Dryer Sheets Can Cause Acne, and Everything Sucks

Is nothing safe anymore?!

In today’s ugh-worthy news, another seemingly harmless household product is out to ruin your skin. In a Reddit post first spotted by MarieClaire.com that's now going viral, one user by the username of /regissss wrote, “PSA: Dryer sheets can cause acne,” sending everyone who has ever had zits in a frantic tailspin.

The Details

The Redditor went on to say that although they’ve been eliminating products from their routine for the last year in an effort to find the cause of their breakouts—including switching their laundry products to sensitive skin–friendly products—they’ve still battled acne. “Finally, about a month ago, I cut out everything except All Free and Clear detergent and white vinegar as softener from my laundry routine,” writes /Regissss. The result? Surprisingly clear skin.

"I went from having a new pimple or two a day to close to zero pimples per day almost overnight," /Regissss tells MarieClaire.com; "And within two weeks, my skin had almost completely cleared up." It's been a month, and their skin has only continued to improve.

“My skin’s recovery has been dramatic since then, and my dermatologist confirmed that dryer sheets can be a huge trigger for some people,” they continue in the post. “Apparently, [dryer sheets] coat fabric (including your pillowcases) in a thin layer of wax and grease, which can leech into your pores at night while you sweat. This is why they’re so greasy when you put them in but so dry when you take them out.” Yes, your brain hurts right now.

Of course, not every single zit is the result of a few dryer sheets—though they can be problematic. “Dryer sheets have been implicated for a while in inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Yale University. “The fragrance is the usual culprit, but it’s not a far stretch to think that it may irritate acne for the same reasons: a compromised skin barrier.”

So if you’ve been struggling with breakouts, rashes, and/or sensitivity and have tried virtually everything, try cutting out your dryer sheets for a month and see how your skin responds. You can use wool dryer balls (opens in new tab) to curb static, and as for the softness? Well, maybe the fact that your skin could be happier will make up for your slightly scratchier sheets.


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(Image credit: Marie Claire)
Chloe Metzger
Chloe Metzger

Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in AllureHealthFitnessMarie ClaireStyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.