When hair styles change, it is common for teenagers and young adults
to adopt the new style. Sometimes a new hair style requires use of a
thick, oily dressing called pomade. Pomade is generally used when a
hair style requires that (1) curly hair be straightened or (2) hair
be molded into various shapes. Some pomades are available in stores
and shops; some are homemade.
One of the undesired effects of pomade
use may be pomade acne. Pomade acne occurs on the scalp, forehead
and temples where pomade comes into contact with the skin. It
usually consists of comedones, with perhaps a few
Pomade acne occurs on skin that comes into contact with the
pomade, such as the scalp, forehead and temples.
(Photo used with permission of the American Academy of
Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides)
Most, if not all, pomades fall into the
category of comedogenic (pore clogging) cosmetics and hair
dressings. The heavy oils in pomades can clog skin, setting the
stage for formation of comedones. In addition, some of the other
chemicals in pomades may irritate the skin, contributing to
For pomade acne,
treatment consists of these options:
If using pomade to decrease scalp
dryness, try applying pomade one inch behind the hairline.
Is using pomade to style or make hair
more manageable, try applying pomade to the ends of the hair only
to avoid contact with the scalp and hairline.
Stop using pomade.
When pomade is no longer making contact
with the skin or pomade use is discontinued, pomade acne should
gradually clear. If it persists, the acne should be treated the same
as any other acne—by gently cleansing the skin and using a topical
preparation, such as benzoyl peroxide. If the acne does not clear
after 6 – 8 weeks of treatment, contact a dermatologist.
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
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