Breakouts and Oily Hair

Face with breakout
Q: I breakout every time I wear my hair down around my face. Is my oily hair doing this?
A: As frustrating as it may be to hear, there are many things that could be contributing to the fact that you breakout when you wear your hair down around your face. If your hair is oily you very likely have oily skin as well, which is often prone to breakouts.
However, the issue may be less about the hair, and more about the styling, too. It could be that the fact that your hair is styled to lie around your face means that your face sweats more, or stays warmer and this can exacerbate the oiliness of your skin, leading to more breakouts.
There's also the possibility that the additional breakouts come from the styling products you use, which come in contact with the skin; or you could actually be sensitive to your hair itself (more specifically to the proteins in your hair).
Figuring out which is going to be a matter of paying close attention to exactly how you style your hair and the subsequent breakouts, or lack of them. If the breakouts occur more in specific areas where the hair touches your skin, then you may be more likely to be looking at a reaction to the hair itself or the styling product on the hair. (This could also mean shampoos and conditioners.) If the breakouts are more randomized but occur mostly when the hair is down, then you may just be dealing with heat exacerbating the breakout prone skin.
My first suggestion is to try using hypoallergenic products and/or very gentle shampoo and conditioner (such as baby shampoo) to see if it's the products causing the problem. Give the change a couple of weeks to let the skin clean up and see if there is an improvement. If no improvement is evident after two week's there's a safe guess that it's not the products.
The next step would be to experiment with hairstyles that would allow you to keep the hair away from the face. If this helps the situation, and you've eliminated the possibility of sensitivity to products, then there's a good chance that you may be sensitive to your own hair.
Finally, you should consider speaking with your dermatologist about the problem. At the very least, he/she can recommend products to use, and can possibly help you quickly determine the cause of your breakouts and what to do the minimize them.
Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock
See also:
Causes and solutions for oily hair
Pimples near the scalp
Is it safe to get a haircut with scalp zits?