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Can the ingredients in your skincare products actually cause acne?

March 15, 2016 by Works with Water
skincare ingredients

Would you ever have thought that the ingredients in your skincare products might actually cause acne? You’ll see many skincare products on the high street and available online that are labelled “non-irritating” or “non-comedogenic” indicating that the ingredients they contain are good for your skin, won’t cause irritation or redness and won’t cause or exacerbate acne.

Why you should always check skincare  ingredients

The problem is that many of the skincare products that are marketed as non-irritating, non-comedogenic or even ‘acne-fighting’ could actually be making your skin worse by irritating it, causing skin inflammation and your acne to flare up.

Everyone has a different reaction to specific skincare ingredients. A product that’s great for one person could contain ingredients that lead to rashes, irritation and an increase in acne in another person — and if you already have acne, many ingredients are known to make acne-prone skin even worse.

In order to figure out whether your skincare products might be making your skin worse rather than better, take a peek in your bathroom cabinet. From skincare creams that claim to “cure” acne to sun creams, shaving creams and hair products, there could be skin-irritating ingredients lurking in a number of your favourite beauty products.

Below is a list of the ingredients we think you need to know about. We’ve identified which are non-comedogenic and which are likely to irritate your skin on a scale from 0 (non-comedogenic and won’t cause skin irritation) to 3 (if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, then definitely avoid) so you can compare against the ingredients lists in the products in your bathroom.

Your skincare ingredients checklist

Name What is it? Is it Comedogenic? Will it irritate?
Acetone Solvent 0 3
Acetylated Lanolin Lanolin 2 0
Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol Lanolin 2 0-1
Algae extract Botanical 3 2
Algin Mineral 2 2
Benzoic Acid Fatty Acid 0 1
Butyl Stearate Fatty Acid 1 0
Butylated Hydroxyanisole Antioxidant 0 1
Carrageenan Botanical 3 0-1
Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20 Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 2 0-1
Cetyl Acetate Lanolin 2 0-1
Cocoa Butter Natural Oil 2 0
Coconut Butter Natural Oil 2 0
Colloidal Sulphur Mineral 1 2
Cotton Seed Oil Natural Oil 1 0-1
Dioctyl Succinate Fatty Acid 1 0-1
Disodium Monooleamido Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 2 0-1
Ethoxylated Lanolin Lanolin 1 0
Ethylhexyl Palmitate Fatty Acid 2 0
Glycerine Stearate SE Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 1 0-1
Glyceryl-3-Diisostearate Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 3 0
Hexadecyl Alcohol Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 3 0-1
Isocetyl Alcohol Fatty Acid 2 2
Isocetyl Stearate Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 3 0
Isodecyl Oleate Fatty Acid 2 0
Isopropyl Alcohol Alcohol, Ester, Ethers 0 2
Isopropyl Isostearate Fatty Acid 3 0
Isopropyl Linolate Fatty Acid 3 0-1
Isopropyl Myristate Fatty Acid 3 1
Isopropyl Palmitate Fatty Acid 2 0-1
Myristyl Lactate Fatty Acid 2 0-1
Myristyl Myristate Fatty Acid 3 0-1
Octyl Palmitate 2 0-1
Octyl Stearate Alcohol, Ester, Ether 3 3
Oleth-3 Alcohol, Ester, Ether 3 0-1
Oleyl Alcohol Alcohol, Ester, Ether 2 0-1
PEG16 Lanolin Lanolin 2 1
PEG200 Dilaurate Alcohol, Ester, Ether 1 0-1
PG Monostearate Alcohol, Ester, Ether 1 0
PPG2 Myristyl Propionate Fatty Acid 2 1
Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate Alcohol, Ester, Ether 2 0
Potassium Chloride Mineral 3 0-1
Propylene Glycol Monostearate Alcohol, Ester, Ether 2 0
Red Algae Botanical 3 1
Sodium Chloride Mineral 3 0-1
Solulan 16 Lanolin 2 1
Steareth 10 Alcohol, Ester, Ether 2 1
Stearic Acid Tea 1 1
Stearyl Heptanoate Fatty Acid 2 0
Sulfated Castor Oil Natural Oil 1 0-1
Sulfated Jojoba Oil Wax 1 0-1
Syearyl Heptanoate Fatty Acid 2 0
Wheat Germ Glyceride Alcohol, Ester, Ether 1 0-1
Wheat Germ Oil Natural Oil 3 2
Xylene 2 1


Choose natural
 ingredients to help spot-prone skin

It’s great to educate yourself about what’s in your skincare products by consulting the table above and carefully reading labels before you buy skincare products in future.

Another option is to stop relying on topical treatments for your skin and look at other skincare solutions.  Ingestible skincare supplements that can be eaten or added to drinks are enormously popular in Asian cultures and are increasingly being used in the UK and the US.

‘Feeding’ your skin from within rather than applying ingredients to your face are more effective in clearing spots and nourishing your skin. Remember the old adage “You are what you eat”?  This definitely applies to your skin!

help: clear skin (and male-focused help: clear skin MEN) natural soluble supplements are formulated with non-comedogenic ingredients to treat your acne and improve congested, spot-prone skin. Just add to your morning glass of water, juice or mix into your milk before adding to your breakfast cereal.

Formulated to treat your skin naturally from the inside-out, they’re specifically developed to be gentle on your digestive system and cause no gut irritation  — whether you have diabetes or IBS, our products are 100 percent safe for you to consume as they contain 100 per cent natural ingredients including lactoferrin, aloe vera, zinc gluconate and oligofructose.  All natural ingredients that are proven to treat acne naturally.

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