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You probably think shampoo is good for your skin if it's good for your hair. After all, shampoo gets rid of the dirt and oil in your hair, which touches your face and drips onto your forehead when you sweat. Well, that’s partly true. However, some shampoos contain ingredients that can actually clog your pores – causing you to break out when you think you’re cleansing your skin! Before you buy any shampoo, know what to look for to steer clear of pore-clogging ingredients.
Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is all-natural, and it’s used in some shampoos labeled as such. Wheat germ oil is a natural antioxidant often used to stabilize shampoos. However, wheat germ oil rates 5 of 5 on the comedogenicity scale according to Dr. Audrey Kunin. Dr. Kunin stands by the comedoginicity scale in her practice, which is basically a fancy way to measure how likely something is to cause irritation and blemishes. But don't be misled by wheat germ's all-natural tag -- just because it’s not synthetic doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Wheat germ oil is best avoided by ladies with acne-prone skin.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate are often referred to as simply SLS in the ingredient list on a bottle of shampoo, but those three little letters can clog your pores. SLSs are used to remove dirt from your hair, but they can irritate your skin and are toxic to the eyes, according to Barbara Close, author of “Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics.” Sodium laureth sulfate is better than sodium lauryl sulfate, according to Dermadoctor and Audrey Kunin, M.D.: Sodium laureth sulfate rates 3 out of 5, and sodium lauryl sulfate rates at 5 out of 5 on the comedogenicity scale. Still, "pretty likely to cause irritation" isn't terribly better than "very likely."
Isopropyl isostereate is a highly comedogenic emulsifying ingredient found in shampoos. It's designed to increase the spreadability of shampoo. According to Dermadoctor and Audrey Kunin, M.D., Isopropyl isostereate rates 5 out of 5 on the comedogenicity list. Barbara Close agrees that Isopropyl isostereate can irritate the skin.
Algae extract is used in some natural shampoos, and the bottom-of-the-ocean ingredient sometimes drives up the price of your shampoo. Algae extract may actually be good for your hair, according to Barbara Close – it’s a natural moisturizer that can leave hair (and skin when used in soap) softer and silkier. However, algae extract rates 4 out of 5 on the comedogenicity scale according to DERMADoctor and Audrey Kunin, M.D.. If you’re interested in trying a product with algae extract in it, test it out on a small portion of skin before putting it all over your hair.