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Are You Making Your Acne Worse?
Comedogenic Ingredients - by Melanie Steigelmann

Despite the abundant misleading myths, acne is most often initiated by the hormone testosterone.  Both women and men produce testosterone in their sexual organs and adrenal glands. 

Serum testosterone levels vary significantly through life - being largely dictated by events such as puberty, childbirth, menopause and taking various medications.  To a lesser extent, hormone levels can be temporarily changed by menstrual cycles, physical activity (such as heavy workouts) and even sexual arousal.  

Testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands of the skin to enlarge and produce more oil (sebum).  Whiteheads, blackheads and pimples start when the sebaceous pores get plugged. 

The two main culprits which clog the pores are: 1) Trapped dead skin cells, 2) Products applied to the skin, such as soaps, cleansers, suntan lotion, makeup, moisturizers & other skin care products.

Comedones are the small bumps found at the opening of a plugged sebaceous follicle (pore).  These small bumps are the start of acne. 

So, what does comedogenic mean? Comeodgenicity in products are those ingredients that clog pores and cause pimples, which in turn can cause acne.  Non-comedogenic ingredients, on the other hand, do not plug pores and do not contribute to acne.

Most people spend a great deal of attention to removing the dead skin cells with soaps, scrubs and chemical exfoliates.  However, they do not realize that the very products they are using may actually be making their problem worse! A person must read labels carefully.

Anyone who is serious about getting rid of acne MUST be aware of comedogenic ingredients.  They can scrub their face until it is raw to remove every single dead skin cell.   However, if the soap, makeup, sunscreen or skin care products contain comedogenic ingredients, they will actually plug more pores and cause more breakouts than if they had done nothing at all.

Unfortunately, the great majority of cosmetics contain one or more comedogenic ingredients. Eliminating these ingredients, by itself, will not eliminate all acne.  However, using products that contain comedogenic ingredients can most certainly exacerbate any problems you may be experiencing.

For example, Sodium Laurel Sulfate is highly comedogenic. This ingredient is present in almost all shampoos and in a lot of face, body & hand cleansers. Sodium Laurel Sulfate leaves a film on the skin and contributes to the clogging of the skin. Some people get comedones (pimples) on their hair line and even in their scalp from these hair care products. What's worse, is when you have been told to use a face cleanser with this ingredient in it by a skin care professional and you continue to break out! This has happened to me and it is very frustrating. This is why I have continued to study the ingredients in skin care products.

Another big culprit in makeup is Bismuth Oxychloride. Unfortunately, I have done much research and have found most mineral makeup to have this ingredient in them. Yes, even the most expensive of makeup brands can contain this ingredient.

So, despite the myths out there about acne, one thing is certain: ingredients are the most important factor in choosing your skin care. Just because a brand claims to be all natural or non-comedogenic be aware and look at all of the ingredients. Don't believe all the hype and claims a manufacturer tells you. Look for yourself.

A comprehentive list of ingredients that must be eliminated can be found at
Acne Comedogenic Ingredients List.

If you need further assistance with skin care or products, you might want to schedule a free telephone consultation with the owner of Cary Skin Care - Melanie Steigelmann.