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The Best Ingredients for Your Acne-Prone Skin Microbiome

by Hannah Burnstein


Ah, the 90’s… There’s a reason everyone’s nostalgic for ‘em! This time period was pretty magical: Friends, Bop-Its, young Leo DiCaprio… The possibilities were endless! One thing we wouldn’t bring back though? Harsh anti-acne skincare. Y’know, the scrub pads and face washes that ‘don’t work unless you feel the burn?’ Turns out, all those products did was erode our skin microbiome, making our faces unhappy and causing more acne and irritation in the long run. These days, however, our skin microbiomes are beloved for their protective and reparative powers. 


What is the skin microbiome? 

For newcomers who might not know, the skin microbiome is a community of healthy and harmful microbes that live on your body and influence skin health. When you take breakout-busting into account, a balanced skin microbiome becomes especially important: if it’s well-nourished, this collection of microorganisms can crowd out acne-causing bacteria and defend against environmental aggressors. But, if its delicate balance is thrown out of whack—say, if you’re using harsh skincare that gets rid of all bacteria—irritation and breakouts can ensue. We’re all guilty of buying Oxy Pads or Proactiv at one time or another, but skincare for acne-prone skin has come a loooong way since then! 


Achieve an acne-free microbiome with cushion cleanse 

These days, ~the kids~ are using time-tested, plant-based ingredients to support their skin barrier and the microbiome that resides within it. The best ingredients for acne-prone skin to achieve this result—because your skin only deserves the best—are all featured in our lightly foaming, non-stripping CUSHION CLEANSE! Even if you aren’t prone to breakouts, this formulation of calming barrier heroes and *gentle* resurfacing actives will hit the perfect spot between deeply cleansing the skin and substantively nourishing its microbiome. There’s nothing you—or your skin—will love more than a cleanser formulated with microbiome-supporting skincare ingredients that effectively lifts away impurities while still respecting your skin barrier! 


Ingredients Balancing Your Acne-Prone Skin Microbiome 

1. Wooly Thistle: When we say we formulate with high-performance botanicals, we mean it! Wooly thistle is a resilient plant that can survive in well below freezing temperatures. The part of the plant that we source for CUSHION CLEANSE is its stem cells—young cells that haven’t yet decided what part of wooly thistle (the flower, the stem, the leaves…) they’d like to be. Research suggests that in skincare, plant stem cells can help the skin regenerate itself and perhaps even inhibit aging processes. The former quality especially helps the skin microbiome deter infection and inflammation. More specifically, wooly thistle itself improves skin elasticity and rebalances skin conditions responsible for pore enlargement. Bouncier, smoother skin? You know. 

2. Arctic Raspberry: In case you were unaware, your skin microbiome is a living thing (or rather, trillions of living things). And, just like other living things, these microorganisms need a nosh every so often. Spoiler: CUSHION CLEANSE has their backs! We’ve included Arctic raspberry because it’s a natural source of prebiotics, AKA cellular food for the skin microbiome. This ensures that there’s an energy source for the beneficial germs (probiotics) that take care of your skin. 

3. Sea Moss: On the opposite side of the cleanser coin is sea moss. While Arctic raspberry feeds good bacteria, the biggest benefit of sea moss for breakouts is that it’s responsible for eliminating ‘bad’ bacteria that could cause acne. Good thing this active ingredient is perfect for the job! It contains many useful vitamins and minerals, and thanks to its antibacterial and sulfur-rich properties, sea moss gives the skin a deeeep clean that equally-as-gentle ingredients just can’t achieve. Fun fact: y’know our sebum-sucking bestie PORE VAC? Just like CUSHION CLEANSE, she contains sulfur to deep clean skin and nix impurities! 

4. Green Coffee Bean Extract: Coffee might give you a mood boost, but it can also perk up your skin! Green coffee bean extract benefits for your skin include enhancing the skin’s regenerative capacity and improving its tone. This is thanks to green coffee’s high concentrations of antioxidants that help the body fight toxins and free radicals. In turn, this helps to reestablish the integrity of the epidermal barrier and consequently the skin microbiome. 

We included green coffee bean extract because it’s unroasted, unlike the coffee beans you’re probably familiar with. Why not just throw in a cup o’ joe, you ask? The advantage of using unroasted, green coffee beans for your skin is that they don’t lose any beneficial compounds during the high-temp roasting process. 

5. Papaya Extract: Before we get into the minutiae of CUSHION CLEANSE’s mild exfoliant trio, what you should know is that they all work together to gently eliminate dead skin cells. Papaya extract contains high levels of the antioxidant lycopene, which helps fight free radical damage and possibly slows the (very natural) process of aging. More importantly, though, research shows that one of the benefits of papaya extract for your skin is that it’s effective at reducing facial acne

6. Willow bark extract: Willow bark extract is another gentle exfoliant that knows how to treat skin right. It’s a gentler version of derm-beloved salicylic acid, plus it’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, so you know your delicate microbiome won’t go kaput after applying it. Willow bark extract’s power player is salicin (yep! Like salicylic acid), which is known to help improve skin texture and radiance after about 1 week of use. 

7. Lactic Acid: Last but not least, we have lactic acid. It comes from the fermentation of lactose, the main component of milk—though CUSHION CLEANSE is still vegan! Coincidentally, lactic acid is also what makes your muscles sore, but that’s beside the point. Lactic acid, for skin, serves as a gentle chemical exfoliant to encourage cell turnover. As a result, using lactic acid for your skin has been shown to level out pigmentation and texture of skin when used consistently. 

8. Bisabolol: All of these sprightly actives!, you’re probably thinking. How tf can I actually calm my angry skin? Using bisabolol in your skincare routine is the answer! This is an active ingredient that actually soothes your skin. Bisabolol in skincare is derived from chamomile, so the two ingredients are very similar: both have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, making CUSHION CLEANSE the perfect balance between cleansing and calming. Similarly to chamomile, another bisabolol skin benefit is that it contains a light natural scent that won’t irritate skin. Fragrance sans irritation is a hard yes from us! 

With CUSHION CLEANSE’s blend of all these derm-loved exfoliants and powerhouse botanical ingredients, we can confidently say that acne care is no longer stuck in the 90’s! When you combine our actives, the result is a supportive, lightly foaming, non-stripping cleanser for acne-prone skin. Your microscopic face-friends will thank you! 

Want more tips on taking care of your body's microflora? Read more about inner health and its effects on skin here