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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

So I've recently been on a mission to find out exactly which ingredients are trouble for me in terms of causing acne, clogged pores, and irritation.  Many (if not all) of the typical comedogenic ingredients are most likely no good for me.  Some ingredients like butylene glycol and silicones that may not be trouble for all people, are likely trouble for me.  So now that leaves me with trying to figure out which products I CAN use. 


Does anyone have any recommendations for completely non-comedogenic products that also do not have silicones?  Specifically, foundation & primer suggestions would be helpful since silicones are typically universal in those products (although theoretically I won't have to wear foundation as often if my skin improves).  Also, many anti-aging products have irritating or comedogenic ingredients, so are there any good ones that don't? 


And lastly, what about hair products?  I'm suspicious (although I can't say for sure) that my shampoo and conditioner may be contributing to my acne & irritation.

Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

Frankly, the key would be to go through products and their ingredient listings with a fine-toothed comb while you sort through and break down what exactly comprises an item.


For starters, when did your acne start? Are there any particular/specific areas that tend to suffer from blemishes or have them reoccur?


Butylene glycol is an organic alcohol that is used as in products in substitute of regular glycol due to it's lighter texture; however, if you find your skin is sensitive to it, look further into differentiating between healthy alcohols and those which are more harsh.


Ethanol, SD alcohol, alcohol denate (denatured alcohol), propanol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol are all drying in excessive use since they help to cut down drying time. They're used more so in products to help with prevent skin from feeling too moist or sticky.


Good alcohols are emollient and include lauryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, steraryl alcohol, cetearyl alcchol, and behenyl alcohol.


The above alcohol info can be applied from skin care products, to cosmetics, body care, and hair care items. Hair sprays for example are known for being quite alcohol denate heavy as hardly anyone wants a slow-drying hairspray, if you're unable to avoid denatured alcohol in hair styling products all together, try to find a more gentle formula that is infused with conditioning ingredients to at least somewhat counteract the drying effects.


Now, as far as silicones go, this category can be broken down to several types. Methicone, dimethicone, phenyl trimethicone, cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, amodimethicone (or amino-, amo-, amine-), and dimethicone copolyol are all forms of silicones used in the health and beauty world. Just like alcohol, it's important to differentiate between the specifics of these forms. Dimethicone is commonly used even in products that are advertised as "silicone" free as "silica" or "silicone" itself is not used, but is utilized as a smoothing agent and emulsifier in products for a more even and smooth application. Cyclomethicone is a volatile silicone commonly found in hair products and it evaporates to not leave a film or build up in hair. Dimethicone copolyol is water soluable and leaves very little residue or build up while amodimenthicone is chemically modified to remain at the surface as a conditioning agent to lock in ingredients, this can lead to eventual build up if proper cleansing or clarifying is not performed.


Boscia is a great place to start, the line is preservative free (parabens are just one type of preservative, food for thought) and formulated and packaged in a "clean room" set up, where sterilized machines manufacture and fill packaging, leaving out airborne contaminants. The entire line is non comedogenic and gluten free (check into Boscia's FAQ/Product Information page on their website for more information, including obtaining samples from the brand). It is heavily reliant on botanical sources for its active ingredients and is void of ethanol alcohol (listed above as a harsher alcohol), bactericides, synthetic fragrances or colorants, mineral oil, and animal ingredients.



Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

Thanks for the tips!  Yeah I've been going through all my products and looking very carefully at all the ingredients.  I've had acne my whole life (as in it started in about 3rd grade and has persisted- I'm almost 30).  Although the severity has definitely subsided as I've found out more about what works and what doesn't.  It's difficult sometimes to pinpoint exactly which ingredients are problematic since acne is so multifactorial.  But I'm trying to narrow the ingredients down as much as possible.  So silica is not the same as silicone, correct?  So a powder with silica in it would be worth trying even if I have a silicone intolerance? 


I do like the Boscia line.  I've tried the oil-free daily hydration before in the past and I remember liking it for controlling oil (although I can't say for sure if it made my acne worse or not).  But I just looked at the ingredients right now, and I see that it has Algae Extract as one of the ingredients.  Isn't that extremely comedogenic?? 


I would like to try a trial in which I use products that are completely free of comedogenic ingredients, but I'm wondering if that is possible?  Do I really just need to pinpoint exactly which comedogenic ingredients are comedogenic for me? 

Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

Silica is what silicone is derived from, and considering there's no way to tell the exact percentages of silica/silicone in a powder as beauty brands aren't required to list percentages, your best bet will be comparing products off the order of their ingredient listing. For example if "powder A" has silica fourth down the line and "powder B" has it as the tenth ingredient on its list, chances are that the second powder contains less silica than the first.


After going over the Oil Free Daily Hydration lotion from Boscia I do see that it also contains silica (commonly used as an oil-absorbing agent) and that algae is in the middle of its ingredient listing. My suggestion would be to just be very observant of your skin individually. Though algae is classified as a comedogenic ingredient, doesn't mean that your skin will be reactive to it. There are also many forms of algae that can be used, and as most companies do not disclose which type, it will be more difficult to pin point what strain may specifically cause negative reactions to your skin. It would be knowing that peanuts can set allergies off; however, that doesn't mean just because you have AN allergy (for example, to pollen) that you must also be allergic to peanuts. Allergies and sensitivities to products or ingredients can also be brought on or made worse by environmental factors (extreme heat, wind, cold, etc.) along with skin disorders (eczema, rosacea, allergic contact dermatitis, etc.) and sensitized skin (injured skin that can no longer function properly to protect).


As much as it might not be super fun (or if you're like me, you can eat up research like it's addicting candy Smiley Tongue), look up and do your due diligence in finding out comedogenic ingredients and start cross referencing your items. If you end up changing your skin care, make up, body care, and hair care routine up, make note and keep a journal. It may sound like a lot of work, but being able to document how things are will help put things in better perspective. Try making slow changes, for example changing only one factor of each category (skin, make up, body, and hair), this way you can gauge what affects what. For example if you use a new root lifter spray but notice a significant number of blemishes occurring at your hair line, you're able to better focus in on that item and its ingredients as opposed to questioning if it's the lotion, serum, or bronzer you used near than area if you've never had any significant flare ups due to not changing those skin care/beauty items before.


Keep in mind the "just because it's comedogenic doesn't mean it's guaranteed comedogenic for me" mentality. For example, several natural oils, for example coconut, is listed as comedogenic; however, with facial/skin oils becoming more and more popular, it doesn't mean that they're not to be touched. Healthy oils that mimic composition of natural oils we produce bind better and absorb into skin easily and our bodies recognize them more as something familiar. It's a tough call to state whether a product will/won't work 100% for someone (just look at how many folks rave about Josie Maran's Argan Oil, but turn around and you have folks that it just flat out didn't work for), and trial and error never seems fun, but always go slow, be mindful of your skin and always attentive.

Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

Thanks so much!  Yeah I'm pretty obsessive (I do have a skin care journal) and I like research, but the more I read and experiment the more I find out how it really just depends on the individual.  And even then, there are so many factors/variables, that it can be difficult to pinpoint what is causing what.  Unfortunately I can't live in a bubble and do a true controlled experiment on myself Smiley Happy  The hormonal factor for females can also make things especially difficult. 


How long do you think it takes to definitively rule in or rule out an ingredient or product?  Or does it just depend on the individual?  Smiley Happy  

Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

You're welcome!


It can depend on the individual, and granted if a product causes any reaction/irritation with immediate use or in a short time frame, ditch it and run for the hills! Smiley Tongue


If no immediate reaction occurs, a general 2-3 week time frame is pretty standard considering it's a product used daily (moisturizer, cleanser, toner, serum). Items that aren't used as common like exfoliators, masks, or peels may take a little more time to gauge but in the same breath can also show quicker reactions as these tend to be a tad more potent in being fortified with higher doses of active ingredients.


Keep in mind how a product may react with others too, hence me suggesting making only one change at a time. This way you can gauge how a new serum not only reacts with your skin, but also how it sits and plays with the cleanser used, the moisturizer following, and even the sunscreen used on top for example.



Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

True about products reacting with other products, I'll keep that in mind. Also something I've noticed for me, is sometimes I'll develop a reaction and sometimes not. Like today, I used a hand cream that I've used before many times and for some reason my hands broke out in a rash today. I also used a foundation powder that has dimethicone in it expecting to break out more, but actually my face looks better today Smiley Sad It can be frustrating. But like you said, if a product causes a noticeable reaction even once, I'll ditch it. How do you go about figuring out exactly which ingredients are the culprits (especially if there are a lot of ingredients involved)? Is it just deduction and a bit of guesswork?


I think doing these experiments are worth it though, because even since I've drastically cut back on the number of products I use (in an effort to add products back in slowly), I've noticed my skin improve significantly. It's almost like I was adding products in an effort to solve the problems, but it was the products themselves that were causing the problems. That's why I think that if I get my skin under control I may not even have to necessarily wear foundation (whereas before it was an absolute must to cover the blemishes.

Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

Honestly, it's going to be done with a lot of patience and effort. Try comparing what you currently use against one another. For example, if you notice that in your skin care and make up that "dimethicone" comes up in your serum, moisturizer, primer, and foundation and your skin has a reaction, try to see where dimethicone falls on their ingredient list to narrow down which product may contain more and that may irritate. If you don't have any ill effects, try seeing what other ingredients they do have in common to factor out and what may be different. For example, if all have dimethicone, but you can use the serum, moisturizer, and primer with no issue and you realize it's when you use that certain foundation you break out, try seeing what is in the foundation that the other 3 items don't have. Start by looking up comedogenic ingredients to narrow down ingredients that may flag your attention.


Sometimes simplicity is the key, especially for problematic or sensitive skin. Start slow and with few items to get skin balanced and have a firm understanding and from there if need be then add in products that can supplement and be of benefit to your regimen.


Keep in mind environmental changes/external changes. You mention the hand cream you've used many times before, but now there's a rash. How long ago did you use it? Has it expired? Has the weather changed to where skin may be different/more vulnerable now compared to the last use? Sometimes the sensitivities can be brought on by outside sources rather than solely internal ones.

Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

So not to throw another wrench in the wheel, but here it is Smiley Happy  I started using the Korres Greek Yogurt Sleeping Facial last night (because my skin has been dry & flaky actually), and I woke up this morning with a red blotchy face and a few area of clogged pores/acne.  Now, should I just scrap this product and take note of the ingredients?  Or do I have to try it a few more times to see if my skin is adjusting to it?  I've read that sometimes in using new products it takes a little while for your skin to adjust.  But my inclination is to just scrap it.  Although, none of the ingredients are really jumping out at me as comedogenic.  Is Glyceryl Stearate Citrate the same or similar as Glyceryl Stearate SE in terms of being comedogenic/irritating?  Hopefully you're still following this thread lylysa, or maybe someone else can answer. 


Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

I would definitely suggest taking note of what you used alongside the Korres Sleep Facial for starters, whether it breaks you out or not, since your skin is so sensitive, any type of feedback and comparisons (whether it's good or bad) will be beneficial.


Now, aside from the redness/blotchiness and clogges pores and acne, did your face have any other sort of reactions even during the initial application? Did your skin tingle, sting, burn, feel tight or uncomfortable, or feel any other sensation?


Now, I can't advise you for sure as to ditch it or give it another go as I don't know your skin's ins and outs 100% of the way. Is it or how common is it for you to have these reactions and from past experiences do giving products that cause mild breakouts/flushing another chance end up well for you or worse? Definitely go by your gut to play it safe if all fails, as much as I can understand not wanting to waste a product or item, not being able to put a lid on things when it's just not working can be more harm than good when there's the hopes of it turning around eventually.


In terms of the GCS and the GSSE matter, GSC will be glyceral stearate in combination with citric acids while GSSE tend to have potassium stearate. Both are quite similar but depending on whether a formula wants to tackle having a lower pH, it'll tend to rely on GSC more, and if a product wants to use less emullisfiers, GSSE will be used instead.


By the way, please feel free to personal message me that way in case I don't get to see your response here I can still keep in touch!



Re: Good non-comedogenic & non-irritating products?

Yeah I'm definitely taking note of all the products I'm using at a given time.  That way it'll be easier to make comparisons and conclusions like you said.  I didn't have an initial reaction that would indicate a severe allergic reaction.  I might give it another few tries just to see what happens.  As much as I don't want to waste a product, I'd actually rather definitively pin down a product as being bad just so I have some concrete data to go off of when I'm ruling things out or in.  Thanks again for your advice and I'll PM you in the future if I have more questions!  

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