more acne-safe toothpastes!

sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate (the infamous SLSs!) are not the only pore clogging culprits to sneak into toothpaste and make them unsafe for acne prone skin –  look out for carrageenan too!

carrageenan (aka irish moss) is an extract from red algae (and as we know, algae extracts are pore clogging). it’s added to toothpaste as a stabilizer, thickener and to make the paste texture smoother. basically, it gives the toothpaste structure and stops it from breaking down.

but when you are brushing your teeth, working up that cleansing froth, when that foam escapes your mouth and reaches the surrounding skin,  the carrageenan (and cloggy SLSs) are able to slip into the pores and start the formation of micro-comedones that eventually lead to breakouts. sneaky!

in the past we’ve recommended the trader joe’s brand of toothpaste, but on a recent revisit of the ingredients list, we spotted carrageenan! oh no! so even though the trader joe’s toothpastes are SLS- free, they are still pore-clogging.

so here are some more acne-safe toothpastes for you to choose from (in addition to the still-safe ones we recommended before).

here’s to your dental (and dermal) health!

vitacare makes three skin-safe toothpastes that retail for $5.99

nature’s gate makes four gel toothpastes that are skin safe and retail from $5.49-7.29

kiss my face makes eight skin-safe toothpastes that retail for $5.95. we love it (& you may have seen it on the shelf at sS!)







an algae by any other name… is still cloggy!

pore clogging algae!

keeping up with cloggy ingredients is tricky when so many new ingredients are added to skin care product formulations all the time. but there is one family of ingredients that reliably clog our clients’ pores: algae extracts!

algae extracts are commonly found in acne products because they can reduce redness and purportedly normalize oil production and speed healing. in toothpastes, cloggy algae, carrageenan shows up as a thickening ingredient (see our post on how toothpaste can trigger acne).

in other body-care products, algae extracts are added as effective antioxidants, emollients, thickening agents, and water-binding agents.

algae are also touted for their abilities to firm, smooth, and re-texture skin and reduce inflammation, wrinkles, and cellulite. with such claims and utility, no wonder they appear in so many skin care products! but beware the hype, in addition to being cloggy (which sS has found to be true time and time again on our real life clients), notes that some of the numerous properties attributed to algae extracts are unfounded.

algae extracts are comedogenic because they penetrate the pore and accelerate the growth of micro-comedones. algae are also high in iodides, which can irritate the pore, triggering inflammation and the formation of pustules. over the last couple years, i have guinea-pigged (ie tested on my own skin) several products that had only one suspicious ingredient – an algae extract.  each time, regardless of the kind of algae in the test product  (plankton, laminaria, chlorella, etc.), within a few months, comedones had formed in my skin and i broke out. and we see the same time and again with clients who are using any of the variety of body products formulated with algae. in other words, in our experience… algae = breakout!

so we put on our acne detective hats and hunted down all the sea plants that are sneaking their way into our toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners, makeup, cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens.

be on the look out for these otherwise benign sounding culprits!

Ahnfeltia concinna
Alaria esculenta
Algae Extract
Ascophyllum nodosum (aka rockweed, Norwegian kelp, knotted kelp)
Black Kelp
Blue Algae
Blue Green Algae
Brown Algae
Chondrus crispus (aka Irish moss or carrageen moss)
Crithmum maritimum
Dilsea carnosa
Ecklonia (all 9 species of it)
Enteromorpha compressa
Fucus vesiculosus (aka bladderwrack)
Green Algae
Haslea ostrearia
Himanthalia elongate
Irish Moss
Lola implexa (aka Hydrolyzed Lola implexa)
Laminaria digitata
Laminaria longicruris
Laminaria saccharine
Lithothamnium Calcareum
Mastocarpus stellatus
Marine Algae
Padina pavonica
Palmaria palmata
Phytessence Wakame
Porphyridium Cruentum
Red Algae
Sea Whip
Ulva lactuca

goodness! that’s a long list – and i wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to grow.

so definitely do as we at sS do when we check product ingredients:  if you don’t recognize a plant-sounding name, “search engine” it to make sure that it’s not a sneaky, pore-clogging algae! and if it is (you already know) don’t use the product!