how to stop picking your skin!

image source: trich.org

ARE YOU A PICKER?

if you consciously or unconsciously pop, squeeze, poke, scratch, peel, extract, pinch, or rub at your skin – this blog post is for you! at skinSALVATION, if you do any of the above to your skin, we consider you a “picker”. i know, i know, it’s not the most lovely of titles. i wasn’t happy to learn i was a picker; i thought i was extracting my acne properly when i saw white stuff come out! but it comes down to this – it doesn’t matter how exactly you’re messing with your skin, if you are physically aggravating it with your hands or other tools, you are going to slow down the clearing process.

this is a big deal. being a picker will be an important factor in how fast we are able to clear up your skin; your journey to clear skin will be a slower, more frustrating one if you are unable to keep your hands off your face. sometimes, if the picking (or scratching, rubbing, etc) is bad enough, it will inhibit people from clearing up altogether.

unfortunately, it can be super difficult for people to keep their hands off, especially when they see a juicy white head that looks ready to extract! so, while i know how hard it is and have compassion for those struggling (especially since i have had trouble quitting the picking behavior myself), it is also my job to get clients to leave their skin alone, so don’t hate me when i ask you “how is the picking is going?”

so, we have an array of suggestions, some may be helpful for you and others may not be, but as i tell clients everyday at sS – some effort is better than no effort! it is worth a shot, and any decrease in the physical aggravation to your skin will increase the rate at which you clear up.

as a side note, even the estheticians here at skinSALVATION refrain from extracting our own skin. there’s so much that goes into a proper extraction – you need good light and a clear view of the pore opening so that you can ease the seed out with as little trauma to the skin as possible. you also need the right leverage to get the right angle to completely clear the seed out of the pore. too much pressure in the wrong spot can rupture the cell walls, which leads to bacteria spreading, new breakouts in pores nearby, and the textural scarring known as pock marks. after all – anyone can get a mirror and a pair of scissors to cut their own hair – but will it be as good a cut than if you let a professional do it for you?

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER:

1. i remind my clients all the time, some progress is better than no progress, and all progress is worth giving yourself credit for! taking (small) steps everyday to self-care / self-love adds up overtime. try to think through the process of what happened the last time you picked. you probably ended up with a big mark that took forever to heal, and scarred, right?? cultivating this gentle mindset towards yourself is a HUGE way of giving yourself self-love.

 

2. be open to professional help. if stopping picking altogether was as easy as reading a blog post and taking a few suggestions, we’d all be cured! as you know by now, unfortunately, it can be a complicated behavior to stop. there are cognitive behaviorial therapists that specialize in BFRB (body-focused repetitive behavior). kristin southwick is a great one that has helped many of our clients with excessive picking of the skin – she’s no longer working within the bay area, but may be available for remote counseling (email us so we can send you her information). trich.org is a great resource to find help and community!

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD OF PICKING:

ice your face, #1 recommendation we make to clients of all time. it will help decrease inflammation = make acne less pickable. we have most of our clients using these ice pop makers. you can ice for up to 30 minutes, just remember to cleanse your face beforehand and keep the ice moving (to avoid frostbite) and don’t apply too much pressure (this can lead to more inflammation). icing works well to treat existing inflamed acne as well as prevent it, and it helps to drive your active products further into the skin. win win win!

squeeze a stress ball! this can be helpful for those who unconsciously pick their skin, for example while on the computer or watching tv. these are the isoflex stress balls we hand to our clients during our signature face treatments, to keep their hands busy 🙂 koosh balls, play dough, anything your hands can fiddle with will work.

meditation can be helpful to reduce stress levels, and if stress is one of your “picking triggers” this would be a more preventative approach. it could also help right in the moment too though! we recommend clients use the simple habitcalm or insight timer apps for guided meditations. youtube has super helpful videos too, and if you find that meditating is difficult because your mind starts going a mile a minute when you try to sit quietly (my experience), then body scan meditations are a great place to start! i like this one because it’s only four minutes. meditating is a practice of being aware, and noticing your mind wander off (and bringing it back to the meditation) is awareness in itself.

turn the lights down low. we suggest that you refrain from turning the bathroom light on when doing your regimen. instead, you can light candles (i find this makes it more of a self-care routine versus a self-critique session), set up a himalayan salt lamp, or just simply leave the door open so the hallway light can get in. overall, the idea is to have more flattering lighting. one of our esties, kayla, never turns the big light on when doing her regimen and this has helped her immensely.

 

here are a few gadgets that you can try out. this toy soybean is a keychain so you could use on the go! this keychain is supposed to be like bubble wrap. if you want to try something that literally looks like a pimple, you could try this, called the pop it pal.

 

find (and use) resources online. check out our pinterest board on skin picking for more strategies to keep your hands off your face, as well as for ideas on how to live the acne-safe lifestyle to avoid the formation of acne in the first place!

free your mind with EFT! try using the emotional freedom technique (EFT). if you haven’t heard of it, do not worry, i did some research and included my findings below. i based most of the information on what gary craig, the founder of eft, says on his website and youtube videos. i think it has potential to help people stop picking their skin – it seems a little woo-woo but is worth a shot!

SOME BACKGROUND ON EFT:

according to gary craig, “the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system”. if that statement is true, based on that basic idea, energy disruptions are the reason for any emotional issue, whether it be actual emotions like grief or other issues that have emotional roots like stage fright. once you identify the energy disruption, you can use the tapping process to correct them. the eft tapping basic recipe is described in detail in this blog post so that you can simply read along and apply it to whatever personal issue you want to improve upon/release.

here’s another explanation of this technique given by holistic doctor mercola:

eft is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles. instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem — whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.

this combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the “short-circuit” — the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.

and yet another anecdote: after suffering from allergies for years, our founder + ceo finally found drug-free + long-term relief with advanced allergy clinic, whose work is very similar to EFT, as dr. mercola has described (except without the verbal affirmations). feel free to email kim@skinsalvationsf.com to find out more about her experience!

we are going to use the example problem of having the “urge to pick skin”. before reading on, if you want to watch an introductory video with some clips of people who have changed their lives using eft you can click here.

the points used are based on the pathways (meridians and vessels) that acupuncturists use. they are either on/near the end-points of the energy pathways or at points along these pathways that are close to the body’s surface. the theory is that the tapping stimulates the energy pathways thereby balancing the disruptions.

BASIC RECIPE FOR EFT:

one important thing to keep in mind: language used always aims at negative because it’s the negative that creates energy disruptions (and the eft goal is to neutralize them).

also, if you’re a visual learner, it might be helpful to watch the video i based the notes below on.

1st step: identify issue and make assessment on current intensity of problem, how bad on scale of 0-10.

  • example phrase: urge to pick at skin, level of 8.

2nd step: setup. tap the karate chop (KC) point with two or more fingers (fleshy part of outside of hand) while saying setup phrase in the format of “even though i have this ____, i deeply and completely accept myself.”

  • example phrase: even though i have this urge to pick my skin, i deeply and completely accept myself

3rd step: sequence. while tapping each point about five times, say a reminder phrase that includes a brief statement to remind our system what we’re working on. each point is marked on the diagram below.

  • example phrase: “this urge to pick my skin”

1st point: top of head (TOH). tap with your finger tips while saying reminder phrase.

2nd point: beginning of eyebrow point (EB). tap with 2 finger tips while saying reminder phrase.

3rd point: side of eye on corner of orbital bone (SE). tap with 2 finger tips while saying reminder phrase.

4th point: under eye on orbital bone (UE). tap with 2 finger tips while saying reminder phrase.

5th point: under the nose (UN). tap with 2 finger tips while saying reminder phrase.

6th point: chin point midway between bottom of lip and chin (CH). tap with 2 fingers while saying reminder phrase.

7th point: collarbone (CB). take fist and thump in area somebody would tie their tye while saying reminder phrase.

8th point: under armpit/on rib cage (UA). take finger and put right on hollow part of armpit, then go down straight 4 inches. tap with 4 fingers while saying reminder phrase.

4th step: reassess issue on scale of 0-10.

  • example: urge to pick at skin, level of 4.

5th step: repeat until goes down to zero or plateaus. if it plateaus, then according to gary, you need to get to the root of the issue more. you can read more about how to do that here.

KEEP US INFORMED:

if you use any of the suggestions mentioned in this post, let us know about your results so that we can better help other people! email emily@skinsalvationsf.com or frontdesk@skinsalvationsf.com

emily’s acne journey

2018 – clear skinned, happy and fulfilled!

i had perfect skin until around 2012 when i was 25 years old.

when i went off the birth control pill i had been taking for over ten years and started getting painful, inflamed breakouts in the lower half of my face, my self-esteem plummeted. my way of interacting with the world changed. i began wearing tons of makeup everyday and spending more time in the mirror. i avoided places that were well lit so that i could hide. i chose how i faced people based on where the worst inflammation was on my face. in other words, my acne was always on my mind.

i immediately started buying “non-comedogenic” and “acne-safe” (or rather, marketed-towards-acne) products at the drugstore. i would use a new product for a few weeks and when my skin didn’t clear up i would go back to the drugstore and buy a new cleanser and moisturizer. i didn’t know much about skincare and was overwhelmed whenever i tried to figure out what was best for me. after a few months of trying tons of different products with no real progress, i went to a dermatologist.

this photo exemplifies how overwhelmed i felt whenever i went shopping for something to “cure” my acne

side note: i now know that when products claim they are good for acne, non-comedogenic, or free of cloggy ingredients it does not mean much. i would estimate that 95% of the products clients bring in during the initial consult appointment are actually not acne-safe and are actually exacerbating their existing acne and/or creating new seeds – even though they are advertised as such! 

the dermatologist i went to prescribed two topical products right off the bat: retin-a and clindamycin.

  • retin-a is a medication with the active ingredient of vitamin a, which is acne-fighting and beneficial for many people struggling with their skin BUT the formula i was using was in a base with isopropyl myristate which is a 5 on the 0-5 comedogenic scale = as cloggy as it gets! you can read more about comedogenic ingredients and our vetting process here. so while the active ingredient may have been helping, i was getting a dose of super cloggy ingredients simultaneously. retin-a also makes you more photosensitive, but because i was scared that sunscreen would break me out i wasn’t wearing it. i got sunburned and gained a few more freckles during this time.
  • clindamycin is in a class of medications called lincomycin antibiotics. it works by slowing or stopping the growth of bacteria that cause acne and by decreasing swelling1. since i started this active product at the same time as retin-a i am not sure how it affected my skin, but side effects include dry skin, red skin, peeling skin, increased sensitivity, and even breakouts!

overall my skin became more sensitive, red, dry, and most importantly did not clear up during the use of these two products. so my dermatologist decided to try a more aggressive approach: oral antibiotics. i was prescribed doxycycline and instructed to take it twice daily for 3 months straight, which i did religiously. my skin didn’t clear up during this time, and the only changes i observed were negative:

  • my digestion became problematic = my gut health declined. there’s a link between your gut health and skin health, you can read more about that here.
  • my hair started falling out. my dermatologist and primary care physician assured me that it was not caused by the doxycycline but my hair started growing back after i stopped the medication and that was the only change, so i am pretty certain that was the cause. unfortunately my hair has not fully gone back to the way it was before taking this drug.

after 3 months of doxycycline i had a follow-up appointment with my dermatologist. she didn’t seem surprised that my skin hadn’t cleared up, and decided to “take the next step”. i got a prescription for benzoyl peroxide (aka bp). so now i was using 3 topical prescription products and had stopped taking the antibiotic. the bp i got was extremely drying so my skin starting cracking around my mouth and felt raw all the time. i continued using it though, because i thought it was my only hope.

over the next year i used those three products daily, but kept getting inflamed acne in the lower half of my face. it would itch in these areas, feel sore to the touch, and never seem to fully come to the surface. if i had an especially painful cyst i would go to another dermatologist about 45 minutes from my house to get a cortisone injection. these injections were expensive, painful, and sometimes caused some little textured scars – and i realize now, didn’t remove the actual acne seed. because the seed remained in my skin, the discoloration also remained and many times the cyst would become inflamed again.

i started trying to find my own solution to acne. i did tons of internet research and read blogs written by people who struggled with their skin. i used coconut oil to remove makeup (super cloggy and made my inflammation worse). i would pour boiling water on washcloths and place them on my face, then try to pop the deep cysts i had (which always made them bigger and darker in color). i stopped eating dairy altogether and that helped clear up most of the acne in my forehead, but i would still get breakouts in my chin.

one day, one of my close friends told me her roommate worked at a place that specialized in adult acne. i looked up skinSALVATION and told myself i would make an appointment if my skin didn’t clear up within 6 months of being dairy free. 6 months later i called and scheduled my initial consultation.

the first time i stepped foot in skinSALVATION in 2014, i felt relief. it was liberating to be able to go over my whole skin history with somebody who knew what they were talking about. i learned what lifestyle changes i needed to make to clear up my skin. i changed all the products i was using because they all had pore clogging ingredients. i started coming in for treatments (extractions + dermalogical grade peel) every 3-4 weeks.

at skinSALVATION we rate the skin’s clarity using a percentage, with 100% meaning fully clear and with no acne. if half the pores on someone’s face had acne, we would rate the skin at 50% clarity. since i had cut out dairy 6 months before coming in for my consultation, my skin was fairly clear except for the inflammation in my chin. kerry, my esthetician, rated my skin at 80% clear.

this is how my chin looked at my consultation on 11/2014

a summary of my progress over the first year and a half after becoming a client is below. as you can see, my clarity would go up and down depending on how strict i was with the lifestyle changes the estheticians recommended. despite dropping the ball a few times, my skin never got as broken out as when i first started, because i continued using the acne-safe topical products in my home-care regimen and came in for treatments.

  • 11/2014 – consultation – clarity: 80%
  • 12/2014 – 1st treatment – clarity: 85% i was worried because i didn’t peel very much after the treatment, but then learned that the skin doesn’t need to literally peel to get the benefits – there is cell turnover happening on a microscopic level
  • 1/2015 – 2nd treatment – clarity: 90%
  • 3/2015 – 3rd treatment – clarity: 85% skin went down in clarity most likely because it was purging the soy i had in my diet before becoming a client. i also went a little too long between my 2nd and 3rd treatments so this may have slowed my progress
  • 4/2015 – 4th treatment – clarity: 90% inflammation had gone down altogether by this time
  • 5/2015 – 5th treatment – clarity: 95%
  • 6/2015 – 6th treatment – clarity: 97%
  • 7/2015 – peel-only – clarity: 97% got just a peel, not a full treatment with extractions since they weren’t needed
  • 9/2015 – peel-only – clarity: 97% i got a little cocky around this time and started eating soy again
  • 10/2015 – peel-only – clarity: 95% the soy started catching up with me and i had some inflammation again
  • 1/2016 – 7th treatment – clarity: 85% the soy i ate had officially started purging. i had to learn this lesson the hard way!
  • 2/2016 – 8th treatment – clarity: 85-90%
  • 3/2016 – 9th treatment – clarity: 90% was better with acne-safe diet but still eating some refined sugar
  • 4/2016 – 10th treatment – clarity: 95%

i’ve learned over time that my skin is the most clear when i implement all the suggestions my sS estheticians make (what a surprise!). i’m the type of person who has to learn lessons on my own though, so despite the knowledgeable advice i received here at sS, i had to connect the dots myself to truly make a change in my eating habits. i can see now when i look through the notes the estheticians took each time i came in that when i ate dairy, soy, or refined sugar, i would abstain and my skin would break out a few months afterwards from purging, then my clarity would go back up a few months after that.

 

this is me now, clear skin, no makeup and with my daughter wilma!

 

now that i am working as an esthetician here at skinSALVATION, i have extra motivation to stay compliant to the acne-safe lifestyle. it would be hard for me to teach people what changes to make if i weren’t living by those guidelines myself, right?! so these days my skin has been hovering around 90-95% clarity. i suspect i’m not 100% clear due to some hormonal changes (went off the IUD and some supplements i was taking) – and the acne-safe lifestyle is a daily practice, not perfection.

due to my personal struggle with acne, being in a position now where i can help people clear their skin means a lot. in some strange way, i feel like i struggled with acne so i could find this path to being an esthetician. it is so fulfilling to be able to relate to my clients and say “don’t worry, i’ve been there, i have an answer for you”. it seems everything happens for a reason!

1. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a609005.html

UPDATED 5/2019: acne-safe laundry detergent + softener (and why it’s a thing)

we are updating this blog post (march 2018) because we recently found out there are a few detergents that we used to recommend using that have changed their formulations and are no longer acne-safe! read on for the details and a list (with exact photos) of the remaining acne-safe detergents.

weird and nitpicky, yes we know.  we are crazy – acne crazy!  but this can be a really important one to keep in mind, if you want to have consistently clear skin (particularly on the sides of your face, and your body!).

WHAT’S OUT THERE

most laundry detergents (and most anything else that foams up, be it shampoo, body wash, dish detergent, etc) on the market contain either the famous acne-causing foaming agents sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate (aka SLS), or the sneaky one: fragrance (click here to read more about this culprit).

WHY DOES IT MATTER for my skin?

these ingredients leave a residue on your sheets, towels and clothing which can rub onto your skin and break you out.  this can be especially true if you are breaking out on your body, or the sides of your face (sleeping on pillowcases).

case in point: sS client by the name of MD – clear skinned for years – started getting mystery breakouts on the sides of her face.  after much investigative questioning during treatment, we discovered that she switched to using a new, fragranced detergent.  we suggested she switch to a safe one – she came back 4 weeks later, and was all cleared up!  we figured that the pillows and sheets were the only thing rubbing the sides of her face regularly, and that the new detergent was the only new, isolated thing we could find.

why does it matter for the planet?

as we go through our day-to-day, it can be easy to forget about how our everyday actions impact the earth. remember that all the liquid soaps, potions and detergents go down the drain and into the ocean. if you multiply how much shampoo, face wash, dish soap, laundry detergent etc. you personally use by how many other humans are doing the exact same thing, you will be shocked. and if you eat fish, the oceans are where fish live, so we are indirectly consuming all the toxins we are washing down the drain. because of this, we choose to stick as “clean” as possible, and have the cleanest laundry detergent options listed at the top of this long list, under “MOST CLEAN”.

WHAT DO I USE NOW?

first off, stick to the fragrance-free formulas, including any scent in it (even “natural” fragrance – unless it’s just 100% essential oil, non-existent with conventional brands and rare with “natural” boutique brands).

keep in mind though, that if you are already using these safe-looking ones but are still breaking out, it’d be best to call the manufacturer and ask what exactly are the ‘surfactants’ in the formula you are using, in case they are using the SLS’s but not disclosing it in the ingredient list on the bottle.

ALSO – just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s acne-safe.  (ahem, coconut oil!).  these days, that positioning is almost always marketing.

we compiled a long list of all the detergents we have researched. we included photos of the safe ones and a list of their ingredients so that you can make sure you get the right one. everything is listed alphabetically below and you should be able to find them in your local big brand store, natural health food store and online. scroll down to the bottom to read up on fabric softeners, stain removers, and wool balls (which are the acne-safe alternative to fabric softeners).

BE MINDFUL that the ones you choose must exactly match the name, picture and ingredient list we’ve posted below! 

MOST CLEAN LAUNDRY DETERGENT OPTIONS

from an ecological standpoint there are a few brands that seem to be the most clean for the earth (while also looking acne-safe): green virgin soap nuts deseeded, molly’s suds unscented laundry powder, naturoli extreme 18x soap nuts / soap berries liquid laundry detergent and oasis liquid laundry detergent.

green virgin soap nuts deseeded look SAFE

ingredients: sapindus mukorossi – deseeded

from the website: “Soap Nuts Deseeded are one of the most effective natural cleaners on the planet. They are actually a berry that contains a natural surfactant called saponin that helps remove dirt and grime from just about anything.  That’s one of the reasons that soap nuts have become such a popular laundry detergent. Ditch the chemical and carcinogen filled laundry detergent you used to use today. Replace it with Mother Nature’s answer for clean, soft clothes: soap nuts. Also called soap berries, soap nuts contain natural, gentle cleaning agents that do not irritate your skin or scalp. They are a safer, more natural way to clean and soften your clothing. What’s more, they are more economical and get you more loads than detergents for a lot less money. Experience clean, chemical and toxin-free clothing today!”

molly’s suds unscented laundry powder 120 loads looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium carbonate sourced from the Green River Basin in Wyoming, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate (heptahydrate), and unrefined sea salt.

from the website: “As consumers, we think about what we eat, but not about what we allow to touch our skin and how the ingredients can and do leach into our bloodstream! For example, detergent ingredients like ionic surfactants, are the most persistent in the environment and change the sex of our fish and Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE’s), which have been banned in Canada and Europe, imitate the hormone estrogen in our bodies which effect our health and fetal development. These chemicals are found in our drinking water because they are not completely biodegradable. So the decision was made to create Laundry Powder and other household products that are truly safe for humans.”

naturoli extreme 18x soap nuts / soap berries liquid laundry detergent looks SAFE

ingredients: pure saponin aqueous extract from 100% sapindus mukorossi soap nuts, vegetable glycerin, olive leaf extract, potassium sorbate, grape seed extract, sorbic acid

from the website: “Green eco-friendly proprietary formulation. Unscented – no fragrance added. Hypoallergenic. Biodegradable. Enhanced with pure Olive Leaf Extract for additional protective properties (among the oldest known therapies for skin ailments). Odor removing. Preserves integrity of fabric fibers – superb for fine, delicate fabrics and wools. Preserves fabric colors. Dye and fragrance free. SLS, NPE and phosphate free. Formaldehyde free. Petro-chemical free. Chlorine free. PH neutral (6) . Vegan. No animal testing. Absolute minimum carbon footprint. Minimizes shipping costs. Lightweight and easy to handle bottle. No optical brighteners or scents – excellent for military use, hunters, and all scenarios where scents are to be avoided. The ultimate eco-friendly, camper’s soap. Recyclable PETE bottling. Produced and bottled in the USA.”

oasis super concentrated laundry detergent looks SAFE

ingredients: Purified water, Linear alkyl sulfonate, linear alcohol ethoxylate, citrus oil.

from the website: “Oasis Biocompatible Laundry Detergent is designed and tested to be biocompatible with plants and soil, as well as for the disposal of treated wastewater in aquatic ecosystems. It is the best choice for septic tank disposal and the only choice for reusing wash water for irrigating plants-the most ecological alternative. Disposed of in a septic tank or grey water system, microorganisms and plant roots will biodegrade Oasis.”

SAFE LOOKING LAUNDRY DETERGENTS 

 babyganics 3x laundry detergent fragrance-free looks SAFE

ingredients:water, lauryl /myristyl glucoside, potassium cocoate, sodium citrate dihydrate, propanediol, lauramine oxide, oleic acid, protease and amylase, citric acid, sodium gluconate, sodium tetraborate, calcium chloride, sodium hydroxide, methylisothiazolinone

 

cheer free & gentle does not include ingredients on site, so best to assume NOT safe

charlie’s soap laundry liquid looks SAFE

ingredients: Water, sodium carbonate (washing soda), C12-15 Pareth-2 (surfactant)

 

 

 

charlie’s soap laundry powder packets look SAFE

ingredients: Sodium carbonate (washing soda), C12-15 Pareth-2 (surfactant), sodium metasilicate (anti-caking agent), cellulose gum (dissolvable packet)

 

 

charlie’s soap laundry powder looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium carbonate (washing soda), C12-15 Pareth-2 (surfactant), Sodium metasilicate (anti-caking agent)

 

 

clorox doesn’t make a laundry detergent. they have other laundry products, most are unsafe BUT they do makde a stain remover and color booster that looks safe, see in section below.

country save powdered laundry detergent might be safe, there is sodium sulfate in it which may be short for sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate (which is super cloggy). you could try this one at your own risk!

common good laundry unscented looks SAFE

ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, sodium cocoamphoacetate, lauramine oxide, lactic acid, sodium benzoate, sodium gluconate, sodium citrate, tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, amylase enzyme, lipase enzyme, (essential oil).

 

costco / kirkland brand does not include ingredients on site or on the bottles themselves, so best to assume NOT safe

dreft products all have fragrance, so their products are NOT safe

ecos 4x hypoallergenic laundry detergent free and clear looks SAFE

ingredients: Water, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Potassium Cocoate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Methylisothiazolinone

 

ecos baby free + clear disney looks SAFE

ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone

 

 

ecos hypoallergenic laundry detergent free + clear looks SAFE

ingredients:Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone.

 

 

ecos laundry detergent packs free + clear looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Metasilicate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyaspartate, Lauryl Glucoside, Enzymatic Blend, Citric Acid

 

ecover liquid laundry detergent fragrance-free and all other products are NOT safe

gain products all have fragrance, so their products are NOT safe

grab green laundry pods fragrance-free looks SAFE

ingredients: sodium carbonate peroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium metasilicate,c9-11 pareth-6,citric acid, calcium silicate, subtilisin enzyme blend, lipase enzyme blend, amylase enzyme blend, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, polyvinyl alcohol

 

the honest company laundry fragrance-free liquid (and the baby formula version) have some ingredients are not recognized by our system (which means they haven’t been tested and could be risky). the second ingredient is ethoxylated fatty alcohols, which might be cloggy but might be acne-safe. you could try this one at your own risk!

 

honest laundry packs free & clear might be safe, there is sodium sulfate in it which may be short for sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate (which is super cloggy). you could try this one at your own risk!

method 4x concentrated laundry detergent liquid free + clear is NOT safe, the free +clear detergent packs are also NOT safe.

method 8x concentrated detergent liquid free + clear looks SAFE

ingredients: ethanol, propanediol, monoisopropylanolamine, ethyl glycerin acetal levulinate, coco/soy methyl ester, glycerin, laurel alcohol ethoxylate, laurel ethoxylate, PEG 300 monooctyl ether, sodium alkane sulfonate, lactic acid, polyester, carboxymethylinulin, decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside or caprylyl/myristyl, coco methyl ester sulfonate, soy methyl ester ethoxylate, cellulase, protease, amylase, manganese, distyrylbiphenolsulfonate

 

molly’s suds unscented laundry powder 120 loads looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium carbonate sourced from the Green River Basin in Wyoming, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate (heptahydrate), and unrefined sea salt.

 

 

mrs. meyer’s products all have fragrance, so their products are NOT safe

 

nellie’s all natural laundry soda looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Linear Alcohol Ethoxylate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Metasilicate.

 

 

nellie’s all natural laundry nuggets looks SAFE

ingredients: Soda Ash, Linear Alcohol Ethoxylate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Metasilicate, MonoSol™ film.

 

oxiclean liquid laundry detergent free & clear doesn’t list ingredients on site, so best to assume NOT safe

 

all stainlifters liquid free and clear (and other all variations) are NOT safe

arm & hammer for sensitive skin free of perfumes & dyes liquid is NOT safe

biokleen free & clear laundry liquid is NOT safe

parachute liquid laundry detergent unscented looks SAFE

ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, coconut acid, subtilisin enzyme blend, lactic acid, citric acid, amylase enzyme blend, lipase enzyme blend, potassium hydroxide

 

 

parachute liquid laundry detergent lavender looks SAFE (this is an
exception to the “no fragrance” rule because the only added ingredient is lavender essential oil)

ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, coconut acid, subtilisin enzyme blend, lactic acid, citric acid, amylase enzyme blend, lipase enzyme blend, potassium hydroxide, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil

persil products all have fragrance, so their products are NOT safe

purex free and clear laundry detergent (liquid) looks SAFE

ingredients: Water, Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfate, Sodium Carbonate, Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, Sodium Chloride, Alcohol Ethoxylate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Fatty Acids, Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonic Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Methylisothiazolinone

 

seventh generation liquid is NOT safe, the detergent packs are also NOT safe

sun doesn’t list ingredients on site, so best to assume NOT safe

the laundress liquid signature detergent unscented looks SAFE

ingredients: Plant-derived anionic and nonionic surfactants, stain-fighting and cleaning enzymes (protease, amylase, cellulase, lipase), and mineral-derived cleaning enhancers (sodium gluconate, and calcium chloride).

 

 

uniquely j fragrance free sport laundry detergent looks SAFE

ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Alkyl polyglycoside, Alcohol ethoxylate, Odor Neutralizer, Alkyl imino dipropionic acid, monosodium salt, Sodium Gluconate, Protease, Polycarboxylate sodium salt, Tetrasodium iminodisuccinate, alpha-Amylase, Mannanase, Lipase, Potassium hydroxide, Calcium chloride, Cellulase, Citric acid, MIT, Silicone emulsion, Sodium citrate, Caustic Soda

 

up&up (target brand) free+clear is NOT safe

wish deep clean free & pure doesn’t list ingredients on site, so best to assume NOT safe

woolite products all have fragrance, so their products are NOT safe

xtra products all have fragrance, so their products are NOT safe

zum clean free and clear laundry detergent is NOT safe

as mentioned above, we are updating this blog post because we recently found out there are a few detergents that we used to recommend using that have changed their formulations and are no longer acne-safe! avoid up&up (target brand) free+clear and all with stain lifters in liquid form – both of these have SLS in it now = super cloggy!

WOOL DRYER BALLS 

a natural fabric softener and shortens drying time. you can buy these on amazon and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil before starting the dryer to infuse your clothes with a clean smell the acne-safe way! these are a great alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets, partially because they are acne-safe,but also because they cut down on time in dryer = better for the environment. customers have reported they help to remove pet hair, reduce wrinkles, and fluff clothes well.

AND IF YOU MUST.. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

 

FABRIC SOFTENERS + DRYER SHEETS

fabric softener and dryer sheets are generally unsafe because 1. it is specifically formulated to leave a residue that makes your fabrics feel soft, and 2. it is usually loaded with fragrance. we found one that looks promising but only use if you’re really missing fabric softener and feel you can’t live without it – and test at your own risk! otherwise, steer clear for clear skin and the environment!

downy free & gentle liquid fabric conditioner looks SAFE

ingredients: Diethylester Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride, Water, Cationic Polymer, Formic Acid, Dtpa, Sodium Salt, Hydrochloric Acid, Calcium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Silicone Emulsion

 

STAIN REMOVERS

clorox free & clear stain remover and color booster looks SAFE

ingredients: Water, Hydrogen Peroxide, Myristamine Oxide, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, Sodium C1-=16 Alkylbenzenesulfonate, Sodium Hydroxide

 

 

ecos oxobrite multipurpose stain remover, free & clear looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Metasilicate

 

ecos oxobrite laundry booster packs free and clear

ingredients: Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Sodium Carbonate, Enzymatic Blend, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Coceth-3, Fatty Alcohol Polyglycol Ether, Citric Acid

 

 

the honest company oxy boost free & clear looks SAFE

ingredients: Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Sodium Carbonate,Polyvinyl Alcohol