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Hair follicles are the sacs in the skin from which hair grows. Cells group together in the pore, they attach to a sebaceous gland (a gland that produces oils to lubricate the hair shaft), and muscle fibers, which help the hair grow away from the skin. Follicles can become clogged with dirt, bacteria and oils from the sebaceous glands. If not cleaned regularly, people with clogged pores can develop chronic acne, irritation and possibly hair loss.
Take a Shower
Take a shower in the morning to help reduce sebum production. Researchers in a Tokyo study published in the Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology's journal found that study subjects who took a shower in the morning had less sebum—the oil produced by the sebaceous gland—on their skin for several hours compared to subjects that did not shower 1. The trial was done to see if cleaning skin with soap and water had any impact on sebum production.
How to Get Rid of Sebum
The Mayo Clinic reports that retinoids, a prescription medication derived from vitamin A, works by promoting cell growth and preventing hair follicles from clogging. Popular retinoid acne medications include Differen and Retin-A; they’re also sold under the generic names adapalene, tazarotene and tretinoin.
For those whose clogged hair follicles cause acne breakouts, retinoids combined with an oral antibiotic will unclog the hair follicles and kill the bacteria that cause acne. It will also reduce inflammation.
- The Mayo Clinic reports that retinoids, a prescription medication derived from vitamin A, works by promoting cell growth and preventing hair follicles from clogging.
- For those whose clogged hair follicles cause acne breakouts, retinoids combined with an oral antibiotic will unclog the hair follicles and kill the bacteria that cause acne.
Shampoos and conditioners that contain moisturizers to add body to hair and reduce dandruff and itching can also clog hair follicles. Oil-based skin moisturizers work in a similar way. To prevent clogging hair follicles, use products labeled noncomedogenic, which means that they’re formulated in a way that prevents them from blocking hair follicles. Noncomedogenic products also prevent breakouts and hair loss due to clogged pores.
- Shampoos and conditioners that contain moisturizers to add body to hair and reduce dandruff and itching can also clog hair follicles.
Causes of Smelly Acne
Washing your hair daily can strip the hair of natural oils that add volume and shine. Shampooing hair two or three times a week strikes a comfortable balance between cleaning hair and not damaging and drying the hair shaft with detergents and other ingredients in shampoos. Between shampooing, using hair products like styling gels and mousse accumulate and block hair follicles. Unlike skin elsewhere, it’s not likely acne will appear on the scalp, but hair can develop an odor. Clarifying shampoo (shampoo that does not contain conditioner) will wash away styling resins that collect on the scalp and clog follicles. It will also remove built-up oils from the scalp and hair.
- Washing your hair daily can strip the hair of natural oils that add volume and shine.
- Clarifying shampoo (shampoo that does not contain conditioner) will wash away styling resins that collect on the scalp and clog follicles.
How to Get Rid of Sebum
Causes of Smelly Acne
How to Treat Acne With Hydrocortisone
What Is Cetaphil?
How to Unclog Your Underarm Pores
Over the Counter Acne Medicines to Replace Duac or Differin
Marvelon in Treating Acne
Ingredients in Hair Removal Creams
Is There a Natural Way to Reduce Overactive Sebum Glands?
How to Get Rid of Psoriasis & Eczema
- Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology: The Effect of Morning Shower on Sebum
- Mayo Clinic: Acne Treatments
- The Beauty Brains: How do Clarifying Shampoos Work?
- Phillips TG, Slomiany WP, Allison R. Hair Loss: Common Causes and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(6):371-378.
- Watras MM, Patel JP, Arya R. Traditional anticoagulants and hair loss: a role for direct oral anticoagulants? A review of the literature. Drugs Real World Outcomes. 2016;3(1):1-6. doi:10.1007/s40801-015-0056-z
- Urysiak-czubatka I, Kmieć ML, Broniarczyk-dyła G. Assessment of the usefulness of dihydrotestosterone in the diagnostics of patients with androgenetic alopecia. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2014;31(4):207-15. doi:10.5114/pdia.2014.40925
- Vincent M, Yogiraj K. A descriptive study of alopecia patterns and their relation to thyroid dysfunction. Int J Trichology. 2013;5(1):57-60. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.114701
- Peters EMJ, Müller Y, Snaga W, et al. Hair and stress: A pilot study of hair and cytokine balance alteration in healthy young women under major exam stress. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(4):e0175904. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175904
- Pratt CH, King LE, Messenger AG, Christiano AM, Sundberg JP. Alopecia areata. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17011. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2017.11
- American Academy of Dermatology. Alopecia Areata: Overview.
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.