Want beautiful hair and blemish-free skin? Then you need to become a detective — a cosmetic ingredient detective. While there are many myths about foods that cause acne, there are some well-known skin and hair-care ingredients that cause acne in many people.

Keep it Simple

If you have acne, avoid products that add oil to your skin or hair. Ingredient labels don’t always underline the acne-causing ingredients. When looking at products and acne treatments, always look for “non-acne” or “non-comedogenic.” If it says “oil-free,” it may still contain ingredients that cause breakouts. Stay away from isopropyl myristate, oils, and silicone, petrolatum, PVP, CVP and copolymer ingredients. Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are also ingredients you should avoid.

Wash and condition your hair before you wash the rest of your body to remove any residue that hair products may leave on your skin. Just think how hard it is to get grease off of dishes, you normally need to wash it several times to be grease-free. It’s the same with hair products — they will leave a residue that can cause breakouts if you are already prone to acne. Really clean the skin well to rid it of any product residue.

Product Dos and Don’ts for Clear Skin

To prevent pimples, consider a few changes to your hair routine:

  1. Style your hair before you apply your makeup. Wash hands thoroughly to remove all hair products before you touch your skin. Some of these products really stick and you will need to wash your hands twice.
  2. Cover your face before you use hair spray. Check out beauty supply stores for a plastic face shield you can cover your face with before spraying hair spray.
  3. Do not touch your hair and then your face as you will transfer hair product to your skin.
  4. Try to keep your hair away from your face. Choose a hairstyle to minimize contact with your forehead or cheek area.
  5. At bedtime, cover your hair if you have product in it that is prone to causing breakouts. Avoid tight head covering as this will only make you sweat and cause breakouts on your scalp.
  6. Wash your hair before you go to bed to remove hair product that causes acne.
  7. Pull hair away from your face when you sleep with a ponytail or bun.
  8. Trade out your pillowcase frequently and avoid sleeping on dirty pillowcases.
  9. Exercise without wearing foundation and use a headband to keep sweat from running down your face. Always wash your face immediately after exercising.
  10. Avoid getting hair products directly on the skin. If you do, rinse your skin well.

Here is a list of ingredients that cause acne from cosmetic chemist Monroe Lanzet. Don’t be overwhelmed — just start to eliminate products that have these ingredients. Remember, the first ingredients on a label are the higher concentrations, and the ones at the end contain the least. Think like a detective. If breakouts just recently started happening, what new products have you been using? Stop using them for several weeks and see if your skin clears. It takes days to weeks to clear blemishes, so be consistent and avoid touching your face.

  • Apricot Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Peach Kernel Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Shea Butter
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Meadow foam seed oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Olive oil
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Oleic Acid + its derivatives
  • Oleic Acid
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Decyl Oleate
  • Isodecyl Oleate
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Botanicals
  • Algae Extract
  • Carageenan
  • Red Algae
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Isoparaffin C13-14
  • Isopropyl Linoleate
  • Isopropyl Lanolate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Myristyl propionate
  • Myreth 3 myristate
  • Butyl Stearate
  • Isostearyl isostearate
  • PPG 2 Myristyl propionate
  • Isocetyl stearate
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Isostearyl Alcohol
  • Octyl Dodecanol
  • Isocetyl Alcohol
  • Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20
  • Glyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Polyglyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Laureth 4
  • Laureth 23
  • Steareth-10
  • Oleth-3
  • PPG 5 ceteth 10 phosphate
  • Glyceryl stearate SE
  • Trideceth
  • Lauric Acid
  • Isostearic Acid
  • Hexylene Glycol
  • Cetyl Acetate
  • Ethylhexyl palmitate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Isopropyl linolate
  • Isostearyl isostearate
  • Stearyl heptanoate
  • Decyl oleate