acne can be caused by cosmetics

Have you found yourself trapped in a cycle of little tiny bumps that look like whiteheads ?

Normally, cosmetic acne lesions are non-inflammatory and although you may not relate cosmetic products to the sudden outbreak of acne, FYI; it may take up to 6 months for acne cosmetica to start showing up on the skin.

Of course, once the acne flares up, more makeup is needed to cover it up and the story begins.

To make things even worse, just foundation is not enough in today’s makeup routine; an arsenal of additional products like primers, concealers, highlighters, bronzers… are part of the new makeup looks with layers upon layers of cosmetics which translate into thousands of chemicals that are applied daily on the skin and among them, many may be comedogenic.

As stated by Dr. James Fulton in his book Acne RX, who I consider the maximum authority in acne : ” Any woman who is genetically acne-prone or who suffered acne as a teenager (even if only a mild case) is almost certain to be affected by comedogenic ingredients in cosmetics.”

By definition comedogenic ingredients are those that can be absorbed into the skin penetrating deep into the follicle causing clogging of the pores.

There is an ample list of comedogenic ingredients which are rated in a scale of 0 to 5 with 5 being the most problematic ones.

They are way too many to mention them all here but  keep in mind the following ones because they are rated high as comedogenic ingredients found commonly in cosmetic formulations :

  • Lanolin : especially its derivatives like acetylated lanolin and ethoxylated lanolin.
  • Isopropyl myristate and its other forms : isopropyl palmitate, decyl oleate, isocetyl stearate, myristyl myristate, butyl stereate, isopropyl isostearate,  octyl palmitate, PPG 2 myristyl proprionate, myristyl lactate, stearyl heptanoate.
  • Lauric acid
  • Cetearyl alcohol and ceteareth 20
  • Laureth -4
  • Laureth -23
  • Oleth-3
  • Cocoa butter
  • Myristic acid
  • Butyl stearate
  • Glyceryl stearate SE
  • Wheat germ Glyceride
  • Coconut butter
  • Mink oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Shark liver oil
  • D & C red #30
  • Stearic acid TEA

A few helpful tips :

√ Keep your makeup simple and use less cosmetic products. With acne less is better.

√ Avoid heavy creams and thick formulations

√ Create a list of those ingredients you want to avoid and  take it with you while shopping for cosmetics.

√ Check labels and avoid products containing comedogenic ingredients to minimize your chances of developing acne cosmetica or worsening your existent acne.


Thank you for being here,

Until next time,

Dora Salazar

Paramedical Aesthetician and beauty professional.




Fulton, J. (2001) Acne RX. Dutton Press, Inc.

A girl practicing some bad habits for acne


There is nothing more frustrating than getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror… and there it is… A pimple!!!!

To make it worse it seems to happen when you least need it , right before an important event or when we have a new date..

But what is acne?

It is not that you don’t cleanse your skin enough or that you are doing something wrong…

Acne is a common skin condition, characterized by different types of skin lesions commonly known as pimples, comedones ( blackheads, whiteheads), cysts, pustules etc.

 It is caused by the influence of several factors such as genetics, over production of sebum (skin’s natural oil), hormonal influences and slow exfoliation among others and can also  be induced by certain medications or cosmetics.  It appears frequently in teenagers because the sebaceous (oil) glands are very active during puberty; but is also very common among adults due to hormonal changes that can be caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, medications, health conditions, menopause etc. It normally affects areas of the face, chest, and the back.

Within the 4 grades of acne, it can be classified as: mild, moderate and severe. 

Even though acne is not considered a life threating condition, it makes it to the top as one of the most frequent skin disorders treated by dermatologists because it can have strong psychological effects and affect the person’s social life.


Acne grades 1 to 4



Example of Adult acne

Typical Adult Acne

Regularly presents lesions around the jawline


 In order to see improvement, it is necessary to target all different factors involved in the formation of acne. Therefore; a comprehensive program is the best approach to see more effective results. Indvidual products can only target some of the factors producing poor results.That is why most people get frustrated trying different products with no success or see some results initially but then, the product seems to stop working. 

TIP: Even when the acne is under control, a maintenance regimen should be used to halter future flare ups because the condition is still existent. 

When no inflammatory lesions are present, acne facials and a good skincare regimen can do the trick. However, when the acne is more severe, the addition of prescription medications may be necessary because bacteria colonizes deep into the follicle making it very difficult for topical skincare ingredients to reach. Bacteria multiplies quickly and spreads with ease in the right environment, so a personalized evaluation with a professional is recommended in this case to determine if medication is needed as well as the course of treatment required to improve the condition.


  • Microdermabrasion (Suitable only for Non- inflammatory acne) Also effective once the acne is under control, to treat residual pigment (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) left by the previous lesions.
  •  Chemical Peels ( Salicylic acid, Azelaic acid, Jessner Peel, Mandelic acid etc.)
  • Red and Blue Light Therapy (Red works very well to reduce inflammation and blue to reduce bacteria)
  • IPL Intense Pulse Light 
  • Clinical Acne Facials with advanced extraction techniques (Extractions must be performed only by a professional trained in this skin condition under extreme sanitation to prevent infection and scarring)


  • Facial Acne treatments
  • Prescription medications in severe cases ( if necessary to reduce bacterial growth in inflammatory acne) 
  • Adequate Skincare regimen with acne fighting ingredients, selected according to acne grade. Some of the most used ingredients are: Acid exfoliants like: salicylic, azelaic, mandelic and glycolic. Anti bacterials: benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and topical antibiotics among others to help control blemishes and minimize the gorwth of bacteria. Retinoids: retinoic acid, retinol or equivalent to accelerate cell turn over and prevent pore clogging.


(This is just an example, each case is different and may require different treatment)


  1. Gentle cleanser
  2. Exfoliating toner or pads
  3. Anti bacterial gel or cream on affected areas
  4. Hydrating moisuturizer ( If needed. It is best to use oil-free products or light textures like gels, lotions or cream gels )
  5. Sunscreen 

A good option is to find a light textured suncreen that can also hydrate the skin that way you can simplify your regimen to 4 steps in the morning.


  1. Gentle cleanser
  2. Retinoid or  Adalpalene or Equivalent ( Examples: retinoic acid Retin A(prescription), retinol, Tazorac, Differin etc.

To minimize the drying effect of retinoids, you can apply a moisturizer over it, 20 minutes after the application of the retinoid. 


Most skincare ingredients used to treat acne make the skin more sensitive to the sun. It is crucial to use sunscreen daily to prevent a sunburn. 


As always..

I thank you very much for being here,

Until next time,

Dora Salazar

Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare

Medical Aesthetician

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Retinoids are they good or bad

Many people live in a continuous love-hate relationship with retinoids.

They like its effects on the skin, especially long-term benefits but dislike the side effects that often come with its usage: irritation, redness, inflammation, peeling etc., especially at the beginning when the skin is acclimating to it.

However, it is an ingredient that has substantial scientific research to sustain claims of improving the overall physiology of the skin with a history that dates from the 1950’s initially acclaimed for the phenomenal effect that it had on acne patients.

Later, in the 1980’s it was revealed as the new gold standard for anti-aging for its capacity to work at a cellular level to improve skin functions and self-repairing abilities, improving lines and wrinkles and refining the skin texture for a more youthful appearance.

It is very important to first understand the different categories available in the market:

Retinoids are vitamin A compounds and derivatives of natural and synthetic origen and within them there are two main categories.

Prescription strength (retinoic acid, tretinoin, available in cream and gel formulations) and OTC formulas containing (retinol and various types of retinol derivatives often described as: Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Linoleate, Retinyl Palmitate and Retinyl Proprionate; regularly found in many cosmetic products).

The two categories are often alleged to be similar, but the main difference is that retinol is eventually converted into retinoic acid. The skin uses vitamin A as retinoic acid, so the prescription strength formulas are readily available to be used by the skin.

On the other hand, Retinol is considered gentler on the skin but it takes longer time to reach the results of the prescription counterpart, since the skin has to convert it into retinoic acid, although it is still very effective if patience is not an issue to you.

Without further due, let’s take a closer look to some of the almost magical attributes of retinoids?

  • Encourages skin cell regeneration. This is a strong characteristic because it maintains skin normal functioning, thus preserving a more youthful performance.
  • Improves and supports normal skin tone helping to lighten hyperpigmentation from sun damage, post inflammatory and hormonal induced like melasma.
  • Stimulates the production of collagen and elastin
  • Minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • With newer cells exposed and increased collagen and elastin production as well as hydration levels, the skin looks smoother and the appearance of pores is also improved.
  • Reduces and prevents the formation of blackheads, whiteheads (millias) and overall pore congestion.
  • Balances sebum production (skin natural humectant).


But just like everything else in life..

Things are not all white or all black. Retinoids also have their dark side and must be used with care to achieve  full benefits without causing any harm to the skin.

Here are some recommendations and important factors to consider to get the best use and results from retinoids:

  • It is not an ingredient that should be used if you are trying to become pregnant, if you are pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, in high doses it has been associated with birth defects.
  • A slow approach is better; this allows the skin to acclimate to it and minimize side effects, such as those mentioned earlier.
  • A small amount is enough to do the trick. A safer way to start is by using it every third night for a week or two, than every other night for a week and eventually every night or according to your physician recommendations. The ingredient is so effective that even when you use it a few times a week, you will still see results.
  • Apply it when the skin is fully dry to minimize risk of irritation
  • Keep it in a dark place to avoid the product from oxidizing and losing effect.
  • Do not mix with any exfoliating acids or other types of exfoliation. With that, I mean from products and also waxing, threading, sugaring, skin treatments like chemical peels or microdermabrasion etc. And if you still want to take a chance to do it, please go to a professional and let them know that you are using Retin-A. The skin will literally peel off and can leave a scar or result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. If you are having a treatment done it is regularly recommended to suspend the use of Retin-A at least 4 to 7 days prior to the procedure depending on the treatment to avoid negative side effects.
  • Retinoic acid has also proven to improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially when they are in the initial state ( reddish color).


The standard recommendation of use for Retin-A is during your night time skincare routine. If you have dry skin, a good tip is to wait 20 minutes after the Retin-A application and apply a simple hydrating moisturizer, this will prevent excessive dryness.

Since the skin can become more sensitive and drier, I suggest that you include in your skincare routine other products containing ingredients to fortify your lipid barrier and increase hydration.

Some great options are: hyaluronic acid, panthenol, ceramides, lipids, niacinamide. Anti-inflammatory ingredients are also great to minimize redness and irritation, like: aloe, allantoin and bisabolol.


Because your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun when using retinoids, using a good formulated SUNSCREEN daily is crucial to prevent sun damage and to protect your new skin.


I like retinoids, the history is there. We know they work. I have been using them on and off for a long time and I find that it is an ingredient that if used with care you can get fantastic benefits from it.

In my case, I don’t mind being patient and for the sake of my skin, being so sensitive, I prefer to use retinol. I have tried Retin-A many times, but it has been too harsh for me, even the time- released formulations. My skin has its moments, and I normally must suspend its use when my skin begins to act up. 

I personally cannot tolerate it more than two to three times a week, but that is the perfect dosage for my skin. I see the difference and my skin does not become an angry mess. Your skin will be the judge as to how often is your magic formula.

If retinoids are in your list of favorite ingredients, I suggest you start using it at a lower strength and grow into a higher percentage considering your skin reactions, that will guide you to reach an adequate dosage and optimum result. Take into consideration though, that you must be persistent to achieve those results, using it sparingly just a few times a month is not enough to make a big difference.

Also, don’t feel discourage if you are not a retinoid person. There are many people that have tried it over and over and it simply is too aggressive for them to tolerate.

There are other options now in skincare far less invasive and with no side effects, like peptides or stem cells that work through cellular communication to encourage the skin to respond to specific functions like: collagen stimulation, improving lines and wrinkles, cell repair, skin firming etc. without inducing negative reactions or making the skin sensitive to the sun. That’s why I included them in Zkin Fix Age Reversal Serum. I find them to be very effective and safe with no risks or side effects involved.

I believe that it is not about using everything or every trend that comes out there. As a matter of fact, I think that well chosen ingredients do much more than too many ingredients which at the end, there is a big chance that are fillers and irritants that won’t do much to improve the skin.

Let your skin decide.

After all, your skin care is a journey of discovery. Experiment with care and enjoy all the steps.

Thank you very much for being here.

Until next time,

Dora Salazar

Medical Aesthetician

Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare



A man practicing habits that cause acne

If your breakouts have been giving you a hard time and not responding to a good anti-acne skincare routine and a clean diet, may be it’s time to take a look at certain common habits that could be the culprit.

Bacteria is one of the most influential factors in the formation and spreading of acne lesions.

The over production of sebum and accumulation of dead skin cells create the perfect environment for  bacterial growth. Simple everyday activities and habits that you do without thinking can easily lead to transferring bacteria and end up exacerbating and worsening the acne condition.

Here is a close look at some of those habits:


Friendship is a wonderful thing, but when you share your make up you are transferring bacteria from face to face and if you are prone to breakouts, those micro-organisms that live on everyone’s skin can become a problem to your skin. Also makeup brushes accumulate bacteria with every use, it is crucial to wash them at least once a week if not more often to prevent bacterial overgrowth.


It is a great idea to use a separate fresh towel exclusively for your face regularly, that way you prevent to bring back bacteria into your skin.


It is impossible to have clean hands all the time, so the hands are carriers of bacteria that can easily end up on your face when you touch it often.


We tend to change the sheets often, but maybe buying a few extra sets of pillow cases can be a great investment so you can use a fresh one even more frequently. I know, this might not sound very pleasant, but we all drool to some extent while we sleep and saliva carries bacteria so you want to avoid those micro-organisms from reaching your skin.


Ok I agree, hair products are an essential… a great hairstyle requires some good hair styling goodies, but many of them contain waxes, formaldehyde, plastic derivatives and other chemicals that can end up on your skin and clog the pores. Also, during your sleep since you rest your hair on the pillow and then turn around during the night, your face will be laying right over the residue of the product.

The same happens with fragrance. It contains multiple ingredients, many could be sensitizing to the skin, as you touch any part of your body with fragrance residue and then touch your face, it can cause irritation and turn into breakouts or an allergic reaction.


Dry skin needs lipids (oils), oily skin on the other hand, already produces enough sebum (oil).  If you add more oil to a skin that is already producing it in excess, chances are that you can get pore congestion and/or breakouts.


Who can survive now days without a cell phone… not that many people. We are spending a lot of time on our phones and without even noticing, it ends up resting on the face. Think of all the places where you take your phone to.  Public places and bathrooms for example.. sound familiar…. With that in mind, the phone is the last thing you want to bring close to your face, especially if you suffer from acne. Use a Bluetooth and clean the phone regularly  keeping it away from your face as you talk are fantastic habits to practice if you want to improve your acne.


If you have noticed that your breakouts are localized mainly on the upper cheeks and lower part of the forehead, think of sunglasses… especially the over sized ones.. They are lovely and very fashionable but oil and sweat carry bacteria which transfers to them as you wear them. If you don’t clean them regularly they will re-introduce the bacteria into your skin when you wear them back again, triggering new breakouts.


I don’t want to sound like you need to live in a bubble to prevent acne but it is important to be conscious of how easily bacteria can spread and to avoid common habits that could be holding you back from getting clear skin. That these habits are the cause of your breakouts? Only you can find out by avoiding them and seeing how your skin responds. But one thing is certain.. avoiding the build up of bacteria on your skin, is always a good thing when you are prone to acne.

Thank you so much for being here.

Until next time,

Dora Salazar

Medical Aesthetician

Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare


Acne is a chronic condition that can be caused by many different factors such as: hormones, genetics, age, medications etc.

However; there are two habits that are very common and can aggravate the condition and even start developing acne.

Bacteria spreads very easily when exposed to the right environment..  skin that is prone to acne normally secretes more sebum (oil) and along with dead skin cells it makes the perfect setting for bacteria to set in and colonize quickly…

Considering this scenario, the following habits are a NO NO if you want to stop the rapid growth of bacteria.


Unless your hands are washed and clean, touching your face with dirty hands can transfer bacteria and create breakouts. I know sometimes it is hard to remember but if you remain conscious of not doing it, eventually you will stop altogether and it will help you prevent skin problems.


Cell phones have become indispensable in our everyday life. It is even hard to count how many times we use it during the day… but resting your cell phone on your face regularly after you have touched it with your hands or rested it on dirty places is a big ACNE CULPRIT now days. I have seen cases where only the side where the person uses the phone presents acne lesions while the other facial areas a totally acne free. Clean and sanitize your phone regularly and be aware of where you place it. Try as much as you can, not to rest it directly on your skin when you talk to avoid transferring bacteria.