This is an article on list of ingredients to avoid for sensitive acne prone skin.

What ingredients to avoid when choosing products for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Avoid these skincare ingredients if you have acne prone & sensitive skin
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If you spend your time coming up with solutions that could magically resolve acne, it would be wise to take a step back and amend your skincare routine. It can be mentally draining if acne is a major skin concern, especially if you have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is extremely reactive to products and ingredients that do not suit their skin type. Some products can cause irritation, inflammation or even breakouts. Simply by understanding the ingredients you apply; you can discard all those products containing chemicals that aggravate acne.

What is acne prone and sensitive skin?

Acne prone is a commonly used term in the skincare industry to describe skin that is more vulnerable to breakouts and pimples. Acne is caused when dirt and impurities located on our skin settle into the pores. Sebaceous glands on the surface of our skin release sebum. Excess sebum production and hair follicles when clogged by oil, dirt and dead skin cells, make your skin the perfect setting for bacteria to thrive in, resulting in acne.

Acne development demands largely on your skin type. It is common to note that oily skin is more susceptible to acne. However, dry skin types can also experience acne for a number of reasons such as - environmental factors, a skincare routine, products that irritate the skin and clog the pores. When the skin experiences excessive dryness, it naturally counteracts it by producing more sebum. The excess sebum and dead skin can lead to acne. It is also possible to be acne prone without having dry or oily skin.

Sensitive, acne prone skin refers to skin that is more prone to inflammation and adverse reactions and responds strongly to chemicals, dyes and fragrances present in products upon contact with the skin. This may be genetic or due to certain lifestyle or environmental factors. The skin experiences redness, dryness, sunburns and is hence vulnerable to break out as a counter reaction.

This is an infographics showing the definition of sensitive and acne prone skin.

What ingredients should acne prone skin avoid?

Treating acne can begin simply by getting rid of all those products containing ingredients that can irritate the skin. Stress, hormones, environment and diet are the main contributing factors for acne development. However, an unpopular but large contributor can be some of the comedogenic ingredients used in skincare products, which can clog the pores and cause acne. Thus, it best to keep in mind and avoid these ingredients:

  1. Alcohol: Rubbing Alcohol may make your acne worse as it dries out the skin, leading to your sebaceous glands releasing even more oil. This can lead to breakouts as the dead skin cells accumulate in your pores and clog them. Redness, peeling, and flaking also tend to make acne breakouts more noticeable.
  2. Coconut Oil: While Coconut Oil works great as a moisturiser and is instilled with antibacterial properties, it may not be the right product to treat acne as it is highly comedogenic. When applied to the skin, it can clog the pores and is thus not recommended for those with very oily skin.
  3. Perfumes: Fragrances and perfumes can be found in many over – the – counter skincare products or even face washes and scrubs. Fragrances can irritate the skin and have toxic hormonal effects. This might give a reaction to sensitive, acne prone skin causing redness and inflammation.
  4. Isopropyl Myristate: An emollient used in cosmetics to promote absorption of products into the skin. Since its main function is to help products to penetrate deep into the skin, it may clog the pores causing acne and
  5. Silicones: It is derived from Silica and forms a silky texture on the skin to give a soft, smooth finish. It forms a layer in the skin trapping bacteria, impurities, dirt, and sebum leading to enlarged pores that can also encourage blackheads and acne to form.
  6. Mineral Oil: While it locks in moisture to heal dry, irritated skin and makes products feel silky smooth and luxurious, it has a barrier effect on skin and clogs the pores.
this infographics contains the list of ingredients to be avoided for sensitive acne prone skin.

How to treat acne prone and sensitive skin?

Early treatment can prevent a few pimples from progressing to widespread blackheads, whiteheads, and deep, painful acne. Treating acne can keep it under control and can prevent future breakouts. Leaving it untreated can lead to scars and permanent spots. Check out our article on 13 Ingredients Tried And Tested To Work On Even Stubborn Acne Scars.

Here are a few tips we have put together to treat your acne:

1. Cleanse: Cleanse twice a day, to avoid dirt build up. However, over cleansing can dry out the skin. Choose a cleanser specially formulated for blemish-prone skin. Paul Penders Alpina & Tea Tree Cleansing Wash is a gentle face cleansing wash infused with anti-bacterial action of Alpinia extract and potent Tea Tree oil which effectively removes blemishes, impurities and excess oil, while regulating sebum production. The Vedaearth Clarifying Face Wash is another great suggestion for acne prone skin. Neem and Tea extracts have antibacterial healing properties that keep acne at bay and reduces blemishes for a clean, radiant face.

2. Use a non - comedogenic moisturiser: Moisturising is an integral step of treating acne. It helps to loosen sebum buildup inside pores and reduce dead cell formation. Finding a moisturiser for your acne prone or oily skin can be tough. The Swisse Vitamin B3 Anti Blemish Moisturiser with Green Tea & Willow Bark Extract is a lightweight, oil-free formula combining actives to prevent and reduce the appearance of blemishes while hydrating the skin. Vitamin B3 helps to minimise shine while Salicylic Acid helps to refine the appearance of enlarged pores and gently exfoliates to reveal smooth, clear skin.

3. Apply topical retinoids: These are commonly known as Retinoic acid or Vitamin A and are available as gels, ointments, creams, or foams to be applied directly to the skin. They work by removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin (exfoliating), which helps prevent them building up within hair follicles. It is often believed that retinoids are tricky on sensitive skin, however using products with low concentration and then increasing its content can prove to be an effective way to get successful results. Another great tip, is to apply moisturiser first to act as a buffer between sensitive skin and retinoids to reduce adverse reactions. Try the Neemli Naturals Retinol & Peptide Serum or Neemli Naturals Hydrolyzed Collagen & Peptide Scar Minimising Concentrate designed to heal scars and repair skin cells, while simultaneously preventing recurrent breakouts.


4. Incorporate acids in your skincare routine: They have various functions depending on the concern you want to target. A few of the acids to treat acne include:

4.1: Glycolic Acid to remove the upper layers of the skin reducing dead skin cells. It also encourages skin to retain moisture, delivering hydration benefits. With its dual exfoliating and hydration properties, it provides better skin texture, brighter skin and reduced dark spots and scars. Neemli Naturals Glycolic Acid & Hydrolyzed Collagen Pit Repair Concentrate targets pits, redness and uneven skin texture It helps to exfoliate skin, treat acne and reveal fresh, radiant skin gently.
Salicylic Acid on the other hand, helps unclog pores and penetrate deep into the skin, pulling out dirt and excess sebum from pores, making it an effective treatment for acne. Neemli Naturals Tea Tree & Salicylic Face Wash has antibacterial properties of tea tree oil with the anti - inflammatory salicylic acid.

4.2: Hyaluronic Acid is an indirect component to treat acne. Hyaluronic acid is used to draw moisture into the skin, making it a critical skincare ingredient for treating dryness. Hyaluronic acid is known to alleviate dry skin, increase the process of acne scar healing. It helps lock the moisture in your skin for hours together, and helps impart dewy nourished skin all day. Ilana Organics All Time Moisturiser is a reviving moisturiser with added Hyaluronic acid along with Grape Seed which has non-comedogenic properties. It is known for treating acne, tightening skin, intensely hydrate, restore collagen and fight aging.

    To understand more about the right acids for you to use check out our Exfoliating Acids Cheat Sheet: AHA, BHA & PHA For All Your Skin Concerns.

    This infographics shows the ways or steps to treat sensitive acne prone skin.

    Use clean makeup products: It is often suggested to avoid using makeup in order to reduce the residual product to settle into the skin. However, there is no need to avoid makeup. It is important to choose the right cosmetic products. Switching to use Clean beauty is a great step to ensure that you avoid putting harmful and toxic ingredients on your skin that could potentially aggravate acne.


    It is common to deal with acne prone and sensitive skin problems. There is always a solution to combat acne. The right acne approach can help your skin to fight off bacteria – causing acne. Let it not come in the way of how you present yourself and lower your confidence. A few steps in the right direction can help you achieve clear, heathy, acne – free skin.

    - By Howrah Lookmanji

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