12 Cosmetic Ingredients That Can Cause Acne

12 Cosmetic Ingredients That Can Cause Acne

It’s not surprising when you consider that most of us are more self-conscious about how we look than anything else.  We want to be beautiful, youthful and confident—whatever our age.  Whether it’s the latest eye cream or acne treatment, we want what will make us look better and feel good about ourselves.  But do all those products really deliver? And if they do, are there any side effects? Here are 12 ingredients in skin care products that can cause breakouts or other adverse reactions on your skin:


These exfoliants are often found in products designed to cleanse skin or get rid of dead cells. But BHA and AHA can also cause acne because they have a high concentration that is more likely to irritate the skin than other ingredients. They’re great at preventing breakouts, but it might take some time for your skin to adjust.


This vitamin A derivative is considered one of the best ingredients for anti-aging, but can also cause breakouts or make them worse if you have acne already. Don’t give up on retinoids though—they may just need a little time before they work well with your skin.


These are preservatives that can be found in toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant as well as skin care products like blush or foundation. They might also cause breakouts if you’re sensitive to them. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer so it is always best to avoid using them.


These are used in cosmetic products to provide a smooth, uniform appearance and they work well on oily skin or hair for the same reasons. But if you’re acne-prone then silicones have been found responsible for breakouts so this ingredient is worth avoiding.


It’s not always easy to tell what is in the ingredients of your skin care products. Fragrance can be found even in clean beauty and natural brands because it masks other smells or provides a certain fragrance that people want. But fragrances cause breakouts so beware before you buy anything with this ingredient on the label.


These are also used as surfactants, which means they clean dirty surfaces very effectively—including your face! Sulfates help remove makeup, clean hair and exfoliate dead cells from your skin but if you have sensitive acne-prone skin then these might just make things worse for you in disguise. Try looking out for sulfate free cleansers instead if you want clean, acne-free skin.


This natural wax is often used in lip balms and lotions because it has a nice feel on the lips or hands. But lanolin can cause breakouts or make them worse if you have sensitive acne-prone skin so avoid it at all costs.

Petrolatum & mineral oil

These are common ingredients that provide shine for makeup products like lipstick but they also block pores which means pimples will be more likely to form and show up quickly as well. If this doesn’t sound appealing then try looking out for these ingredients before buying any product containing them—you might just find something better suited to your needs!  In summary, there are certain ingredients in cosmetic products that can cause breakouts and other adverse reactions on your skin. There are also some clean beauty and natural brands with these problematic ingredients so beware before you buy anything!


This ingredient is used in many products including lotions and lipstick to provide a smooth texture that will last longer. Unfortunately, it can also lead to breakouts because the waxes clog pores which causes bacteria to grow and cause inflammation on your skin.


This is a preservative that can be found in lotions, creams and lipsticks. It’s also added to some sunscreens because it prevents them from going bad after they are opened.  Methylparaben has been linked with breast cancer so you should avoid it if possible or use only on your hands and neck.


This ingredient is used to cleanse the skin and it can also cause breakouts if you have sensitive skin or acne because it has antibacterial properties that may irritate your face after prolonged use.  It’s often found in anti-bacterial cleansers like hand soap and dishwasher detergent, so if you’re acne-prone then it might be worth skipping this ingredient.


This is a preservative that helps clean products stay fresh after they are opened but it can also cause irritation or breakouts on sensitive skin. Methylchloroisothiazolinone is often found in sunscreens and makeup removers, so it’s worth reading the labels closely to avoid this ingredient.

Tips in choosing the right product for acne-prone skin

The key to finding the right anti-acne ingredients for your skin is looking at what causes breakouts and then avoiding those as best you can in future purchases.

 Here are some helpful tips for beauty products that don't contain potentially acne-causing ingredients:

  • Avoid anything with parabens, fragrance and triclosan. These all can cause an allergic reaction or clog your pores to develop more breakouts.
  • Look for clean or natural beauty brands that use natural oils like shea butter and jojoba oil.
  • If clean beauty product labels mention "silicone," then be careful because this ingredient can also lead to breakouts in acne-prone people.
  • Be aware of any preservatives that might cause an allergic reaction like methylchloroisothiazolinone, commonly found in sunscreens and makeup removers. 


As you can see, there are a lot of beauty brands that may not be suited for people with acne or sensitive skin. If you’re struggling to find the right product, then it might be worth reaching out to an expert who has experience working in this field and understands the skin composition.  For one thing, you could save time because you won't have to spend hours researching every single ingredient used by different companies before making any purchase decisions. It also helps that many natural beauty products will work just as well—or even better than—their clean counterparts.