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If You Have Acne-Prone Skin, AVOID These 5 Beauty Ingredients

Written by Prachi Gangwani


Save for a monthly pimple, a loyal companion to my menstrual cycle, I don't get acne. Or, didn't. Until I started using a green tea face wash a few months ago, when green tea was all the rage among beauty writers. A week or two after I started using the coveted product, I started breaking out. This was unusual. 'Could it be stress?' I wondered. 'Something to do with being on the wrong side of 30?' After much contemplation, I realised that the only big change in my skin care routine was the aforementioned face wash. I decided to stop using it. Sure enough, within a few days, my skin cleared out.

Beauty products - organic, cosmetic, or cosmeceutical - are segregated by skin type. Normal, dry, oily, all. Seldom do we see 'acne-prone' in there. As I learnt the hard way, cosmetic acne, by its very definition, is triggered by certain ingredients (many of which are popular and recommended) in the products we use. These ingredients, in dermatological parlance, are called 'comedogenic'. Next time you buy a product you haven't used before, check the back for these comedogenics:

Almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil: These oils come recommended as home remedies for dry skin and natural make-up removers. But, they clog pores and can cause or aggravate acne.

Benzaldehyde: A good product for the face is one that has no fragrance. Unfortunately, many popular moisturisers are scented. Benzaldehyde, the ingredient that is used to bring about these soothing fragrances, is not great for you if you are susceptible to acne, as it clogs and irritates the skin.

Mineral Oils: Although dermatologists do recommend products containing mineral oils, it is important to note that the basis here is purity, grade and level of refinement. Mineral oil is a cost-effective ingredient, and as such, constitutes many affordable products like Vaseline and baby oil. Not one to completely swear off, it must be used with caution, in small quantities.

Exfoliation Beads: Exfoliation of the face is a controversial topic to begin with. If you properly and regularly cleanse the face, do you really need to scrub it with known irritants? To each their own, we suppose. But, certainly, if you are prone to acne, stay away from this!

Sulfates: Many products these days are Sulfate-free. Wonder what that's about? Sulfate is a drying agent. When used on the face, it dries up the skin, which in revolt, goes in hyper sebum production, which then causes those pimples. To keep things simple, if you see a product with the declaration, 'Sulfate-free,' know that it's safe to use.

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