natural hair woman with acne

Many of us curlies are self-proclaimed product junkies.

We'll admit--we enjoy using at least one kind of product on a daily basis. That may not always be a good thing. Did you know that some hair products can cause redness, itching, or even swelling? If you are having any of these symptoms you may be allergic to your hair products! Board-certified Miami based dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann enlightens us on some of the most common products that can cause allergic reactions and what alternatives we can use to avoid having these symptoms in the future!

1. Hair color

For the curlies who enjoy highlighting their curls or dye simply to cover up gray hairs use extra precaution! Hair coloring products are the number one most common products that have been reported to cause redness and swelling. Blame the ingredient called paraphenylenediamine (PPD) for this reaction. The second ingredient that can cause irritation is called toluene which is also an active ingredient found in nail polish.

Alternative coloring methods

If you are allergic to these ingredients, Baumann recommends either using a veggie dye such as henna to darken or hide grayness in your curls or If you would like to highlight, consider getting a stylish ombre since the highlighting is placed at the ends of your curls rather than at your scalp.

2. Hairspray

We all love hairsprays especially ones that smell good! However, fragrance is often the most cause for why we can get allergic reactions such as irritation, redness, and swelling.  The two other ingredients that have been reported to cause reactions are propylene glycol which give your curls moisture and finally acrylates, which form a film around your curls.

Alternative sprays

While Baumann does not offer any particular kind of alternative spray, she does recommend taking note if a reaction occurs and consider what products you have used in the previous 24 hours. If you still are unsure, consult a dermatologist for patch testing.  However I would recommend making a DIY chemical free spray in the meantime!

3. Hair conditioner

As curlies we love our conditioners. We cannot live without them, and can never use enough in our hair-- unfortunately, they can also have a negative effect on our skin. The problem with some conditioners is that some of them contain an ingredient called isopropyl myristate. This ingredient can give us acne, especially when it touches our face, back, and chest in the shower.

Alternative conditioners

If you are noticing that you have consistent acne, check the label on your product to make you are washing with a salicylic acid cleaner after washing and conditioning your curls.

4. Hair extension glue

Take into account that anything that is made to stay in your hair and withstand washing and tugging, might cause some irritation on your skin regardless. The main ingredient to watch out for when buying hair glue is ethyl cyanoacrylate. If you begin to notice any adverse side effects, Baumann recommends trying a different hair extension technique.

Alternative extension glues

Considering other options, Baumann recommends trying either thermal bonding or sewn-in extensions.