Ingredients that may be causing your breakouts

When it comes to the pursuit of clear skin it is important to be aware of the ingredients in the products that you put on your face. We can often be fooled by labels that brands put on their packaging like “natural”,organic“, “non-comedogenic“, etc. but the ingredients can still cause clogged pores and irritation to the skin.

So, let’s talk about which chemicals and comedogenic ingredients you definitely want to avoid and why.

What’s happening?

Some chemicals can increase the skin’s sensitivity, thin your skin and remove the protective barrier. This can cause skin to become red, blotchy, more acne, swollen and eventually hyper-pigmentation.

Sadly, many of these products can be found in moisturizers, make-up, sun care products, cleansers and acne treatments. So what are these ingredients that are causing so much trouble?




(Methicone, dimethicone, trimethicone, cyclomethicone, siloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, silsesquioxane, trimethylsiloxysilicate, methylpolysiloxane, stearoxytrimethylsilane)

Silicone is added to products such as primers to make the skin feel smooth and soft but they actually cause dehydration in the skin, clogging pores, pore scarring and breakouts.


(Acrylic/acrylates copolymer, acrylic/acrylate crosspolymer, acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, 2-ethylhexyl-acrylate)

These are plastics! Acrylics get trapped inside the pores and causing clogs.


(acnemethylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben)

Parabens are used to extends shelf life of products but they are very toxic and are proven to have the ability to disrupt your hormoes.


(Paraffin wax, mineral oil, toluene, benzene, petrolatum, propylene glycol, PEG-40, laureth sulfate, phenoxyethanol, butylene glycol or butyl stearate, EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetracetatic acid), isopropyl alcohol, methylparaben, ceteareth-20, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), dodecane)

Used to lock moisture or as a preservative, petroleum derived ingredients actually clog pores by bringing products deep into the pores.

Perfumes & Colorants

Perfumes and colorants can contain up around 200 different chemicals in themselves. These chemicals can also include petroleum  or phthalates. These perfumes and colourants are irritating to the skin and can clog pores.

Isopropyl Palmitate

A common ingredient in tinted moisturizers, this ingredients is high on the comedogenic scale.


(pthalatesDEP (diethyl phthalate), DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate))

Phthalates are basically like paraben, as in they are disrupt hormones.


(SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol (alcohol denat.), cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, hexadecyl alcohol, isocetyl alcohol, oleyl alcohol, acetylated lanolin alcohol)

Alcohols can cause irritation, dehydration, and damage.


This ingredient is used in many sunscreens, it can cause damage and  photo-sensitivity.

Ethyhexyl Palmitate

(Isopropyl Palmitate, Ethyhexyl Palmitate)

This ingredient causes small irritating bumps o the face and clogged pores.

Lauroyl Lysine

This ingredient often used in face powders, prevents the skin from breathing, resulting in clogged pores.

Acetylated Lanolin

(acetylated lanolin alcohol, ethoxylated lanolin, PEG 16 lanolin, solulan 16)

Lanolin is a natural ingredient produced by the skin of sheep, it is used to provide moisturize. Unfortunately, it is highly comedogenic!

D & C Red

(D & C Red # 3, D & C Red # 21, D & C Red # 30, D & C Red # 36, D & C Red # 40, D & C Red #27.)

Numbers 27 and 40 are rated high on the scale, while the others are  medium on the scale. It is used to give color to make-up, such as blush. Sadly, it is very comedogenic and can cause breakouts.

Coconut oil

Although pure coconut oil is seen as this magical ingredient, it is actually highly comedogenic.


This ingredient is dehydrating to most skin types, leading to clogs.

Bismuth oxychloride

This ingredient has sharp crystals that cause irritation to the skin and can get trapped in pores. Bismuth oxychloride has been linked to cystic acne.

Comedogenic or Irritating Skin Care Ingredients:
*People with normal/dry skin, that aren’t prone to break outs usually don’t have a problem with most ingredients on the list.
acetylated lanolin
algae extract
benzoic acid
cajeput oil
cetyl acetate
coal tar
cocoa butter
coconut butter
coconut oil
colloidal sulfur
corn oil
cotton aws oil
cottonseed oil
decyl oleate
dioctyl succinate
glyceryl stearate SE
hydrogenated vegetable oil
anything begining with iso (isocetyl stearate, isopropyl myristate, isostearyl acid)
lanolic acid
laureth 4
lauric acid
linseed oil
mink oil
myreth 3 myrstate
myristic acid
myristyl lactate,
myristyl myristate
octyl palmitate,
octyl stearate
oleic acid
PG monostearate
potassium chloride
PPG 2 myristyl propionate
red algae
shark liver oil
sodium chloride
sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate
solulan 16
sorbitan oleate
sorbitan sesquinoleate
soybean oil
steareth 10
stearic acid tea
stearyl heptanoate
sulfated castor oil
sulfated jojoba oil
syearyl heptanoate
wheat germ glyceride
wheat germ oil


Avoid These Ingredients in Your Makeup If You Want Clear Skin

Published by Saphie Renee

I’m Saphie Reneé, an American living in the Netherlands.

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