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December 1972

"Acne Cosmetica"

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Arch Dermatol. 1972;106(6):843-850. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620150029011

Low-grade, persistent acneiform eruptions of small comedones with occasional papulopustules occur in one third of adult women. This study imputes cosmetics as the cause of this disorder which has been named acne cosmetica.

Half of 25 facial cosmetic creams were found to be mildly comedogenic when tested in rabbits' external ear canals. Substances which are common constituents of cosmetics were also comedogenic, namely, lanolin, petrolatum, certain vegetable oils, and pure chemicals such as butyl stearate, lauryl alcohol, and oleic acid.

These materials were only weakly comedogenic in relation to potent acnegens such as tars and chlorinated oils. Daily use for years can evoke lowgrade comedonal reactions in susceptible women. More active cosmetics induced subclinical comedones when applied occlusively to backs of men.

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