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Oily Hair and Acne

author image Barb Nefer
Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."
Oily Hair and Acne
Regular shampooing prevents oily hair. Photo Credit Eyecandy Images/Eyecandy Images/Getty Images

Very few teenagers escape a battle with pimples, and some adults get them too. The National Institutes of Health reports that three of every four adolescents get pimples. Acne is not directly related to dirty skin, but it can be affected by aspects of personal hygiene. People who have oily hair because of infrequent shampooing are raising their acne risk.


Acne is closely related to oil. A natural oil called sebum, produced by glands in the skin, blends with old skin cells and blocks pores, CNN Health explains. This causes pimples. Oily food does not cause acne, according to the CNN Health website, but oils from makeup and dirty hair can aggravate acne.


Over-the-counter creams and lotions can be used to treat breakouts caused by oily hair. The American Academy of Dermatology explains that benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are two of the most popular treatment ingredients, and they work well enough for most acne sufferers. Dermatologists can prescribe stronger topical products or oral medication for unresponsive cases.

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Acne can be prevented by washing the hair frequently and keeping it off the face. The National Institutes of Health recommends avoiding tight hats and headbands because they can cause sweating, which also increases the risk of pimples. Don't use oily hair products, as they can exacerbate acne, the National Institutes of Health warns.


Some people have hair that is oily, even when it is washed daily. Those people should switch to a short hairstyle to keep all hair off the face.


Those who develop breakouts because of oily hair should never scrub their faces. CNN Health warns that scrubbing is bad for acne, as are harsh cleansing products. The face should be washed just twice daily with a mild cleanser. Proper face washing, coupled with daily shampooing, will help prevent breakouts.

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