Carrageenan Triggers Acne - Beach Beauty Bar and Acne Clinic

Carrageenan Triggers Acne


What the heck is C-A-R-R-A-G-E-E-N-A-N?

Carrageenan is a common food and cosmetic additive extracted from red seaweed, and it is often found lurking in products deemed “organic” and “natural.” Because of its gelling properties, it is used as a natural emulsifier and thickener for food and cosmetics.

It can be found in some otherwise acne-safe, dairy-free alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, lactose-free milk, Greek yogurt, and many other dairy free choices. Some manufacturers use carrageenan as a binder in processed deli meats. Also, it is used in toothpaste, skincare, hair care, shaving cream, makeup, sunscreen, and cleanser.

That doesn’t seem so bad, right?

Well, think again my friend.

Here are the quick down-and-dirty facts about carrageenan.

Carrageenan is Pore Clogging!

It is a pore clogging ingredient and will cause pimples and pustules if you apply it topically through your makeup, hair care or oral hygiene products.

We often find it in “natural” toothpastes, including Tom’s of Maine and others. That is why we always recommend Schmidt’s Wondermint Toothpaste because it is sulfate-free and doesn’t contain carrageenan. (See: How Toothpaste Affects Acne ) Make sure you check all of your make-up, hair care and toothpastes for this pimple-producing ingredient. If it’s in there, get rid of it pronto! And, if you are one of our clients, ask us for our acne-safe shopping list.  We have done the homework for you, listing shampoos, conditioners and other products that do not contain any pore-cloggers.

Carrageenan is Inflammatory!

Seaweed (no matter what the color) is a nutritional no-no in this world of acne because its high level of iodides which cause increased inflammation.

There has been much scientific debate over carrageenan and its correlation to gut irritation, irritable bowel disorders, and digestive problems. While the studies are not conclusive and we are not health practitioners, we know that carrageenan is not a safe ingredient for people who suffer from acne.

Cornucopia, a non-profit food policy research group—and one of the most outspoken groups on the hazards of carrageenan—are requesting the FDA to reevaluate a petition to ban carrageenan. According to one of their statements:

“Natural does not mean safe….Poison ivy is natural, but you wouldn’t put it in skin lotion…carrageenan side effects appear to do to your gut what poison ivy does to your skin.”
If you would like to read more about the scientific studies involving carrageenan, we recommend visiting the Cornucopia Institute, as they have published several articles about the health effects of this “natural” additive. We also found “Is it Safe to Eat Carrageenan” by Medical News Today, which easily explains the risks associated with it.

What’s It Like to Work With an Acne Expert

Who would have known that carrageenan is an inflammatory ingredient and triggers acne? When you work with us, we help you scour your fridge, medicine cabinet and makeup bag to uncover any and all things that could be contributing to your acne. You can stop googling “how to clear my acne,” and allow us to guide you every step of the way. Let us do the worrying, and allow yourself to start clearing.


Final Thoughts

Avoid using skincare, makeup, hair care and toothpaste that contain carrageenan. Seaweed triggers acne, so do not consume it in any form, including sushi or powdered greens.
Cheers to clear!


carrageenan triggers acne

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