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Just the Facts: How Do You Know if an Ingredient is Non Comedogenic?


The term “noncomedogenic” refers to any ingredient or substance that doesn’t have the potential to clog or block skin pores. Jojoba, argan and grapeseed oil fall into this category. Where it gets confusing is the fact that there is no standardized definition for “non-comedogenic”, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate the term. Skincare products are not required to undergo testing in order to assess them. In this article from Medical News Today the reasons why labels are unclear is discussed as well as a report on what ingredients really are noncomedogenic.


As estheticians, we know there are a variety of factors that can cause comedones, (clogged pores), for example, the skin’s natural oil levels, buildup of dead skin cells and other debris, makeup, or products which get lodged in the pore.


When conducting skin diagnoses, we encourage our clients to use non-comedogenic products if they have blemish prone or problem skin (breakouts). That said, any product that’s noncomedogenic does not necessarily translate into that product being beneficial at treating existing breakout conditions. It just means the product won’t make it worse by further clogging pores if it really is noncomedogenic.


Since the European Commission banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2013, scientists are using to use a QSAR model that predicts the likelihood of a substance clogging pores based on its molecular structure.




Follow the research and take note of ingredients which may be comedogenic. The following is a list of some that have been found to cause comedones:

  • isopropyl palmitate

  • isopropyl isostearate

  • butyl stearate

  • isostearyl neopentanoate

  • myristyl myristate

  • decyl oleate

  • octyl stearate

  • octyl palmitate

  • isocetyl stearate

  • propylene glycol-2 (PPG-2)

  • lanolin

  • coal tar derivatives

Other research has shown the following ingredients may be comedogenic:

  • petroleum derivatives

  • oleic acid

  • cocoa butter

  • sodium lauryl sulphate

  • algae extracts

  • coconut oil

  • wheat germ oil

  • palm oil

  • linseed oil


Low or non-comedogenic ingredients include:

  • aloe vera

  • witch hazel

  • rosewater

  • vitamin C

  • vitamin E

  • niacinamide

  • allantoin

  • silicones

  • glycerin

  • cetearyl alcohol

  • polyethylene glycol

  • sodium hyaluronate

  • carmine

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