Everyone loves imagining the exciting lives of undercover agents and secret spies, but when it comes to your skin, espionage is not always a good thing. Undercover agents in your skincare products, laundry detergent and makeup are seemingly out to get you – that is, out to sabotage your clear skin.
If you have acne and don’t know what you’re doing wrong, it may be one of these members of the CIAA – that is, the Central Intelligence Agency of Acne!
Undercover agents in your makeup
The best spies are the ones you never even know are there, of course. That’s why you might not know how the secret additives in your foundation, sunscreen and other skincare products are causing you to break out. Take a peek at the ingredients label of your makeup and look for these main offenders:
• Lanolin. This is the term for sheep sebum, or oil. While lanolin is good for super dry hands (and even dry skin on your face, if that’s an issue) it can be detrimental to acne-prone skin. You should also look out for petroleum – yup, it’s another form of oil, and it’s not the best for acne-prone skin.
• FD&C. No, not the FTC. These letters, FD&C, indicate artificial coloring in your makeup, whether it’s lipstick, foundation or blush. If you have sensitive skin this can cause irritation and breakouts around your mouth and on your cheeks. Also, keep an eye out for artificial fragrance. You don’t need it, and it can cause irritation.
• Mineral oil. Mineral oil is often added to make your makeup glide on smoother, but it also forms a film on your skin that can trap dead skin cells and bacteria, causing zits.
Secret spies in your skincare products
Then there are some undercover agents that are so good at convincing you to warm up to them, you think you need them. Drying agents in your facewash, toner and other skincare products fall into this category. If you have oily skin or think that a little extra grease is causing your pimples, it’s understandable that you’d want to zap oil as much as you can.
However, sucking all the moisture out of your face is almost guaranteed to cause more zits. First of all, removing oil will make your skin produce more of it. Then, dry skin can flake and clog pores further. To keep your skin naturally hydrated, always use a light, oil-free moisturizer or one with a little salicylic acid in it – it will hydrate your skin and keep the bacteria at bay.
Spies in your bedroom?
Are there secret skincare agents working against you in your very own bedroom? Well, if you don’t wash your pillowcase or sheets regularly or are sensitive to certain ingredients in your laundry products, they very well could be.
Check your laundry detergent or fabric softener ingredient lists – many softeners are made with tallow, which is actually animal fat. This obviously won’t help your zit sitch. Change your pillows and towels once or twice a week to ensure you’re not rubbing your face against dead skin and bacteria.
Think about the intel you’re sending
Are you stressed? Getting acne from stress and pressure is not an old wives tale! Stress raises your levels of the hormone cortisol, which then increases oil production. This makes it that much more likely the oil will mix with bacteria on your face and cause acne. Sending the stressful “intel” to your body is only feeding the vicious cycle, so consider adding a few activities into your lifestyle that will help you relax and unwind. You might just find that you’ll soon have one less thing to stress about!