Hey lovelies! You’re here because you are sick of breaking out and are ready for answers and actionable steps. This is Danielle here, the owner of San Diego Acne Clinic and CEO of CEARstem Skincare- the only clean beauty line that fights both acne AND aging.
You may know our brand already, you may not, but either way you deserve to know whether your makeup and skincare are actually causing your acne.
I was inspired AF to write this piece (it wasn’t part of our content calendar for this quarter) but I saw a total fluff piece on this same topic come out from one of our ‘competitors’ and it was filled with such non-info that I got frustrated FOR you. So let’s dive in! I will be going over these things:
- Which trending makeup brands are causing the most acne right now
- How to tell if YOUR makeup is breaking you out
- How to find a new makeup (we have recommendations for you)
- How to pick ingredients that are acne-safe AND will help you age well
Which trending makeup brands are causing the most acne right now
So with number 1- it’s tricky. We don’t like to list brands by name but we get flooded with emails by women just like you using these two brands and seeing massive acne flare ups. They are both “organic” and “clean beauty” but that has NOTHING TO DO with acne-safe. Organic coconut oil will just give you organic pimples. The first brand rhymes with Shmooce Booty and the other rhymes with Booty Kownter. You get it. We have nothing against these two companies from a brand perspective, in fact they are crushing it and delivering cleaner products than most other companies! HELL yes to that! But at CLEARSTEM we care about acne first and foremost because let’s be real- clean doesn’t matter for $hit if the product breaks you out. While we love clean companies like these we wish they wouldn’t use coconut alkanes in their formulas because coconut alkanes is a derivative of coconut oil and it clogs pores. On a comedogenic scale of 0-5, coconut alkanes is a 4 or 5. Meaning it’s pretty much guaranteed to clog your pores and break you if you are acne-prone.
Another foundation that is marketed toward acne sufferers but that actually clogs pores is called “complexion rescue” from the brand that rhymes with Bear Nimerals. It too has coconut alkanes.
PRO TIP: Memorize the chemical name Ethylhexyl Palmitate. This is the most common pore-clogging filler agent in makeup brands you know and use, like Tarte, Benefit, Laura Mercier, and Bobbi Brown. Not all of the products form these companies have this filler, but a ton do. Most lines have some items that are safe and some products that aren’t, for example we do love the Amazonian Clay foundations from Tarte (both the liquid and the powder are acne safe!).
How to tell if YOUR makeup is breaking you out
2. How to tell if YOUR makeup is breaking you out. The way to tell if your makeup is causing acne is to check the ingredients against the CLEARSTEM pore-clogging ingredients list here. Bookmark this link to your phone, it’s a searchable, alphabetical field and it takes less than 4 minutes to actually check an ingredient deck. Do it with ALL your products if you are acne-prone.
How to find new makeup
3. How to find new makeup (we have recommendations for you) If you just checked your makeup and saw that it does have pore-cloggers you can swap to Priia Cosmetics and never worry again. We are not affiliated in any way other than in the crusade to save people from acne. This line has everything you need in a makeup line– bomb concealers, full coverage options, highlighters, bronzers, excellent brushes, and ingredients that are acne-safe, anti inflammatory, and support antioxidant activity. We LOVE Priia and their owner is an acne specialist like us so she follows the same guidelines and will never reformulate with pore-cloggers.
Other makeup brands that have acne-safe choices include Alima Pure, Glo Minerals, Everyday Minerals, and if you’re desperate for a quick option, L’oreal Infallible liquid can hold you over until you find a cleaner option. We don’t recommend Infallible due to the chemicals in it but if you are breaking out and just learned that your makeup has pore-cloggers, you can run to CVS and grab this to hold you over temporarily until you get matched with a cleaner brand like the mineral options I mentioned.
How to pick ingredients that are acne-safe AND will help you age well.
4. How to pick ingredients that are acne-safe AND will help you age well.This is the fun part! You now have your list of pore-cloggers, so here’s what you actually want to look for! Loose mineral makeup tends to be best for all skin types, especially acne prone. Priia is our favorite because it doesn’t use irritants like bismuth oxychloride like the other common mineral company. Here’s what you want to look for: Zinc, Titanium Dioxide, Mica as a base. (Avoid talc if you can.) The ingredient deck for your mineral makeup shouldn’t be that long- the best ones are simple and pure. You want a zinc or titanium base because of the extra layer of SPF that those ingredients provide. Using makeup with extra spf will help you age SO much better than using a makeup that doesn’t contain these. Any additional ingredients like olive leaf, allantoin, flower, leaf, bark, and other natural extracts will usually serve you very well. Just be sure to google anything you don’t recognize to make sure it’s not algae or seaweed (ex: ecklonia radiata extract).
When it comes to cleaning your makeup brushes, gentle soap with warm water is just fine. I don’t think you need to purchase a brush cleaner, you just want to wash your makeup brushes once per week as a good rule of thumb.
PRO TIP: If your acne is all over your face it’s likely from a product that’s going all over your face. These are your moisturizers, makeups, and SPFs. Check these 3 things against our list of pore cloggers so you can know what’s breaking you out. If you spend 8 minutes doing this, your skin game will be so much tighter!
I hope you invest your time into these action steps, because being in “the know” is so important if you have acne. Guessing and relying on brand names will fail you. Knowing your ingredients is LIFE!
Much love to you and your skin!
Danielle Gronich & Kayleigh Clark