The Ingredients Guide – Comedogenic, Irritating Ingredients To Watch For

Last week, I asked how many of you paid attention to the ingredients list on your beauty products–what was the majority answer? No, not at all; it is not a concern for you. As a beauty junkie, I have (and probably will not any time soon) not become an ingredient wizkid, simply because all of those scientific names never stick in my brain. However, I do think that is it vital to understand the importance of ingredients, especially for those with skin problems. I like to keep certain no-no ingredients in mind when I find a product that works really well, in addition to when I find a product seems to compound existing skin issues.

This guide is by no means a be-all, end-all of cosmetic ingredients, nor is it a full resource on what each ingredient does. I strongly advise you to check my sources, as well as head over to Savvy Skin, run by reader Jeni, because she is a skin care fanatic.

Bad ingredients are pretty much classified as either comedogenic or irritating. Comedogenic means it causes acne (hence why products are touted as non-comedogenic). Based on researching ingredients and the following sites, these ingredients are often found to irritate skin and/or cause acne. When ingredients are tested for their comedogenic or irritating level, they are ranked on a scale of 0-5. 0 means that the ingredent is non-comedogenic and non-irritating, while an ingredient that receives is a 5 is the worst in terms of comedogenic/irritating levels.

It is important to note that people with less sensitive skin may use highly comedogenic or irritating ingredients without any adverse effects. These ingredient lists tend to be more helpful for those that struggle with skin imperfections or troubles, and elimination or reduction of certain known harsh ingredients may inevitably pave the road towards healthier skin. As with all ingredient lists, they are listed in order of amounts–e.g., the first listed ingredient is highest percentage-wise (like water-aqua in 25%) with the last listed ingredient having the least amount percentage-wise (like 0.05%). So if you find a product that you love, and you see it has a potentially irritating ingredient towards the end, it is less likely to be the actual cause of your skin problems. If you use many products that use a particular poor ingredient, even if small amounts on a per product basis, it may add up to a larger dosage overall, though. Keep an eye out!

See a compiled ingredients-to-watch-for list…

Highly Comedogenic (ranked 4 or 5)
Acetylated Lanolin
Algae Extract
Algin
Butyl Stearate
Carrageenan
Cetearyl Alcohol
Cetyl Acetate
Cetyl Alcohol
Cocoa butter
Coconut Butter
Coconut Oil
Colloidal Sulfur
Cotton Awws Oil
D & C Red #17, 21, 3, 30, 36
Decyl Oleate
Dioctyl Succinate
Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfosuccinate
Ethoxylated Lanolin
Ethylhexyl Palmitate
Glyceryl-3-Diisosterate
Hexadecyl Alcohol
Isocetyl Alcohol
Isocetyl Stearate
Isodecyl Oleate
Isopropyl Isostearate/Linolate/Myristate/Palmitate (Isopropyl alcohol is OK)
Isostearyl Isosterate/Neopentanoate
Laureth #23, 4
Lauric Acid
Myristyl Lactate/Myristate
Octyl Palmitate
Octyl Stearate
Oleth-3
Oleyl Alcohol
PEG 16 Lanolin
Polyglyceryl-3-Diisosterate
Potassium Chloride
Propylene Glycol Monostearate
Red Algae
Sodium Chloride
Sodium Lauryl Suflate
Solulan 16
Steareth 10
Stearyl Heptanoate
Syearyl Heptanoate
Wheat Germ Oil
Xylene

Moderately Comedogenic
Almond Oil
Apricot Kernel Oil
Arachidic Acid
Ascorbyl Palmitate
Avocado Oil
Azulene
BHA
Benzaldehyde
Benzoic Acid
Cajeput Oil
D & C Red #19, 27, 40
Glyceral Stearate SE
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Mink Oil
Myristic Acid
Olive Oil
PEG 150 Distearate
PEG 200 Dilaurate
PEG 8 Stearate
Sandelwood Seed Oil
Sesame Oil
Shark Liver Oil
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Sorbitan Oleate
Soybean Oil
Stearic Acid Tea
Sulfated Castor Oil
Sulfated Jojoba Oil
Wheat Germ Glyceride

Highly Irritating
Acetone
Algae Extract
Algin
Cajeput Oil
Colloidal Sulfur
Isocetyl Alcohol
Isopropyl Alcohol
Laureth 4
Octyl Stearate
SD ALcohol 40

Moderately Irritating
BHA
Benzaldehyde
Benzoic Acid
Camphor
Flowers of Sulfur
Isopropyl Myristate
Capric Acid
Caprylic Acid
PEG 16 Lanolin
Solulan 16
Steareth 10
Tridectyl Neopentanoate
Xylene

Sources

Inspired by SavvySkin