If an evil genius wished to harm the skin of women, he could not have devised a better tool than cosmetics. Rubbing more oils into the skin is the worst possible thing an acne sufferer can do.
Some cosmetic ingredients are so potent that they can induce a form of acne even in women who are not otherwise genetically acne-prone. In fact, one out of every three women can expect to be affected by the condition dermatologists are now calling acne cosmetica. It is no small problem. Acne cosmetica may be affecting 30 million women in this country. While no one in the beauty industry set out to intentionally ruin the complexions of millions of women, it is happening. What originally began as an accident born out of ignorance continues today in the name of commercial expediency.
Who Gets Cosmetic Acne?
Any woman who is genetically acne-prone or suffered acne as a teenager -- even if only a mild case -- is almost certain to be affected by comedogenic ingredients in cosmetics (comedogenic refers to a substance's ability to penetrate down into the pore and cause the formation of comedones). Additionally, plenty of women who would otherwise never have acne are literally giving themselves acne with comedogenic makeup and skin care products they are rubbing into their skin. Young women in the "natural" acne age are the most likely to react badly to comedogenic ingredients. Therefore, teenagers and women in their twenties are the most susceptible to cosmetic acne.
Cosmetic acne manifests as fairly numerous, slightly elevated small whiteheads, appearing over the cheeks and chin and sometimes the forehead. Periodically, some of these whiteheads turn into inflamed pustules.
Women with cosmetic acne often get caught up in a vicious cycle. Because it may take up to six months before cosmetic acne develops from a particular product, she is unlikely to connect her makeup use with the acne. The more she breaks out, the more makeup she uses to cover it up which leads to more blemishes and more covering up. The problem spirals. Already deeply committed to cosmetic use, she is likely to try one cosmetic solution after another, each one more expensive than the last -- and all of it only worsens the situation. Thousands of women walk around with easily preventable cosmetic acne for as long as ten or fifteen years, never knowing what is causing their constant complexion problems.
How Did the Acne Causing Ingredients Get in the Cosmetics?
Cosmetic chemists historically have tried to mimic sebum, the skin's own surface oil, in order to derive some of its assumed benefits -- "assumed" because there is no real benefit to sebum. The claim that sebum (or oil~ is necessary for moisturizing the skin is misleading. Children do not produce sebum, yet enjoy moist skin. Sebum doesn't even prevent wrinkles. Wrinkling or aging of the skin is a reflection of accumulated sun damage and hereditary.
Assumed benefits -- "assumed" because there is no real benefit to sebum. The claim that sebum (or oil) is necessary for moisturizing the skin is misleading. Children do not produce sebum, yet enjoy moist skin. Sebum doesn't even prevent wrinkles. Wrinkling or aging of the skin is a reflection of accumulated sun damage and hereditary programming". Whatever its original purpose, sebum's various chemical components, such as wax esters and fatty acids, are troublesome. Yet many cosmetics contain these same highly irritating fatty acids such as stearic acid. Even worse, many cosmetics contain chemical derivatives of these fatty acids, such as isopropyl myristate or butyl stearate, which are even more potent than their parent fatty acids.
You don't have to understand these chemical names or know how to pronounce them to get them out of your life. All you need to do is take a list along with you to the drug store and check ingredient labels. It is best to purchase all natural products when possible to be sure you are not contaminating your skin. It is also possible to get products that have been created without preservatives that contaminate the skin as well. Again, be sure to read the labels.