What are Comedogenic Ingredients?

Monday, 20. April 2020

What are Comedogenic Ingredients?

The comedogenic effect of a substance indicates how high the likelihood of blemishes is when it is used. This is particularly important for people with oily or combination skin.

What does the term comedogenic mean?

Very few people are familiar with the term “comedogenic” as it is not used in everyday language. Basically, a comedogenic ingredient is a substance that has a high likelihood of clogging the pores, subsequently leading to blemishes and blackheads.

Do comedogenic products always result in blemishes?

No. The comedogenic effect of an ingredient does not indicate whether it will lead to blemish formation or not. Ingredients and products are divided into "comedogenic" and "non-comedogenic" categories. It is more a case of probability. Some substances are more comedogenic, others less so.

But that doesn't mean that a highly comedogenic product leads to blemishes on all skin types. Some people react differently to product formulas than others.

The scale below is helpful for people who are constantly struggling with blemished skin. Maybe you are using a highly comedogenic product that is the trigger for blemish formation that you are not aware of.

Here is an example: Coconut oil is a rather highly comedogenic substance but can do wonders for dry skin without causing any blemishes. However, blemishes may arise if a highly comedogenic substance, such as coconut oil, is used on oily skin.

Plant oils also have comedogenic effects

Many comedogenic ingredients are not found in natural cosmetics. There are innumerable synthetic substances that are contained in conventional cosmetics that possess comedogenic properties. These include e.g. B. PEGS or silicones, various synthetic surfactants but also mineral oil-based fats. All of these substances are not found in natural cosmetics.

However, just because a substance is natural does not mean that it cannot lead to blemishes. Many plant oils are also comedogenic. These oils are used in many natural cosmetic products because they have highly nourishing properties. The down side is that they can clog the pores. The rule of thumb is to test products and see how they best serve the requirements of your skin type. It becomes easier to avoid substances that cause blemishes when one is familiar with one's individual skin requirements. At the beginning, it is wise to jot down which product or ingredients worked best or which ones did not particularly cater towards your individual skin type when testing different products.

Comedogenic effects: Scale for different plant oils

People with combination skin or more oily skin, in particular, should pay attention to the comedogenic ingredients and products. Here is a list of a few ingredients and their comedogenic effects. Higher levels correspond to a higher comedogenic effect.

  • Level 1:
    • Argan oil
    • Beeswax
    • Pomegranate seed oil
    • Rosehip oil
    • Jojoba oil
    • Neem oil
    • Shea butter
    • Sunflower oil
    • Squalane
    • Grape seed oil
    • Wild rose oil
  • Level 2:
    • Olive oil
    • Peach seed oil
    • Sesame oil
  • Level 3:
    • Cocoa butter
    • Coconut butter
    • Coconut oil
  • Level 4:
    • Linseed oil

Coconut oil: Good or bad?

Coconut oil can go either way. On the one hand, it has wonderful skin-nourishing properties but on the other hand, it has a relatively high comedogenic effect. The reason lies in its composition. Coconut oil does not penetrate the skin but forms a layer on top of the skin.

In order to know whether coconut oil works for your skin type or not, means that you need to test it out. Do you get breakouts or do blemishes and impurities form when using coconut oil? If so, it means that your skin does not tolerate coconut oil well and you should stay clear of using it in your skincare routine.

People with normal, sensitive or acne-prone skin generally tolerate coconut oil. It is beneficial for acne-prone skin thanks to its natural antibacterial effects. People with oily, combination and dry skin (coconut oil prevents the absorption of moisture and lipids on dry skin) should be weary when using coconut oil for cosmetic purposes.