Battling acne is hard at times. There are an increasing number of us who are now not only battling acne but are also battling wrinkles as well. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that you are not putting any cosmetics on your skin that are actually contributing to more acne forming. The majority of cosmetics on the market contain ingredients that cause acne to form. These ingredients are not necessarily a problem in a lipid dry skin.
Oleic Acid is one of the biggest contributors to acne. Oleic Acid is also known as Omega 9. It can be syntheticall produced but also occurs in the majority of vegetable oils as well. Omega 9 is a fatty acid but it’s benefits lie in internal use not external use.
Unless the acne sufferer totally eliminates these ingredients from the products they are using they will NEVER get rid of their acne.
The discovery that certain products, including cosmetics were causing acne eruptions became evident during the Second World War. People who were working with polychlorinated hydrocarbons developed comedones similar to that of acne.
In 1968 a procedure was developed which used the rabbit ear was an indicator of the comedogenic abilities of individual ingredients. Applying the ingredients to the rabbits ear led to acne like eruptions on the rabbits ear. It is from this discovery that they were able to identify what ingredients were causing acne.
Below is a list of ingredients that have been shown to cause acne. This is sourced from a scientific paper from Monroe Lanzet, cosmetic chemist. They are the correlation of data from several independent cosmetic manufacturers in the United States.
Vegetable Oils - The majority of vegetable oils are comedogenic to skin. The disappointing thing is that most therapists are not made aware of this, and certainly natural skin care companies are oblivious to it.
Peach Kernel Oil
Hemp seed oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Grape seed oil
Meadow foam seed oil
Wheat germ oil
Oleic Acid and its derivatives
Esters – Have a lighter oily feel but are technically not oil. These are used in cosmetics that claim to be oil free. The implication is of course that they are safe for acne prone skins.
Myreth 3 myristate
PPG 2 Myristyl propionate
Emulsifiers and Alcohols
Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20
PPG 5 ceteth 10 phosphate
Glyceryl stearate SE
Fatty Acids and Glycols
You almost feel like you need to carry a dictionary with you to make sure you don’t purchase cosmetics with these ingredients in.
Just because a cosmetic says it is oil free does not make it acne free. Non-comedogenic is also not regulated and anyone can say it and it does not ,mean the product will not give you acne.
Surfactants are a necessary ingredient when it comes to having clean skin and hair. Surfactants are one of the known ingredients that can also cause dryness and skin irritation due to the nature of how they work. Surfactants is an abbreviation for Surface Active Tension Agent. They work by lowering the surface tension and allowing dirt and grease to be removed.
One of the most common surfactants used is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. It is also the benchmark for irritancy for all other surfactants. Like the majority of surfactants available, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is also is derived from a natural source…coconut. So it is a naturally derived ingredient.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is used because it is a very effective degreaser and is also dirt cheap to buy. You are looking at a commercial cost of about $3.00 AUS per kg to purchase versus some of the more natural surfactants which are $17.00 per kg.
Many companies use scare mongering to suggest that SLS causes cancer. Both the CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association) and the American Cancer Council have stated this is nothing more than an urban myth, a view confirmed by toxicology research(1) The protest from natural and toxic free companies comes from the fact that SLS can be contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane, a probable human carcinogen.
Let’s however puts this in perspective. SLS contains parts per thousand to parts per million of 1,4 Dioxane. A very small percentage. A daily consumption of 1gram per day over a lifetime increases the risk of cancer to 1 in 3000.(2) You are unlikely to every accumulate a rate of 1gram per day. Such an intake would be correspond to eating litres of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate on a daily basis. Considering SLS is not meant for consumption this is an event that is unlikely to occur.
Even the Cosmetic Safety Data Base gives SLS a safety rating of 2 which is a mild risk.
There concern lies with animal studies which have shown possible detriment. You will know though if you have read my post on “Are Organic Cosmetics Better” that animal studies are not a reliable indicator of safety. There is not one human study showing detrimental effects besides skin irritation.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine which is a natural surfactant also derived from coconut has been shown to have human studies which show concern. It is rated as a moderate hazard, with a rating of 5. Yet we as mothers freely use these products on our children. Natural companies frequently use Cocamidopropyl Betaine and imply it is safe because it is natural. Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a known HUMAN (not animal) immune system toxicant. Yet you never see anyone maligning or saying it is BAD. Why is this so?
I will tell you the reason. It does not suit their agenda of what they are trying to sell you…So they only tell you what they want you to know. Ignorance is Bliss after all isn’t it.
The surfactant that is the best is the one you do not break out with a rash or get dry skin with. Happy hunting because that is different for every person. For me it is Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate, one of the gentlest surfactants on the market.
1. Rumour: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Causes Cancer. The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association. 13, October 2000.
2. 1,4 Dioxane. Hazard Summary Environmental Protection Agency. January 2000.