Skincare Products That May Be Causing Your Acne

Brandi looking down at her phone while sitting in a couch.

Acne can send us straight to the skincare cabinet looking for a fix. Pimple patches, cleansers, retinols, and other acne-prone skin allies probably await us there, ready to fight the battle against a breakout. But acne can also be caused by some of those same products we’re relying on! To make sure your skincare solutions are not also becoming the source of your acne woes, make sure to avoid these products:

Products with sulfates or parabens

Sulfates and parabens are not only terrible for clogging pores, there is some research that also indicates they may be bad for your health overall. That’s why every single Mint & Needle skincare product is sulfate-free and paraben-free. When checking your skincare product’s ingredient list, look for words that end in “sulfate” or “paraben,” like isobutylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), or ammonium lauryl sulfate.

Products with alcohol

Alcohol is a popular ingredient in skincare because it can help the product absorb into your skin more quickly, keep the texture of the product light and airy, and help preserve it for longer on your shelf. However, those with particularly acne-prone skin should try removing products with alcohol from their routine to see whether their breakouts improve. Alcohol also has a drying effect on skin, and dry skin is more prone to produce sebum (oil), thus causing more frequent breakouts.

Products with artificial fragrances

Artificial fragrances often involve the use of alcohol in the product, which again dries out skin, causes irritation, and makes acne more likely to form. The vast majority of Mint & Needle products are fragrance free, and for the few products that do have some added aromas, we specifically note them so that those with sensitive skin can consider avoiding them.

Oil-based moisturizers and cleansers

Just as it’s not a good idea to encourage your skin to produce oil by drying it out with alcohol, it’s also not a great idea to put more oil on acne-prone skin! Check your moisturizers and cleansers carefully for any mineral oils or vegetable oils. (Not all oils are bad – others, like the orange oil we use in our Age Defense Cleanser, are non-comedogenic, which means they do not tend to clog pores.)

Expired products

This is a simple but important rule: Make sure your products have not expired! It can be easy to use a favorite product every once in a while and not notice that it’s been quite a long time since you purchased it. Some products do last for many months, but once they pass their expiration date, previously helpful products can become comedogenic and start causing acne.

As you try these approaches, think of your skincare routine like an experiment. It may be that you need to cut back on products with fragrances, but don’t need to eliminate them entirely. Parabens, on the other hand, might need to become a “never again” ingredient. And as you test things out, the team at Mint & Needle is here to support you in all your skincare goals.