shampoo and acne

Is your shampoo causing your breakouts and back acne?

Categories : Hair

If you keep getting breakouts on your back or forehead, or strange rashes or itchiness on your neck and forehead, you could be sensitive to your shampoo.

Wait — shampoo and skin reactions? Yes, it’s possible. Check your shampoo bottle for any of these potentially irritating ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to back acne.

Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol is found in many shampoos, conditioners and cosmetics. It’s generally safe, but the ingredient tends to sit on the skin surface. That’s why you need to rinse really, really well — or avoid completely if you’re prone to dandruff, itchy scalp and dry skin.


Unfortunately, this ingredient can make your hair oily — and clog your pores, too! This may be one reason why you’re getting pimples on your forehead and back. Try switching to a silicone-free shampoo and see if your breakouts decrease.


Panthenol is found in a lot of thickening or volume-boosting shampoos. It attracts moisture from the atmosphere and binds it to your hair, so your hair is immediately softer and shinier.

So panthenol isn’t really a bad thing, especially if you have dry hair. However, the moisturizing factor can work against you if you already have greasy hair or very oily skin.


Love a lot of lather? Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are detergents that help create all those bubbles! But these don’t actually help clean your hair, and can actually cause breakouts or cause your hair color to fade faster. Some people are even allergic to it.

Look for a sulfate-free shampoo if you have sensitive skin or prefer a more natural, chemical-free beauty regimen.

 How to shampoo if your skin is sensitive

  • Switch to another shampoo. Take note of the ingredients and what happens when you drop sulfates, silicone, heavy fragrance, etc. Everyone’s skin is different, so trial-and-error can help you figure out what you’re sensitive to!
  • Wash your body after  rinsing your hair.  Most of us leave hair products to “soak in” while we do the rest of our bath routine. But if you rinse your hair last, you may not be getting rid of all the shampoo and conditioner residue. Either wash your hair first, or soap your back and neck again after doing your hair.
  •  Use a facial toner after your bath. This can help remove any traces of hair product residue. You can also apply it on areas where you tend to get body acne.