Back when I first started my blog in 2017, I did a post on my skincare routine. At the time, I considered my skin to be sensitive and acne prone. While I still like some of those products, I no longer use the Alba Acnedote scrub because it has phenoxyethanol (skin irritant and possible carcinogen), and cocamidopropyl betaine (skin irritant). Also, when I did that skincare routine, I was 25, only about 2 years past severe cystic acne. I still considered my skin very acne prone and I wasn’t worried about aging.
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Now, I’m 28, haven’t had a bad breakout since going gluten free (when I was 23), and I’m definitely more concerned with aging and want to prevent it as best I can! I’ve also learned even more about ingredients in skincare products and I’ve noticed there’s quite a few products that claim to be for acne prone skin, or for sensitive skin, however they have ingredients that clog pores and irritate the skin! (You can’t trust marketing labels…you MUST check the ingredient label to really find out what a product will do to your skin!)
Also, I know this day in age, due to our poor quality of diet and overuse of prescription drugs, our bodies are so out of whack. More adults are suffering from bad acne than ever before! (If you want to heal your skin from the inside out, here’s a great place to start.) No skincare products will work to clear your skin, they may just temporarily mask the symptoms of a larger problem. But you also don’t want your skincare products specifically marketed to clear your acne, make your skin worse either.
An easy way to figure out if your acne is caused my something external (bacteria, clogged pores, products), or internal (food sensitivity, poor gut health, hormonal imbalance), is ask yourself, what kind of acne do I have?
If your acne is Cystic Acne, it’s caused by something INTERNAL. I don’t care what the dermatologist says, Cystic Acne is not caused by something on the outer layer of your skin. Cystic Acne starts at the deepest layer of your skin. You feel them deep under your skin, sometimes even before you see them on the surface. Cystic Acne looks like large red bumps that don’t come to a head. They’re often painful and they take a while to go away too. Most people that have cystic acne don’t only have acne on their face, but they can have it down their neck, on their back, arms, upper thighs, stomach, pretty much all over their body.
If you have the little zits that come to a head, blackheads, or little colorless bumps mostly on your face, but can also be on your upper body too, your acne is probably caused by something EXTERNAL or if you’re a teenager, fluctuating hormones which you should grow out of. (“Should” being the key term there…way more women than every before have hormonal acne into adulthood.) This is the kind of acne people think of when they hear “teenage acne.” In my opinion, the best way to get rid of this kind of acne, is to pay attention to the ingredients in your products and use gentle cleansers and moisturizers that won’t clog your pores or screw up your skins PH balance, which will make your problems worse.
My acne was an internal problem caused by a gluten sensitivity, but I also think a slight hormone imbalance and poor gut health also were factors in my awful cystic acne. The best way to figure out if you have a food sensitivity is to try an elimination diet. The 5 most common food sensitivities are Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, and Corn. Eliminate them all for a couple weeks, then slowly add them back in and see if you react. It could also be too much sugar, in your diet too (click here for tips to cut back on sugar,) or just a sensitivity to a common ingredient like Vanilla. Just experiment with food and see what works for you. If you think it’s a hormonal imbalance, I highly recommend THIS BOOK (even if you’ve never taken Birth Control. It has loads of information on hormones and balancing your hormones naturally.)
So not only am I going to let you know what I’m using on my skin currently, but I also want to share some ingredients you should ALWAYS avoid in skincare products as they can make your skin problems worse.
Let’s start with ingredients I think you should ALWAYS AVOID in skincare products…
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: SLS is EXTREMELY clogging and drying! If you have acne prone skin, definitely stay away! Unfortunately, this one can be difficult to avoid unless you’re an avid ingredient label reader, as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the scientific term for SOAP. It makes facewashes have a nice lather however, it’s really bad for your skin.
- Propylene Glycol: You’ll find Propylene Glycol in face wash and moisturizers because it makes the product thicker. Unfortunately, Propylene Glycol is a skin irritant. Also, from my personal experience, propylene glycol makes me very red, itchy, and it feels like my skin is burning. Definitely avoid!
- Fragrance: Since the ingredient “Fragrance” can hide up to 3,000 undisclosed ingredients, it’s best to avoid since you don’t know what you’re actually putting on your face. The chemicals that make up “Fragrance” can cause skin irritation at best, cancer at worst.
- Mineral Oil: While mineral oil itself doesn’t seem to be clogging, it can cause other clogging ingredients to get trapped in pores. Also, even more concerning, unrefined, or mildly refined mineral oil can cause SKIN CANCER! Do not put this junk on your skin please. (I legit found mineral oil in a prescription acne cream I had from the dermatologist…)
- Retinyl Palmitate/Retinol: While creams and moisturizers with Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol, or any form of Vitamin A may be good for combating fine lines and wrinkles, it’s best to avoid, especially if you spend any time in the sun. The sun causes this ingredient to mutate and actually cause skin cancer! (What’s even crazier is you can find this ingredient in sunscreen too. It’s so important to read ingredient labels and really understand what you’re actually putting on your skin!)
I also found this great list with a lot more ingredients that can be clogging as well.
Here’s a few other ingredients I personally think you should avoid if you want nice skin. As always, do what you want with this information…
- Salicylic Acid: Salicylic Acid is in a lot of skincare products for acne because it helps dissolve oil and dead skin trapped in pores. I personally do not like it because it’s also irritating! It dries out your skin and causes irritation which can make acne problems worse and the dryness can also make wrinkles more noticeable.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl Peroxide is used in skincare for acne because it supposedly kills the acne causing bacteria. It causes the skin to get dry and peel which helps dead skin not get trapped in pores. Benzoyl Peroxide literally works by IRRITATING YOUR SKIN! So yeah, you might not get as many breakouts, but you’ll end up with red, itchy, dry, cracked skin…it’s basically the lesser of 2 evils here.
Recently, I’ve been getting into products that help with antiaging and keep my skin looking smooth and glowing. The products I’m currently using are also very gentle, and they’re completely TOXIN FREE which means they can help with acne prone skin too!
Here’s my current skincare routine and the products I’m currently using.
If you want to give any of these products a try, CLICK HERE for $10 off your first Crunchi purchase! Discount automatically applied at checkout.
Crunchi Charcoal Facial Bar: I start by washing my face with this. The Charcoal and Kaolin Clay in it help cleanse your pores without harsh, irritating ingredients. The Charcoal Facial Bar’s ingredients also help balance your skin to prevent it from getting too oily or too dry. It’s completely TOXIN FREE!
Crunchi Clarilight Facial Essence: After washing my face with the Charocal Facial Bar, I apply Crunchi’s Clarilight. Clarilight is a toner without harsh ingredients. It’s completely TOXIN FREE and it’s loaded with Antioxidants, AHA, and Hyaluronic Acid which help prevent fine lines and wrinkles. It also has Aloe which is great for sensitive skin, and it’s got Willow and Birch which make your skin glow!
I didn’t think I’d be in love with this product when I first ordered it, but the appearance of my skin has improved more than I thought! It’s definitely a new staple in my skincare routine! The instructions on the bottle say to apply it with a cotton round however, it has the texture of a serum, so I actually like to apply it with my fingers!
Crunchi Daylight Moisturizer: Again, this moisturizer is completely TOXIN FREE. It’s made with Sea Kelp Extract which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles as it plumps the skin. It’s also loaded with Antioxidants as well as Jojoba Oil and Avocado Oil to moisturize the skin without feeling heavy.
I start by removing my face makeup with a microfiber cloth and water. I remove my eye makeup with coconut oil. These work way better than toxic Neutrogena makeup remover wipes (or any other makeup remover I’ve tried for that matter!)
ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub/Crunchi Charcoal Facial Bar: Every other night, I use the ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub and every other night I use the Charcoal Facial Bar. Again, the Acure Brightening Scrub is free of toxic chemicals! The scrub has Sea Kelp and French Green Clay which softens and cleanses the skin. It also has Madonna Lily to brighten the skin! My skin always feels so soft after using this scrub, and it doesn’t irritate my skin at all.
Crunchi Nightlight Facial Cream: Crunchi’s Nightlight is also loaded with Antioxidants as well as Hibiscus Flower Acid which helps rejuvenate the skin. Ever since starting to use Nightlight, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the prominence of my forehead wrinkles. I also started putting this on my eczema patches and it works way better than any eczema cream I’ve tried!
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask: About once a week, after I wash my face, before I apply Clarilight, I like to do a mask! This one is my absolute favorite. The Bentonite Clay helps draw out impurities and toxins in the skin. When this mask starts to dry, you can feel your face pulsate which is bringing more blood flow to your face. This is a great detoxification mask!
Keep in mind that not every product works for everyone.
While these products may be some of my favorites, other products may work better for you! I do believe though that these products are great for many different skin types and can help improve many skin issues.
The most important thing I hope you take away from this is ALWAYS READ INGREDIENT LABELS! I can’t stress that enough! Companies can claim anything on the front of a product. The claim “non-comedogenic” literally means nothing. It’s supposed to mean a product won’t clog pores, but when you look at the ingredient label, you’ll find pore clogging ingredients a lot of times. The claim “for sensitive skin” or “dermatologist recommended” also means nothing.
For example, Cetaphil claims to be non-comedogenic, dermatologist recommended, and their label even says it’s a “soap free cleanser”. Those are total lies! Cetaphil has Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (soap) in it, as well as Propylene Glycol (skin irritant), and a bunch of Parabens (hormone disruptors…can make hormonal acne worse!) This is the epitome of why you can’t trust marketing labels. You MUST read ingredient labels to really know what you’re putting on your skin!
If you have any questions about any of the products mentioned, leave me a comment! Also, if you need any help navigating the ingredient label on any products you’re currently using, leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram! I’d love to help!