Comedogenic is an important word to know when dealing with acne and cosmetic products. Its definition is “tending to produce or aggravate acne”. Therefore, a comedogenic ingredient or product is one that will serve to aggravate your acne problems.
For this reason, it is a good idea to read the label of your skin care and cosmetic products before buying them. If you find any comedogenic components, stay away from that product. If you have already purchased a product containing these types of components, throw it out.
Our skin’s sebum is complex, made of six or seven principal components, including triglycerides and squalene, a precursor of cholesterol. The triglycerides are degraded on the surface of the skin by bacteria to free fatty acids, which cause acne episodes in genetically predisposed families. As we shall see, many cosmetics also include these acids. Unfortunately, some cosmetics include esters of fatty acids such as isopropyl mystrate or butyl stearate which are more likely to boost the production of some acne lesions. These cosmetics can interfere with traditional adult acne treatments.
Before we discuss cosmetic components, we should consider the purpose of sebum. We could assume that sebum is vital to our skin’s health. However, there is no evidence to back up that statement. Apparently, the discharge of sebum is simply a vestige whose usefulness has been lost in the path of evolution.
Sebum does not avoid wrinkles either. Wrinkling, or aging of the skin, is a reflection of accumulated sun exposure, and no moisturizer on the market is capable of reversing this exhaustion of tissues.
Harmful Ingredients in Acne Treatments
Three main categories of offending components
Lanolins Lanolin is, perhaps, the most common ingredient in cosmetics. Lanolin is simply sheep skin oil extracted from wool. The fatty acids in lanolin, just like fatty acids in our own oil, tend to aggravate some acne in the skin of individuals with genetic tendency towards acne. Many lanolin derivatives commonly being used in cosmetics are harmful to acne-prone individuals, i.e., etoxylated lanolins and acetylated lanolins. The partially chemical lanolins are capable of permeating skin pores even better than biological lanolin. Lanolin oil, itself, is acceptable.
Isopropyl Myristate and its Chemical Cousins
One of the worst components is a penetrating oil known as isopropyl myristate. It is the main ingredient in penetrating rust remover called Liquid Wrench. Isopropyl Myristate aids cosmetics go on more softly and have a slicker feel. This particular penetrating oil is so aggressive that if left over night in a beaker, it will actually move over the top, down the borders and onto the table top. There are several chemicals analogous to isopropyl myristate in cosmetics. The most common are: decyl oleate, myristyl myristate, octyl sterate, isopropyl palmitate, putty sterate, octyl palmitate, isopropyl isothermal, isostearyl neopentonate and isocetyl stearate and PPG myristyl propionate. All must be avoided, as must other surfactants such as laureth-4.
Drugs As Acne Treatments
Maybe one the most troublesome recent findings about acne-causing potential is the red colorations used in blushes. Some of the red dyes used in drugs and cosmetics are comedogenic. This discovery is not surprising considering they are coal tar derivatives. Ever since doctors noticed that acne was an occupational illness of chimney sweeps, coal tar has been known for its acne-causing properties. An acceptable substitute for red color is carmine, a dye derived from insect wings and discovered by the Aztecs.
Always be on the look out for these comedogenic components. To keep your skin healthy, remember to read product labels. This simple tip can mean the difference between beautiful and damaged skin.