Sustainably Chic

Do Green Cosmetics Cause or Cover Acne?

Lifestyle, BeautyNatalie Kay

Guest post

by Schooled by Science's Megan Ray Nichols

Acne strikes at inconvenient times, and usually it’s a giant pimple that won’t die, no matter what you put on it. Treatments get expensive, and the chemicals you put on your face seem to make it worse. More people are turning to natural solutions with transparent ingredients.

Green cosmetics impact sustainability, the environment and are a healthier option for your skin compared to cosmetics with synthetic ingredients. There are many benefits to using green cosmetics to treat acne, but there may also be drawbacks. It’s important to pay attention to the sensitivity of your skin and not use green cosmetics and treatments inappropriately.


Pros and Cons of Going Green

First and foremost, note that everyone is different, with varying skin types and sensitivities. Ultimately, you are the best judge of what works for you. At least with green ingredients, you know you’re in control of what’s going on your face. Green treatments and cosmetics may cure acne, but when used inappropriately, they become ineffective.

Some green treatments and cosmetics lead to breakouts. Mistakes lie in the inappropriate application to the face. When applying cosmetics, avoid transferring and trapping bacteria on clean skin. Cleanse your skin before applying any cover-up or treatment. Keep these tips in mind:

Invest in a good cleanser, instead of washing your face too much. By washing your face obsessively, you strip your skin of its natural moisturizers. Reduce harsh scrubs that inflame your face, and focus on nourishment. 


Only use your cosmetics, clean towels and tools. Don’t apply old bacteria to your face.


Use the fewest layers of makeup possible, preferably one that won’t clog your pores, but allows your skin to breathe. Remove your makeup before bed. This won’t trap the oils under your cover-up for prolonged periods, leading to sebaceous pimples. Green makeup with natural, acne-fighting ingredients lets you know what you’re putting on face. It’ll do the job if you let it.


Stop blaming your diet. Sure, a healthy, balanced diet will help you fight acne, but part of the equation is also genetics. Don’t follow harsh diet regiments, because there’s little evidence that greasy foods cause acne. Dermatologists may recommend green treatments that have proven effective.


Stop Pinterest shopping for green treatment plans. Tips from respected resources that properly cite research are helpful, but don’t put anything and everything on your face out of desperation. Instead of DIYing it, ask your dermatologist and look for the science behind it.

Stop believing the myths of acne causes. Things like stress and too much makeup make acne worse. Less is more. Let your skin breathe, and nourish it with a safe cleanser.


Fixing Acne Green Treatment Fails

Many cosmetics companies filter out impurities, but not all do so without the use of harsh chemicals. These could irritate your skin. However, there are many effective green treatments. Yet, for anything found on Pinterest, there’s also a failed attempt. Here are some popular green acne treatments that have failed, with their fixes:


Essential oils and extracts: Plant-derived tea tree, cinnamon, rosemary oils and other extracts have been shown to have a better or comparative – to synthetic ingredients – inhibitory effect on acne bacteria in clinical studies. 

Yet, misuse causes unintended effects, such as chemical burns and hyperpigmentation. Do not apply essential oils directly to the face. If you have sensitive skin, avoid them altogether. Dermatologists advise you to dilute the solution and only use recommended brands. Spot testing on an area of the skin is a good way to introduce this care regiment to your skin.


Overuse of green products: If it’s green, it’s safer and you can coat your face with it. Right? Wrong. Green serum and cleanser products clear up the skin, but don’t be hasty.

Don’t exfoliate! Exfoliators are abrasive to already sensitive skin. A green cleanser may include a salicylic acid, naturally originating from willow bark extract, which seeps into the pores to get rid of dirt and bacteria to banish pimples. A green serum may include Echinacea and lavender to soothe painful breakouts, without you needing to overapply or cut up plants from your backyard. Follow the label’s recommendations. 

Green cosmetics and treatments may cure acne with proper application and usage. Consult your dermatologist before using a home remedy and when considering a new treatment plan. Then, you may be confident that what you’re putting on your face is natural, safe and effective.


Megan Ray Nichols enjoys keeping up with new developments on renewable energy and other environmental issues on her blog, Schooled By Science.