Five Reasons You Have Acne on Your Hairline

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Acne sucks, no matter where it sprouts. But there’s something that feels just a little bit more defeating when acne emerges at your hairline.

The proximity to your hair certainly makes it harder to manage. It makes it more annoying, too. It’s no fun getting your hair wet every time you get after it with your .

But if it makes you feel better — and it probably won’t — hairline acne is altogether common. Why is that, and what can you do about it? Well, those are precisely the issues we’re here to talk about.

So let’s get into it and do our best to get the upper hand on this infuriatingly common spot for acne to flourish.

Your Hair is Frigging Oily, Man

You almost certainly know that acne happens when pores get clogged. And you know pores are typically clogged by dead skin cells and sebum, the oil cranked out by your sebaceous glands. This is common knowledge. But a lot of people fail to realize that when their hair gets oily, that’s sebum, too.

A man in frizzy hair giving a weird look - hairline acne

Yes, fellas, your scalp is . So especially oily hair can lead to an especially oily hairline. And that can absolutely lead to those dreaded hairline pimples.

But before you go rushing for the shower to wash your hair, dig into the next item on our list.

You Aren’t Washing Your Hair the Right Way

When you’re rocking an unsightly field of hairline pimples, it’s understandable if you think you absolutely need to be washing your hair every single day. Makes sense, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you wash your hair too often, you’ll most likely dry out your hair and scalp. And when things get too dry, your sebaceous glands respond by switching into turbo mode and doubling down on the sebum production. So when you over-wash, you’re almost certainly doing yourself a disservice in the fight against hairline acne.

So how often should you be washing? . If you have especially oily hair, it may in fact be a good idea to wash your hair nearly every day. But most people should only be washing their hair a couple or three times per week.

The key is knowing what works for you. If your hair looks healthy and you’re not battling hairline acne, you’re probably doing things just right. If you’re routinely frustrated by hairline acne and you’re washing most days, scale it back. The move along could go a long way toward reducing your hairline acne.

Your Skincare Routine Is Off

If your acne issue extends from your hairline to your chin, that probably means your whole skincare routine leaves something to be desired. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to get back to basics. Get a proper face wash and use it twice per day. After each time you wash, be sure to moisturize. As we said above, dry skin can lead to an uptick in sebum production.

Additional notes on moisturizing: You need to do it, even if you have oily skin. And you need to make sure to moisturize your hairline, too. Lots of people don’t bother because they don’t want to get lotion in their hair. So if you’re an oily dude who isn’t moisturizing all the way up because he doesn’t want to get gunk in his hair, we have just the recommendation for you: . The gel easily absorbs so even if you get some in your hair, it’s no big deal.

So your daily routine includes washing and moisturizing. But you should also be exfoliating once or twice per week, too. Lots of guys simply don’t exfoliate. That’s unfortunate because there’s no better way to give your pores a deep clean. So do it. You can use a scrub, or you can give yourself a bit of at-home spa treatment with a charcoal mask.

Your Hair Products Are the Culprit

Perhaps you instinctively know it — you just don’t want it to be true. But some of the products you use to make your hair look good may actually be working against you. Yeah, hair care products routinely cause hairline pimples.

A man is showing a hair product - reasons for hairline acne

Let’s let the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) drive the point home: “This is so common that there’s actually a medical name for it — acne cosmetica. This literally means acne caused by products we apply to our skin or hair.”

Many hair care products contain potentially pore-clogging oil, which as the AAD points out, is especially common in pomades and other styling products. So when you’re battling hairline acne, check your labels.

Your Nasty Hat Did This

If you’re regularly rocking the same old hat or a headband or any other form of bacteria-trapping headgear, it can indeed be the source of your hairline acne. There’s a term for this, too. It’s called , and it can happen when any piece of gear rubs against your skin for extended periods. Athletes are the most common victims because acne loves the combo of sweat and friction.

All it takes to avoid this condition is a bit of cleanliness. If you’re prone to acne mechanica, be sure to keep your gear clean. And wash up after a workout.