve been helping our patients address their acne and anti-aging concerns. I’ve had my own personal battles with adult-onset acne and I love guiding my patients through their journey to healthy, happy skin. I always tell my patients, clear skin is not only achieved by topical medication, but also by avoiding pore-clogging products, including hair products. When you’re using pore-clogging products, and then applying a topical medication to clear them back out, it’s an uphill battle and a never-ending fight!

Your relationship with haircare products may be triggering your hairline and/or forehead acne. Does this mean you need to throw away all of your hair care products? Of course not! Instead, make smarter choices in choosing what is a part of your hair care routine. Here are a few suggestions on how to care for your hair while helping to prevent breakouts.

My acne journey, before and after.

Edge control gels

Some of the more popular hair styling products are edge control styling gels. Unfortunately, edge controls gels are often filled with heavy ingredients. While these are great for slicking down your hair, they may lead to “pomade acne” (clogged pores).

Avoid ingredients like coconut oil and cocoa butter. These culprits are comedogenic (potentially pore-clogging). Instead, try hair products that contain non-comedogenic oils such as jojoba oil, avocado, olive oil, castor oils, or grapeseed oil.

If you’re looking for recommendations, here are some edge control gels that shouldn’t clog pores:

Another tip: don’t sleep in your edge control! Unfortunately, the oils can migrate into your pores while you sleep. And, if you wear a headscarf at night to keep your hair in place, this could make the situation worse by creating friction or pressing your hair care product into your skin overnight. So, if possible, I recommend rinsing your edge control pomade or gel out of your hair before going to sleep.

Also, know that water is not enough to remove the residue of heavy ingredients and oils. I recommend lathering the area with a sulfate-free shampoo and then rinsing it all out, which brings me to my next point…

Hair care products

We all love hair care products that keep our hair clean, soft, hydrated, and styled. There are, however, certain common ingredients in hair products that can contribute to breakouts. So, we did some digging and rounded up a few of our favorite shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that also happen to be good for your skin.

Scrub away buildup with one of our favorite non-comedogenic sulfate-free shampoos:

Encourage soft and hydrated hair with one of these non-comedogenic conditioners:

If you’re looking for ways to style your hair, we also rounded up some our favorite styling products:

Are you worried about giving up your “holy grail” hair care products?

If you find it hard to give up your “tried and true” hair care styling products, I completely understand. You still have options to help reduce your breakouts.

  • Hair style. Choose a style that keeps the hair away from the face (like wearing your hair up).

  • Take cover. Shield your face prior to applying any hair sprays.

  • Wash your hands. Style hair before applying makeup, then wash your face and hands thoroughly to remove all hair products residue before applying makeup.

  • Cleanse thoroughly before bed. Bring your cleanser into your hairline to wash any residual hair care product left on your skin.

  • Vaseline. Apply a very thin layer of pure petrolatum (like Vaseline) around your hairline to prevent the migration of pore-clogging ingredients from your hair products.

  • Laundry. Be sure to frequently wash your pillowcase, night scarf, bonnets, durag, hijab, or niqab — anything that touches your hair — to remove product residue.

Start your free trial (plus shipping and handling)

For more help with acne breakouts, reach out to your Curology provider! They’ll be happy to address your concerns and provide more tips! If not a member, you can sign up for a free month of Curology. You’ll be paired with an in-house medical provider who will prescribe you a custom cream with a mix of up to 3 active ingredients for your unique skin concerns. Complete your routine by adding on products like our cleanser, moisturizer, acne body wash, and spot patches. Your first box is free — just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling.

Chinyelu Chukwurah Avatar

Chinyelu Chukwurah

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