We’d love to believe that all products marketed towards acne-prone skin will fulfill their promise of, well, not causing more acne, but we’ve had enough bad experiences to know that not all product labels are created equal. These ingredients that cause acne are pretty common, which is exactly why you should educate yourself—so that you know your next moisturizer won’t be responsible for your next major breakout. Like we say: always check the ingredients list.
Bad for vegans but not necessarily the acne-prone, natural lanolin is derived from the sebaceous glands of sheep, which means that it has a thick, emollient texture not unlike that of human sebum. Since oily skin tends to benefit from skin care oils that work to balance and control sebum protection, it seems contradictory to say that lanolin would be an irritant to blemish-prone skin. Here’s the thing: while lanolin is, in fact, a wonderful nourishing ingredient overall, most products on the market that claim to contain lanolin contain synthetic versions and derivatives, which do cause breakouts. To reap the real benefits of lanolin, look for only 100% pure, natural formulas.
Cocoa butter is majorly comedogenic, which means that it’s basically guaranteed to clog pores. It can can be a great solution for dry skin on your body, as it creates a protective occlusive barrier over the skin that prevents moisture from escaping, but it’s nothing but trouble for blemish-prone skin, as it also traps debris and toxins within the pores. If you’re in need of major moisture, opt instead for shea butter, which strengthens the skin and won’t clog even acne-prone skin.
It causes acne when you eat it, it causes acne when you use it on your skin—vegetable oil is one type of oil you shouldn’t get excited about. Generally a mix of soybean and corn oil, it’s basically like slicking Crisco on your face, and all too many of these oils are derived from genetically modified crops, which means they’re coated in pesticides as the icing on the cake of all those pore-clogging oils. There are plenty of other oils out there that work wonderfully on breakout-prone skin, so ditch the kitchen standard and use those instead.
While not quite the monster that many have made it out to be, mineral oil can seriously exacerbate breakouts in some people. It is considered comedogenic, so it does come with the risk of clogging pores, as the occlusive agent “seals” the skin and prevents it from properly regulating itself. The real problem with mineral oil is that it’s extremely common in all kinds of skin care formulations, so if you find yourself consistently breaking out, or breaking out more than usual with a new product, you may want to check the label on your moisturizer.
Read more from Daily Makeover: 10 Common Things You Should Never (Ever!) Put on Your Face