Do Skincare Products Cause Acne?

Lady with headband popping pimples with hands

It often happens that your friend recommends a skin cream that has worked wonders for her, but when you use it, you break out into acne. The reason is simple – skincare ingredients react differently to different skin types. So you have to choose skincare products and skincare routine steps
wisely, or else you might experience ugly breakouts.

Here are some skincare products that might cause acne – take a look:

Synthetic Perfumes

If you notice the terms fragrance, parfum, or perfume on the ingredient list of a product, it usually means a cocktail of chemicals, any of which can irritate acne-prone skin. Synthetic fragrances cause skin to become red and inflamed, so it becomes all the more difficult treating acne in such situations.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are touted to be beneficial for skin; so many skincare products contain these in huge amounts. However, essential oils are extremely concentrated compounds that can be irritating if applied directly to the skin. It is recommended to dilute the in a carrier oil before using. Carrier oils have to be chosen carefully as some can block pores and lead to breakouts. Jojoba oil, hazelnut oil, hemp oil, and unscented body lotions work as effective carrier oils.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

While it is amazing at creating frothy lather from your cleanser, SLS can be irritating to those with sensitive skin. It is a surfactant – the chemical that removes dirt and oil from your skin, but it can cause significant irritation and inflammation. It disrupts skin barrier and makes active breakouts even worse. Stick to sulfate-free cleansers.

Algae Extract

Did you know algae extract is actually a double-edged sword? It has anti-inflammatory properties, and can regulate oil production, but it is comedogenic as well! There are many species of algae extract that are used in skincare products, so you might not know all their names. They could be listed as Carrageenan, laminaria digitata, brown seaweed, or plankton extract.

Isopropyl Myristate and Isopropyl Palmitate

Isopropyl myristate is a penetration enhancer that enables increased absorption of active ingredients into the skin, while isoprpopyl palmitate is a highly comedogenic emollient used in some moisturizers. These ingredients don’t affect acne that is already inflamed, but they can lead to more clogged pores and non-inflamed closed comedones, known as clogged bumps.

Sodium Chloride

Otherwise referred to as sea salt or salt maris, the technical term for common salt is sodium chloride. It is often used in cleansers for its exfoliating properties and ability to thicken formulations to get a desired texture. It gently removes impurities from skin, but you shouldn’t use it at the expense of getting breakouts. Foundations containing sodium chloride often cause breakouts along the chin and mouth area.

Coconut Oil

Even though coconut oil makes skin soft and supple and is great for those with excessively dry skin, it is highly comedogenic, which means it clogs pores. So if your skin is prone to breakouts, it is best to steer clear. Coconut oil has both unstaurated and saturated fats, including linoleic and lauric acid, the latter of which is associated with breakouts.

Cocoa Butter

Even though it is a rich emollient that balances hydration, cocoa butter is comedogenic so it can block pores. Prolonged usage can lead to acne as pores get congested and aren’t allowed to breathe. This ingredient is better suited for those with dry skin.