Let’s face it: finding the skincare products that will benefit our skin mood while trying to steer clear of harsh ingredients and fragrances isn’t easy. In fact, taking care of our skin can often feel like we’re going in circles. Not sure what I mean? Think about this: Have you ever bought a new skincare product only to stop using it a week later because you noticed it’s causing you to break out even more? Yeah – it happens to all of us. The truth is, you may have just bought a product that uses comedogenics in its formula. If you’re worried that you might be wasting your money by using products with comedogenic ingredients, we’ll break down everything you need to look out for.

What Are Comedogenic Ingredients?

Before we can talk about what comedogenic ingredients are, we first have to talk about what “comedogenics” even means. Scientifically, the term ‘comedo’ is basically another word for pimple. It’s the early, early stages of acne that are usually caused by clogged pores and appear as tiny white bumps on our skin. Y’know, the same clogged pores that create those pesky blackheads, too. So, when scientists tried to find out the root cause of clogged pores, they found that makeup and lotions were two of the main culprits. (That’s why it’s super important to make sure you’re removing all of your makeup before you go to bed!)

What Types of Skincare Products Can be Found with Comedogenic Ingredients?

In general, many lotions, creams, and oils can contain comedogenic ingredients that can end up causing more issues than they’re solving. This is true for both our skin and hair, as comedogenic ingredients in hair products are just as heavy and greasy as they are in skincare products. To ensure you’re staying away from comedogenic ingredients, you should be paying close attention to the ingredients list on the product. This way, you can check on reliable skincare sites to see if those particular ingredients are comedogenics or not. Typically, ingredient lists are put in order of the least to most concentrated ingredient.

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Even if you’re using natural skincare, don’t think you’re off the hook. Natural skincare can still contain pore-clogging ingredients and cause irritation or breakouts for those of us with acne-prone skin moods. Thick serums are also a no-no, as gel-based products are more commonly recommended. In general, you should stay away from products with ingredients such as:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • Beeswax
  • Soybean Oil
  • Shea/Shea Butter
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Lauroyl Lysine
  • Avocado Oil
  • Lauric Acid
  • Xylene
  • Olive Oil
  • Cetyl Acetate
  • Algae/Kelp/Seaweed
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Cocoa Butter

Why are Comedogenic Ingredients Harmful?

As mentioned earlier, comedogenic ingredients can cause blemishes and irritation for anyone with acne-prone skin. Especially if you’re already trying to address your acne, comedogenic ingredients can just make your breakouts worse. If you’re going to try out a new product, you should always be doing a patch test to see how your skin reacts – even if the product doesn’t have comedogenic ingredients. (Whether or not you have sensitive skin, I’m talking to you!) Patch tests are crucial to make sure a new product won’t harm your skin barrier or cause an allergic reaction. To properly do a patch test, you should take a small amount of the product and put it on a small patch of skin to see how your skin reacts over 24 hours.

How are Comedogenic Ingredients Costing You Money?

Nothing quite says “a waste of money” as a skincare product that causes you to breakout. I mean, don’t we buy skin care products to help our skin? Don’t fall into the trap of buying a product because you love the packaging or because you heard someone say they like that brand. After doing your research, you should be buying products with beneficial ingredients that will work for your skin mood. That way, you won’t have to drop money later on for extra products to correct the consequences of using comedogenic ingredients. Overall, spending money on products that clog your pores, cause breakouts, and irritate the skin will cost you more to fix the problem than had you bought non-comedic products by checking the ingredients first.

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What are Non-Comedogenic Alternatives?

If you’re planning to throw away all of the products in your cabinet with comedogenic ingredients, it sounds like it’s time to start searching for products that will hydrate your skin without backing up your pores. First and foremost, go to a trusted source and do some research on your skin mood first to see what ingredients will benefit you. Then, you’ll know exactly what type of products you should be looking for.

When you head to the store, some products in the skincare aisle will have non-comedogenic labels, which is a good place to start. But those labels aren’t always reliable, so you’ll have to check the ingredients list. By Googling the ingredients, or coming back to this article, you can eliminate the products that will irritate your skin. In terms of the ingredients that are generally non-comedogenic, oil-free, and safe to use on the skin, many dermatologists and skin-thusiasts recommend:

  1. Niacinamide
  2. Sulfur
  3. Benzoyl Peroxide
  4. Salicylic Acid
  5. Retinol
  6. Hyaluronic Acid
  7. Glycerin
  8. Mineral Oil
  9. Grapeseed Oil
  10. Glycolic Acid
  11. Green Tea
  12. Vitamin C
  13. Ceramides
  14. AHAs
  15. Peptides
  16. Squalane

As a bonus tip: Try sticking to powder makeup instead of liquid-based makeup if you can. Liquid-based makeup, such as foundations, are known to clog your pores.

Final Thoughts

The products out there on the market today that contain comedogenic ingredients are just out there to sabotage you – so save your money and save yourself the hassle. Especially if you have acne-prone skin and are currently trying to treat your acne, comedogenics will just take you back to the drawing board. Treat your medicine cabinet like a toolbox, and reach for the products (tools) that address what your skin needs at that moment. Choose your skincare wisely and your skin will thank you!