Acne cosmetica and other myths

Acne cosmetica was first described over 30 years ago. It was proposed that substances in cosmetic products caused the formation of comedones (blackheads) and, in some cases, an eruption. Changes in cosmetic ingredients make acne cosmetica much less common today, although it is reported occasionally.

Dr. Zoe Draelos, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine, published a review that answers many issues about cosmetics, cosmeceuticals and acne. Here are 4 myths, dispelled.

Myth #1. Cosmeceuticals do not produce acne if labeled “noncomedogenic” and “nonacnegenic.”

  • There is still a risk of acne
  • These terms were created to establish an image for cosmetics designed to minimize acne
  • The claim is based on the ingredients in the product, not the results of tests

Myth #2. Mineral oil is comedogenic.

  • Probably not true
  • Cosmetic grade mineral oil is the purist form

Myth #3. Sunscreens produce acne.

  • Technically, papules or pustules rather than true acne can develop
  • Practically speaking, a blemish is a blemish

Myth #4. A complicated skin care regimen is necessary for clear skin.

  • More skin manipulation leads to more opportunity for problems to arise.
  • Choose moderation in skin care

This and much more is discussed in Dr. Draelos’ highly technical article.

8/26/06 22:12 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.