Cheek Acne

I have been battling breakouts for the past 6 years. Usually my acne is located on my chin and forehead but lately I have been plagued with closed comedones on my cheeks. I knew it was time to figure out the cause (s) since no matter what treatment I used, those pesky bumps remained on my cheeks. I have come to the conclusion that my beautiful assortment of blushes are the enemy in this battle.

The main culprits of cheek breakouts are blushes that contain red dyes, which might be listed as D & C red dyes. These dyes are derived from coal tar, which is highly comedogenic. An organic pigment that can be used in place of red dye is carmine. Carmine is more expensive that red dyes and it does not produce a vivid color pay-off that results from the use of red-dyes.

 Another culprit is the pressing agents used to give the product a cake-type consistency.  Most often, the pressing agent used in blushes are emollients, so we have to be on the look-out for comedogenic emollients. Lanolin is commonly used as an emollient, but in it’s purest form, there is a small chance of it clogging pores. However, when lanolin is chemically altered into lanolic acid, isopropyl lanolate, and acetylated lanolin alcohol, then it is highly comedogenic.  Other comedogenic emollients include these Fatty Alcohols: oleyl alcohol, isostearyl alcohol, and octyldodecanol.  Be on the look out for comedogenic Fatty Acids which provide cosmetics with a creamy consistency.  They include oleic acid, lauric acid, isostearic acid, palmitic acid, and myristic acid. Finally check for Fatty Esters which helps cosmetics feel less oily. The comedogenic esters include isopropyl myristate, isopropyl palmitate, octyl palmitate, isopropyl isostearate, decyl oleate, sorbitan oleate, isopropyl lanolate, isopropyl linoleate, butyl stearate, and myristy myristate.

Also check for squalene, which is primarily obtained from shark liver oil. It is used to soften the skin in cosmetics and is highly comedogenic. Olive oil and cocoa butter might seem harmless but they are both also very comedogenic.

After going through my blushes, I discoverd that I own only one that would be safe for my skin. That blush is Physician’s Formula Mineral Glow Pearl Blush. I’m going to try using this blush and see if my cheek breakouts clear up.

I have now discovered that finding a true non-comedogenic blush is like finding a needle in a haystack. I have found some that contain organic carmine and no red dyes but they are loaded with other comedogenic ingredients. It seems that mineral blush might be the best option, but still read the label. Also just because a product is advertised as being “natural” doesn’t mean that it won’t clog pores or cause irritation, so again read the label.

If you have a blush that is free of all pore-clogging ingredients, please contact me.

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