4 Ingredients That Secretly Clog Your Pores

So you think you’re doing your skin a favor by cleansing it thoroughly, lathering on products that promise results and treating it to some intense hydration, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and what could be happening behind the scenes is far from helpful. We turned to Hollywood, FL, dermatologist Gary Goldfaden for some expert input on which ingredients do more harm than healing when treating our skin.  

Silicones
(More specifically, Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol and Dimenthiconol Copolyol)

“Skin care can be tricky in the hydration department,” says Dr. Goldfaden. “We want our skin to look and feel hydrated, but this is usually achieved with the use of dimethicone. Dimethicone is a silicone that gives hair care and skin care products their luxurious slip and moisturizing consistency."

Dr. Goldfaden adds that while dimethicone has been labeled safe by the FDA and remains on the "low risk" list on the Skin Deep Database, there is still reason for concern. “The issue is that silicone coats whatever it is applied to, leaving skin unable to breathe and accept or excrete natural oils, humidity and bacteria. This can cause allergic reactions, dry skin and clogged pores."

“Think of dimethicone as a barrier over the skin, none of the good ingredients are able to be absorbed and none of the bad can get out,” says Dr. Goldfaden, who recommends staying away from skin care products that use any type of silicone, and looking for products that contain hydrating ingredients like vitamin E, avocado oil, baobab oil, coconut oil (not advised for acne-prone skin) or naturally derived hyaluronic acid, instead. We recommend NUDE Skincare’s Advanced Renewal Moisturizer ($88) to firm and deeply hydrate your skin without any harmful silicones.

Alcohol and Salt
“Products that contain alcohol can actually strip and dry out your skin, causing oil production to go into overdrive, which can lead to clogged pores and acne,” explains Dr. Goldfaden. “Similarly, salt is commonly used in DIY scrubs as the exfoliation vehicle. Salt not only dries skin, which causes excess oil to be produced, but it also can tear skin. Microscopic tears in the skin can be a breeding ground for bacteria and dirt, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts." Try Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner ($25) for an alcohol-free cleansing solution. 

Lanolin
“This naturally occurring ingredient derived from sheep’s skin may actually being doing more harm than good,” says Dr. Goldfaden. “Sheep produce lanolin (that softens their wool), which is similar to our production of sebum (or oil).” If you tend to be acne prone, Dr. Goldfaden suggests staying clear of Lanolin or any of its derivatives. We recommend DTRT’s Dear Matt Lotion ($39) to keep oil at bay while minimizing pores simultaneously. 

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