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Ingredients Demystified: Anti-Aging Meets Acne-Safe

Lilac and Flint CEO offers some incredible tips on how to help clients who want anti-aging results with acne-safe ingredients. Lilac and Flint has created a list of Ingredients that hydrate without creating breakouts. You can also check out their 3 esthetician-approved products

How estheticians treat their acne-prone clients has evolved in recent years. We know that nutrition and lifestyle factors play a major role in acne activity. We have learned to inquire about our clients’ health history, hormones, and birth control choices. We have officially debunked the myth that acne affects only teens and oily skin types. We see a large number of clients with dry skin, age 35+, still breaking out, and looking for anti-aging solutions. So how do we help our clients fight both wrinkles AND breakouts?

The problem is twofold: Active acne products are innately drying (read: accelerate aging!) Anti-aging products are rich, creamy, and pore-clogging (read: exacerbate acne!)

The solution is acne-safe hydration: products with non-pore clogging ingredients that are rich enough to intensely hydrate the skin.

Role Of Hydration In Acne Treatment

Not only is hydration key to plump, dewy, glowing, youthful skin, it should also be regarded as an acne treatment in its own right. Dehydration and TEWL (transepidermal water loss) can create more breakouts all on their own. This has many advanced estheticians thinking twice about aggressive peel series, high percentage glycolic solutions, and anything else that sets out to dry and fry acneic skin as the fast track to clear skin. 


Needle-Free Needling

EpiStep is a family of innovative products and devices that offers Skin Care Professionals various steps to improve the epidermis. And more! Comprehensive training and compliance to the scope of practice are and will always be important to us and therefore part of our products and services.

TEWL deactivates enzymes that are important to the skin’s natural exfoliation process, a process that is critical to clear skin – as we know acneic skin is genetically prone to shed cells five times faster than that of non-acneic skin. When dehydration renders the skin’s exfoliation process inefficient, it creates a cascade effect: dead skin cells accumulate, trapping dirt and oil in the pore, increasing inflammation, and eventually erupting into acne. Additionally, dehydrated skin becomes reactive to external irritants, increasing the occurrence of contact dermatitis, perioral dermatitis, pigmentation issues, inflammation, and yup, you guessed it – more breakouts. Acne-safe hydration is not a supporting actor role, it is central to the process of getting your client to clear skin. Many clients find clear skin is only attainable when their esthetician helps them find that perfect sweet spot of effective active products balanced by a full suite of acne-safe hydrating products. 

Beyond Pore Clogging Ingredient Lists

Pore-clogging ingredient lists are a holy grail in modern skincare. Acne is frustrating enough on its own, let alone finding out that your client’s skincare products are actually exacerbating the issue. But just like with elimination diets where we remove allergens like dairy or gluten, the elimination of pore-clogging ingredients is only one side of a complex equation. 

As we age, there is a natural decrease in the production of our skin’s sebum production, leading to drier and drier skin. It follows that most anti-aging products aim to make up for this loss by being creamy and buttery. Buttery is a texture we LOVE, but also one that is typically pore-clogging. This is why you’ll see many dry and anti-aging favorites on pore-clogging ingredient lists like shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. 

For acne-prone skin, we want to avoid oils like these that are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid with the property that most estheticians would recognize as that buttery *slip*. We love to warm these ingredients up in our palms and glide them over our clients’ skin – bring on that super glowing “after” photo! But for your breakout-prone clients, we suggest trading out those high oleic oils for oils high in linoleic acid instead, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that acneic skin is often deficient in. Estheticians might recognize high linoleic oils as the more squeaky-feeling type of oil. You can find the oleic and linoleic acid profile of any oil simply by googling it (or see some of our faves below!)

It’s not just about the oils, though. With acne-safe hydration, we’re looking for a range of layerable, mixable ingredient textures from waters to gels to oils that can still provide that satisfying-slip feeling without clogging pores. In addition to hydrating without clogging, these ingredients should ideally have high antioxidant levels to combat inflammation, and not disrupt the temperamental lipid matrix we know as the skin’s barrier.

6 Types of Ingredients That Hydrate Aging Skin That Won’t Create Breakouts

1 Lightweight and Watery
rose flower water, witch hazel, honeysuckle extract, watermelon extract, apple extract, blueberry extract, cucumber extract, herbal extracts, white and green tea extracts

2 Medium Weight or Geis
Aloe, honey, glycerine, hyaluronic acid, beta glucan, decyl glucoside, butylene glycol, gotu kola

3 Powders (mixed into an acne-safe liquid base)
lilac stem cells, copper and zinc peptides, caffeine, spin trap, niacinamide, alpha arbutin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate

4 Creamy with Body
caprylic capric triglyceride, chaga mushroom extract

4 Oils
jojoba oil, sea buckthorn oil, sphingolipids, prickly pear oil, safflower seed oil, hemp seed oil, rosehip oil

6 Gas
ozone, oxygen

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts For Lilac and Flint 

It’s important to note that cosmetic chemistry is both an art and a science. No singular ingredient creates effective skincare results on its own. Dose, texture, usage, and how ingredients behave in combination with one another is the fine-tuned element of formulation that is often overlooked. Many cosmetic labs are far behind the times when it comes to their proficiency in acne-safe formulation, still referencing the outdated comedogenic scale that was created more than forty years ago using inaccurate and inhumane animal testing. Our modern understanding of acne-safe ingredients is the culmination of estheticians working together, comparing notes on their treatment room outcomes, and pushing the envelope to hone and elevate our craft. It is in this niche of acne-safe hydration that our skincare brand Lilac and Flint was born. 


Perfect Advanced Treatment Room Companion

Using the DermaJEM Aria in your treatment room, you’ll be able to calm, cool, and soothe skin with the Cold Therapy. You’ll be able to remove masks and clean skin with the Skin Scrubber. You can easily improve product absorption with UltraSound.The LED Light Therapy and Microcurrent are modalities that really don’t need any explanation! Their benefits are universally understood throughout the skin care industry. Finally, the Radiofrequency will give you the ability to treat skin laxity for clients who are looking to firm and lift.
“I created the Aria so that estheticians could have a limitless variety of modalities that they could add to any treatment that included hydrodermabrasion using the Element. I wanted to make sure they could easily create an unforgettable experience for every client.” Elizabeth Camacho, Co-Founder of DermaJEM.

3 Lilac and Flint Esthetician-Approved Products 

1 CHAGA | Firming Recovery Complex

Restore bounce to the skin with this unique firming treatment formulated with more than 50 percent chaga mushroom extract. This bioactive ingredient combines with advanced peptides to create skin that feels supported, soothed, and protected. The creamy texture melts into the skin, delivering intense acne-safe hydration, with a plumping matte finish that is not heavy or greasy. See Product. 

2 BREATHE BALM | Ozonated Jojoba Oil

Dry and acneic skin types will benefit from this oxygen-rich barrier protection oil. Ozone’s natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties help to clarify skin, while jojoba oil gently restores and rebalances the skin’s barrier function. Excellent for wound repair, acne breakouts, and dull skin. Think – the glazed donut trend, but acne-safe. See Product.

3 NOURISH | Daily Replenishing Moisturizer

This perfectly balanced daily moisturizer works well for normal, oily, and acne-prone skin. Copper and zinc peptides reduce inflammation, promote wound repair, and address scarring, while hyaluronic acid, rice water, and safflower oils moisturize skin. Anti-aging tetrapeptides smooth and reduce wrinkles by promoting collagen production. See Product 

Contribution by Lindsay Flint 

Lindsay Flint, co-founder and CEO of lilac and flint Skincare

Lindsay Flint is a Licensed Esthetician with twenty years of skincare experience under her belt. She has worked at luxury spas in San Francisco, Oakland, and Palm Beach treating everything from pigmentation and wrinkles to sensitivity and acne. It was her frustration with the lack of anti-aging solutions that were truly acne-safe that sparked lilac + flint into creation. She first created this line for her own treatment room, before expanding it into a national brand with what she calls an “army of badass estheticians.” 

When she’s not reading about, writing about, talking about, or innovating in the skincare industry, Lindsay indulges her love for art, poetry, nature, and life with her husband and two children in Sacramento, CA. 

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