Acne is caused and exacerbated by a multitude of unsuspecting ingredients that we encounter regularly in our day-to-day lives. The list below will help you weed out most of the common culprits that could be causing your unwanted breakouts.
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Get enough rest and reduce your stress
When the acne-prone individual is under stress, the adrenal glands promote oil production that can lead to clogged pores. Incorporating stress-reducing self-care tools into your daily routine will help keep breakouts to a minimum.
Stay away from foods, vitamin supplements, and sports drinks/bars containing iodides
Iodized salt, seafood, fish, seaweed, fast foods, and dairy products (cows lick iodized salt), and especially kelp tablets (some people take these for thyroid support) are a part of this list. Contrary to popular notion, chocolate and greasy foods (unless they contain salt, which most do) do not aggravate acne. Stay away from "high androgen" foods. These are found in peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, corn oil, wheat germ, shellfish, organ meats, sweetbreads, beef, and liver. These contain hormones that tend to exacerbate acne.
Some swimming pool disinfectants contain iodides and chlorine which can remain in the water, causing skin problems for frequent swimmers. Many swimmers find that the combination of hot and humid weather, the physical exercise of swimming, and chlorinated pools can cause major acne flare-ups.
Resist picking at your skin
Instead of picking, try rubbing ice on pustules and pimples for about two minutes twice a day. When icing just one pimple, ice it for 3 seconds, then lift off for 3 seconds, repeat for about 2 minutes. Try to catch them when they are first forming and they most likely will go away. Apply Face Reality Acne Med or BiON Green Tea Clay Poultice on the pustule several times per day.
Employ the power of zinc
According to the results of several clinical trials, zinc has been shown to be useful in treating acne. Some research has found zinc to be as effective as antibiotics in reducing inflamed acne. The recommended dosage for supplements varies (50-100 mg), but some research suggests that it is probably best to take no more than 100 mg per day as a dietary supplement. Excessive zinc intake may lead to deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals. It is best to take this with food and not on an empty stomach.
Avoid biotin and iodine
These two nutrients irritate the hair follicle and cause acne. Avoid iodized salt and foods that are high in iodine. Avoid protein drinks, protein bars, and multivitamins that contain these two common ingredients.
Use fragrance-free detergents
Do not use fabric softeners and/or fabric softener sheets in the dryer, especially on pillowcases as they cause a waxy residue that can clog pores on acne-prone individuals. Some examples of safe laundry products are Cheer Free, All Free & Clear, Tide Free, and Arm & Hammer Free.
Use caution with birth control
Avoid low-estrogen birth control pills, Norplant, Provera, and Depo-Provera. Also, the progesterone hormone replacement Premarin can be problematic. If you have polycystic ovaries, they will cause hormonal changes and breakouts. See the Birth Control and Acne page for more information. Our acne clients find that supplementing with Delgado Estro Block or DHT Block can be very helpful, whether on birth control or not.
Avoid personal care products that contain pore-clogging ingredients
Read labels carefully on your cosmetic and hair care products. Isopropyl myristate, cetyl alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, laureth-4, natural vitamin E, most natural oils, cocoa butter, and D & C red dyes all agitate acne. These ingredients cause microcomedone formation in certain individuals resulting in various lesions ranging from clogged pores and blackheads to inflammatory pustules. Benzoyl peroxide medications found at cosmetic departments may contain isopropyl myristate, laureth-4, or oils that impede the active ingredient of benzoyl peroxide. If you have doubts about your products, check our complete list of acnegenic and pore-clogging ingredients here.
Watch out for "oil-free" products
These often contain synthetic oils (fatty acids), D&C red dyes, and detergents that can aggravate acne.
Limit sun exposure and use a sunscreen
Although sun exposure causes desirable scaling and drying, it also damages the follicle and exacerbates hyperpigmentation. Excess sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, premature aging, and can cause "solar acne" later in life. Majorca acne, also known as "sunshine acne", is characterized by a rash of red, inflamed lesions when exposed to too much sunlight. Warm climates with heat and humidity can exacerbate acne. We offer many acne safe sunscreens that feel lovely on the skin. We can help you find one that suits you best.
Look for our gray acne safe badge
For your convenience, our products that are safe for acne prone individuals have a gray acne safe badge. While most of our product offerings will not cause acne, the safest options for those who have inflamed acne or blemish-prone skin are the products that display the acne safe badge.