Cosmetic Ingredients to avoid for acne

Be Wary! Your makeup and skin care products could be causing your skin problems.

Do you have blemished skin? Well, how about the fact that the very products that you are using to treat or hide your skin condition, could be the very thing causing or exaggerating the problem.

It is very important that as consumers that we are educated on the products we use and how it affects our skin. I have compiled a list from on cosmetic ingredients to avoid for acne-prone skin

Unfortunately, we cannot trust or go by the fancy product label descriptions that skin care or cosmetics company so beautifully pitch to us because so many companies out there are more concerned about bottom-line than the condition of our skin.

Just because a product says non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic does not mean it is so, just because a product says it is non-irritating does not mean that it is so, just because it states all-natural, does not mean that it is so.

So what does that mean for us? Well we just have to know how to read product ingredients and what cosmetic ingredients to avoid for acne. This is crucial because there are so products on the market filled with gunk that clog pores and cause blemishes. There are some very helpful resources on the web in the print that provide detailed information on cosmetic ingredients. Two of my favorite resources are:

1) Don’t go to the cosmetic counter without me by Paula Begoun and;


List of cosmetic ingredients to avoid for acne prone skin

Acetylated Lanolin

Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol

Algae Extract


Bismuth oxychloride

Butyl Stearate


Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20

Cetyl Acetate

Cocoa Butter

Coconut Butter

Coconut Oil

Colloidal Sulfur

Cotton Awws Oil

Cotton Seed Oil


D & C Red # 17

D & C Red # 21

D & C Red # 3

D & C Red # 30

D & C Red # 36

Decyl Oleate

Dioctyl Succinate

Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfosuccinate

Ethoxylated Lanolin

Ethylhexyl Palmitate

Glyceryl Stearate SE


Hexadecyl Alcohol

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

Isocetyl Alcohol

Isocetyl Stearate

Isodecyl Oleate

Isopropyl Isostearate

Isopropyl Linolate

Isopropyl Myristate

Isopropyl Palmitate

Isostearyl Isostearate

Isostearyl Neopentanoate

Laureth 23

Laureth 4

Lauric Acid

Mink Oil

Myristic Acid

Myristyl Lactate

Myristyl Myristate

Octyl Palmitate

Octyl Stearate


Oleyl Alcohol

PEG 16 Lanolin

PEG 200 Dilaurate

PEG 8 Stearate

PG Monostearate

PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate


Potassium Chloride

Propylene Glycol Monostearate

Red Algae

Shark Liver Oil

Sodium Chloride (Salt)

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Solulan 16

Sorbitan Oleate

Soybean Oil

Steareth 10

Stearic Acid Tea

Stearyl Heptanoate

Sulfated Castor Oil

Sulfated Jojoba Oil

Syearyl Heptanoate

Wheat Germ Glyceride

Wheat Germ Oil


Please note that silicones such as Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone are not usually added to the list of ingredients to cosmetic ingredients to avoid for acne prone skin and are often included in products listed as non-comedogenic. However, if you have blemish prone skin, I would be very wary about them.

My personal experience with products containing silicones have not been positive as I find that I usually get breakouts after using products with those ingredients high on the list.

Know of any other cosmetic ingredients to avoid for acne prone skin? Please share in the comment box below

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Spearheads the editorial team, holistic health coach focused on women's health, certified fitness trainer (CPT), nutritionist and licensed esthetician. She is the founder of CHIOMA Nutrition, a leading supplement company focused on clean formulations.

  1. Just looked at my foundation and it had a lot of the above ingredients! Do you have any makeup brands or products you’d recommend?? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mimi, that’s a great question! We will be putting together a list soon. In the meantime, you can check out Paula Begoun’s Don’t Go the Cosmetic Counter Without Me. She does a great job of rating products based on their comedogencity.

  2. The products that worked the best where Malin Goetz & Citrus Clear. The Malin products were more expensive, so I only bought their spot treatment, but I bought the Citrus Clear Sensitive Line (With the Wash and moisturizer) – and within two days, the acne was gone! I use the Citrus Clear stuff at the first sign of a breakout, and the Malin product maybe once every two weeks.

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