Stores & Services
Find a Sephora

Happening at Sephora

View all


From makeovers to personalized skincare consultations

Free Classes

Get inspired, play with products & learn new skills

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Post in Oily Skin

Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I just felt the need to warn anyone who may suffer from acne or oily skin that Drunk Elephant may not be the best brand for you because it certainly was not for me. I am 35 years old and have not suffered from ANY acne or breakouts in well over 10 plus years. I do have oily skin but thankfully not acne. However within two days of starting on the complete Drunk Elephant skin care line my face was erupting in horrible cystic acne everywhere, whiteheads appearing everyday and my skin was ten times more oily then it has ever been. My pores looked so congested and clogged.I was shocked because I read some great reviews from others on this line but it destroyed my skin! I stuck it out for 4 1/2 months and it just got worse and worse to the point I couldn't use it any more in fear I was going to get permanent scarring. I thought it may have been "purging" but I highly doubt your skin "purges" for well over 4 months. Now I don't even believe in this purging thing. If my skin was clear for years prior to using these products then I really can't see there being such horrible invisible issues happening beneath the skin for years that suddenly decide to surface. Not only that but it had been over 4 months and it was getting worse!


      After doing some research on the ingredients I found out that pretty much every product in the line has marula oil in it and if you look up this ingredient you will see that it has an EXTREMELY high comedogenic rating and potential to clog pores-it's comedogenic rating is 4/5 (with 5 being the highest)!. Also the C-firma's 5th ingredient is Laureth-23 is rated 3/5 on the comedogenic scale! Thankfully after researching all the ingredients to find out what could be causing these breakouts on my skin I was able to see why and stop using them. Thankfully now my skin is healing from these breakouts now that I have switched to a different line.


   I REALLY REALLY wanted to love these products so bad! I spent so much money on them and thought the packaging was so cute and loved the whole all natural, non-toxic approach since I only use clean products. And for anyone who may say the standared DE response of "what happened was caused by other brands I must have been using and NOT DE" I can assure you this is impossible considering I ONLY used DE for the entire 4 months-DE cleanser, C-firma, TLC and the SPF. Literally did not use ANYTHING else on my skin and also I do not wear makeup ever. Unfortunately I have nothing else to attribute the acne and breakouts on other then the DE products. As I mentioned I had not had any issues with acne or break outs whatsoever in well over 10 years UNTIL I started using these products. I even decreased the amount of the serums thinking maybe I was using too much and it made no difference whatsoever.

I am sure others have had these experiences and just wondering what your thoughts are.


Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!


I recently bought the Drunk elephant kit, and it’s been 3 months and my skin started to breakout, as you I have never had acne or any kind of breakouts. I’ve noticed that every-time I use it, my skin starts to itch and at night my skin hurts like a rash. I thought it was normal since it’s my first time using it…  but now that the side effects are being more progressive -and I’m experiencing signs of acne, I want to stop using it. 
I was wondering what kind of skin care and day cream do you use that works? Also I’m curious what did you do to go back to normal. 

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

Till to this day I often wondered why I broke out so so bad with drunk elephant polypeptide cream and it’s been 4 years since the incident. With in hours my skin was doing something. At first I thought it was purging my skin but from research it was definitely a breakout, even my husband was concerned asking what happened to my beautiful skin. And when I showed him what I started using he said throw that stuff away. Lol so to fix what happened I literally washed my face 3-6 times a day with the purity philosophy face wash (yellow bottle) and I got my skin back after 2-3 days. I’ve been so scared to try any products that say peptide like collagen peptide powder. However I really hope it was that one ingredient (marula oil) indeed and nothing happens when I try collagen peptide powder. 

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

It did the same thing to my face! .. my skin was clear .. I started using protini cream and the breakouts were terrible .. I’m recovering from i

as we speak.. anyone prone to acne do not use this line .

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I’m 15 and haven’t got any acne for 4 months, then I used the no. 9 jelly cleanser from Drunk Elephant and started getting pimples around my nose. Very disappointing.👎

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I have very dry skin and C-Firma is causing whiteheads all ove rmy face.  I haven't had trouble with any of the other products. 

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I am having the same problem! I am only using the jelly cleanser and the protein moisturizer and I have never had pimples like this before. Definitely returning both of these!!

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

Omg yess did the same to me. I was really hoping to love it.  My breakouts are awful the moment I put the serums and creams on. So sad this didn’t work for me. 

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I spent a small fortune on DE over the last couple months. Here’s my take after trying them and doing research. Some products are very acnegenic, if prone to congestion the products that should be avoided most are Lala retro face cream, a-passoni retinol, and c-firma serum. The least congesting products are obviously both TLCs, the Framboos serum and BabyFacial. There are only four products in the line that I haven’t tried, the sunscreens, the f-balm and the c-tango eye. My favorites are obviously the TLCs, they really are good. But I also like the Shaba complex eye serum, it has prompted some eyebrow and lash growth that was desperately needed, but it does require a hydrating product to be layered over it. I like the bar soaps and the Protini moisturizer, but do not use them exclusively as my cleansing/moisturizing products both morning and night. I typically cleanse with one of the bars at night and use Protini as my day cream. The jelly face wash is okay but not something I will likely repurchase. The b-hydra is really good, but you get a lot more bang for your buck with the First Aid Beauty hydrating serum. Marula oil is okay, I prefer argan or rose hip seed oil. Argan is a great multi-taster and rose hip seed oil is better for acne prone skin. I cannot deny the glow from the c-firma mixed with a-passoni, it really made immediate difference on the appearance of my neck but if I leave it on for more than 6-8 hours that glow is tarnished with an angry pimple. If you are only mildly prone to acne then these products are great if you are mixing other products into your routine, but using any one or more of the most congesting products multiple days in a row can lead to disaster. Look at ingredients, do some research about which are most acnegenic and introduce product slowly to see how your skin will react. I dove into Lala retro full speed and got a really painful cystic pimple, but worked my way up to using c-firma 2-3 times a week and always mixed it with other products so the results were positive. The whole idea that all of these are good for everyone and that they should be used exclusively without mixing other brands into your routine is absurd. Everyone has different sensitivities and skincare needs, skincare is NOT one size fits all. Hope this helps anyone who is looking to try the line or wondering which products will work best for them!

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I’ve been using the DE moisturizer (the green cap one) and experienced for the first time ever, acne, Like a rush on one check and big painful cist all over my face. I have dry skin and never in my life had acne problems. I stop using the moisturizer 2 days ago, I hope it goes back to normal soon. Also, lateñy the skin around my nose feels tighter than ever and it’s very red/irritated and swollen. 

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

What product do you use now!? I had the same exact problem with their line it makes my skin greasy and breaking out. Just curious what you turned to!?

RE: Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

DE did the same thing to my skin. After trying hundreds of products, I switched to Tatcha and only Tatcha. Their products have made my skin so clear and have transformed my oily skin to normal skin. The are clean and every product smells amazing!! I always look forward to doing my skin care routine.

Re: RE: Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I hated tatcha water cream so much. It made my skin so greasy. A lesson in what works for one person's skin might not work for the other. 

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I am 50 and I have experienced the same thing.  I wake up with small red bumps/white heads on my nose everyday.  I have gotten a  few places on my chin as well.  Very frustrating.  I don't think that I kept my receipt to return it.


Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

Wow, thanks for posting this.  I got the birthday kit and really liked it.  No breakouts and I thought the jelly cleanser did a decent job.  Wanted to investigate other products good for oily skin.  Now I'm nervous because it's so expensive and I don't want to buy a new DE product just to breakout!!  I rarely have acne.  Now oily slick skin, yes but no acne.  Thanks for starting this thread!!

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I picked the drunk elephant set as my bday gift last month. I was excited to try it because it's way too expensive to buy. After using the face wash I found myself wanting to rewash my face because it didn't feel clean... Like refreshing clean. Then when I used the moisturizer, my face started to sweat a lot, it was like I had ran 10 miles in the desert. Unfortunately I was on vacation and it was the only stuff I brought so I had to double wash my face then wipe a good amount of the moisturizer off. I wish it worked like I had hoped.

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I’ve had a similar experience.  May I ask which line you switched to?

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

Glow recipe! Best line ever

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I totally agree with you!!!


I used the Drunk Elephant cleanser which was a birthday gift from Sephora. Then, I got acne on my forehead (I only got acne there when I was a teenager). My friend, who is also a VIBR and got the same birthday gift, used the cleanser and got an area of breakouts near her chin. She was so worried because she was pregnant.


Needless to say, after so many "coincidence" of acne and breakouts after using this cleanser, Drunk Elephant truly got some problems with this cleanser and they should keep doing their R&D to improve their products.


RE: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I just came into to search “Drunk Elephant Breakout” and can’t believe how many posts there are by people with similar experiences to mine. I just started the Framboos Serum three days ago and every day since have had multiple whiteheads. I am 49 years-old, very rarely get whiteheads/acne (in fact I don’t even have oily skin, it’s sensitive/dry). I purchased this product based on all the positive reviews to see if it would help fade a particularly unsightly broken capillary on my face caused by rosacea. (To be fair, it is less noticeable now that it’s hidden under a mountain of whiteheads, lol!) I am glad this works for some people, but it definitely has a very negative affect on others. Live and learn. I am discounting use and returning it ASAP. (By the way I trialed this product completely on itsown, all I use otherwise is an extremely gentle cleanser.) So it’s not a case of mixing products.

Re: Drunk Elephant caused acne and breakouts!

I’m one month in and experiencing the same thing. Got The Littles and Baby Facial, completely changed out and used all DE products. Worried that my skin keeps getting worse I searched and found your post. Going to stop tonight... back to normal/cheaper drug store routine. CereVe... among other things no breakouts or skin problems for years. Guess I’ll use up the products in the winter on my neck and hands...