What Blocks Pores? Comedogenic Ingredient List

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You’ve no doubt stumbled upon a comedogenic ingredient list, or two—already, leaving you wondering if you’re inadvertently causing harm to your skin through your skincare routine.

If you’ve been battling breakouts or skin irritation, the culprit might be lurking within your products: comedogenic ingredients. Understanding and decoding a comedogenic ingredient list is the key to unlocking clear and healthy skin. Let’s delve into the details together and explore how you can take control of your skincare journey.

What Makes a Product Comedogenic?

Comedogenic ingredients are the potential troublemakers that can clog your pores, leading to blackheads and whiteheads. These include oils, waxes, and specific chemicals that hinder your skin from breathing properly. Identifying these ingredients is crucial for maintaining a radiant complexion, as clogged pores can give rise to acne and other skin issues.

How to Decipher a Comedogenic Ingredient List (and check if your products are problematic)

Deciphering ingredient lists can be intimidating, but it’s a skill worth acquiring. Familiarize yourself with common comedogenic ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, and certain types of silicones. Pay attention to the order of ingredients; the higher up, the more concentrated. Also, watch out for alternative names for comedogenic ingredients, as they may be disguised under different terms. (And make sure to look at the list we’ve created for you down below, which provides a detailed description of ingredients that are particularly problematic).

What’s True of a Comedogenic Ingredient List?

Comedogenicity ratings can be given a number, ranging from 0 to 5, or a rating from low to high–check out the detailed list below. These ratings help assess the likelihood of an ingredient causing pore blockages. Higher ratings indicate a higher risk of clogging pores. The lower the number, the less likely it is that it will clog pores. Just because an ingredient is an oil or wax, does not necessarily mean that it is comedogenic; some oils and waxes are very well tolerated.

A product’s or ingredient’s comedogenicity is tested by applying it to the face of volunteers and evaluating the treated area with a high powered microscope. Understanding these ratings empowers you to make informed decisions while selecting skincare products. Remember, not all comedogenic ingredients affect everyone the same way, and individual tolerance levels may vary.

If you have sensitive skin, you may need to avoid more ingredients. If your skin tolerates most skin care products well, then many of these ingredients will not be problematic. Something that you may find interesting is that sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient often used in cleansers is problematic, but mineral oil is not.

How to Find Non-Comedogenic Products?

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s explore non-comedogenic alternatives. Hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, aloe vera, and green tea extract are excellent choices for maintaining healthy skin without clogging pores. Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, so patch testing new products is essential to ensure compatibility and prevent potential allergic reactions.

Comedogenic Ingredient List: Common Culprits

Some ingredients are notorious for causing trouble. Coconut oil, cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and lanolin are high on the comedogenic scale. Be vigilant and check your product labels for these potential triggers. Understanding the comedogenicity ratings of these ingredients can guide you in making informed choices based on your skin’s needs.

Crafting a Skincare Routine That Minimizes Comedogenicity

Building a skincare routine that prioritizes clear and healthy skin involves several key steps. Start with a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and makeup without stripping your skin’s natural moisture. Incorporate a gentle exfoliant with salicylic acid or other non-comedogenic exfoliating agents to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells.

Choose a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer that hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent sun damage. Additionally, consider adding targeted treatments, such as serums or spot treatments, that address specific skin concerns without clogging pores.

Natural and Organic Alternatives to Comedogenic Ingredients

If you prefer a natural–or what we like to call, a plant-based approach, consider alternatives like jojoba oil, rosehip oil, tea tree oil, shea butter, and witch hazel. These ingredients offer nourishment without clogging pores, and they come with additional benefits like soothing properties and antioxidants. Remember to patch test natural and organic alternatives to ensure they are suitable for your skin. Just because something is natural and/or organic, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for your skin!

The Importance of Patch Testing

Before introducing new skincare products, especially if you have sensitive skin, perform a patch test. Applying a small amount to a designated area allows you to monitor for adverse reactions over a 24 to 48-hour period. This step can help prevent potential issues like breakouts, irritation, or allergic reactions that may occur if the product contains comedogenic ingredients or other irritants.

Consulting a Dermatologist for Personalized Advice

While this guide and the comedogenic ingredient list below provides valuable insights, it’s essential to recognize that everyone’s skin is unique. If you’re dealing with persistent issues, seeking advice from a dermatologist ensures personalized recommendations and potential professional treatments. A dermatologist can assess your skin type, identify underlying causes of your skin concerns, and recommend specific products and treatments tailored to your needs.

Achieve Radiant Skin with Knowledge

Empower yourself with the understanding of comedogenic ingredients to achieve clear and healthy skin. Navigate ingredient lists with confidence, make informed choices, and consider natural alternatives. Patch test new products, develop a tailored skincare routine, and seek professional advice when needed. Unravel the secrets of comedogenic ingredient lists, and take charge of your skincare journey for the radiant skin you’ve always envisioned. Don’t let comedogenic ingredients sabotage your skin – with knowledge and informed choices, you can achieve the clear and healthy skin you’ve always dreamed of.

The Comedogenic Ingredient List

Keep in mind that the following comedogenic ingredient list is by no means exhaustive, but may help to shed some clarity on those that can be problematic.

Ingredient Comedogenicity
Acetylated Lanolin High
Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol High
Algae Extract High
Algin High
Bismuth oxychloride High
Butyl Stearate High
Carrageenans High
Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20 High
Coal tar High
Cocoa Butter High
Coconut Butter High
Coconut Oil High
Colloidal Sulfur High
Corn Oil High
Cotton Aws Oil High
Cotton Seed Oil High
Crisco High
D & C Red # 17 High
D & C Red # 21 High
D & C Red # 3 High
D & C Red # 30 High
D & C Red # 36 High
Decyl Oleate High
Dioctyl Succinate High
Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfosuccinate High
Ethoxylated Lanolin High
Ethylhexyl Palmitate High
Glyceryl Stearate SE -MUST have SE after the stearate High
Glyceryl-3-Disostearate-(MUST have a “3” with it) High
Hexadecyl Alcohol High
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil High
Isocetyl Stearate High
Isodecyl Oleate High
isoproply linoleate High
Isopropyl Isosterate High
Isopropyl lanolate High
Isopropyl Myristate High
Isopropyl Palmitate High
isostearic acid High
isostearyl acid High
Isostearyl Isostearate High
Isostearyl Neopentanoate High
lanolic acid High
Laureth 23 High
Laureth 4 High
Lauric Acid High
Linseed oil High
Mink Oil High
Myreth 3 myrstate High
Myristic Acid High
Myristyl Lactate High
Myristyl Myristate High
Octyl Palmitate High
Octyl Stearate High
Oleic Acid High
Oleth-3 High
Oleyl Alcohol High
PEG 16 Lanolin High
PEG 200 Dilaurate High
PEG 8 Stearate High
PG Monostearate High
Polyglyceryl-3-Disostearate (the “3” must be present) High
Potassium Chloride High
PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate High
Propylene Glycol Monostearate High
Red Algae High
Salt – Table Salt or Sodium Chloride High
Shark Liver Oil High
Sodium Laureth Sulfate High
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate High
Solulan 16 High
Sorbitan Oleate High
Sorbitan Sesquinoleate High
Soybean Oil High
Steareth 10 High
Stearic Acid Tea High
Stearyl Heptanoate High
Sulfated Castor Oil High
Sulfated Jojoba Oil (NOT Jojoba beads) High
Syearyl Heptanoate High
Wheat Germ Glyceride High
Wheat Germ Oil High
Xylene High
Almond Oil Medium
Apricot Kernel Oil Medium
Arachidic Acid Medium
Ascorbyl Palmitate Medium
Avocado Oil Medium
Azulene Medium
Behenic acid Medium
Benzaldehyde Medium
Benzoic Acid Medium
BHA Medium
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) Medium
Cajeput Oil Medium
Camphor Medium
Capric Acid Medium
Caprylic acid Medium
Cetearyl Alcohol Medium
Cetyl Alcohol Medium
Chamomile Medium
D & C Red # 19 Medium
D & C Red #27 Medium
D & C Red #40 Medium
Evening Primrose Oil Medium
Grape Seed Oil (extract is OK) Medium
Hexylene Glycol Medium
Octyldodecanol Medium
Oleth-10 Medium
Olive Oil (Olive Oil Extract is OK) Medium
Palmitic Acid Medium
Peach Kernel Oil Medium
Peanut Oil Medium
PEG 100 Distearate Medium
PEG 150 Distearate Medium
Peg 75 lanolin Medium
Pentarythrital Tetra Isostearate Medium
PG Dipelargonate Medium
PG Dipelargonate Medium
Sandalwood Seed Oil Medium
Sesame Oil Medium
Steareth 2 Medium
Steareth 20 Medium
Stearic Acid Medium
Stearyl Alcohol Medium
Tocopherol (Tocopherol Acetate is OK) Medium
Triethanolamine Medium
Vitamin A Palmitate-(ONLY this form of Vitamin A) Medium
Avocado Oil Low
Castor Oil Low
Corn Oil Low
D & C Red Number 4, 6, 7 or 8 Low
Glyceryl Stearate Low
Lanolin Low
Lanolin Alcohol Low
Lauryl Alcohol Low
Mineral Oil Low
Safflower Oil Low
Sunflower Oil Low