Understanding The Meaning Of Non-Comedogenic Ingredients And Products

Written by Sumona BoseNov 30, 2023
Understanding the meaning of Non-Comedogenic Ingredients and Products

It is so important to do a thorough label check before you purchase a skincare product. From the ingredients used, to the claims they make and even the way it has been packaged - all of the details matter before you decide to apply a product on your skin. Especially when dealing with oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin. One of the leading causes of skin issues in oily and acne-prone skin is clogging of pores and one simple label check of the products you apply can help resolve that. Simply put, non-comedogenic products are formulated in a way that won't clog your pores when applied. And while they are ideal for acne-prone skin, they are generally quite beneficial for other skin types as well.


Benefits of using non-comedogenic products

FAQs about non-comedogenic

As seen above, non-comedogenic products can have multiple benefits not just limited to oily and blemish-prone skin. But for the sake of clarity, we will be focusing on oily skin today since non-comedogenic formulas are capable of removing excessive sebum from oily skin and keeping your comedones clean. However, they may not be the key to avoiding acne altogether, but they won't make matters worse, which is often the case with regular moisturisers, cleansers or face oils.

Some products are also made in combination with actives that are able to dissolve dead skin cells and unclog the hair follicles on your face; this makes them such an asset in an anti-acne skincare routine. But how exactly do you pick the right non-comedogenic products for you, is the label all that matters? We are answering this and a few more questions below…


How to identify non-comedogenic products?

FAQs about non-comedogenic

A common misconception that many have is that non-comedogenic products are just oil-free formulations that are gentle on your pores. In actuality, non-comedogenic products can contain certain oils that are known to not block your pores. On the other hand, oil-free products do not have any kind of animal-based, plant-based or mineral oils in them. This however, is not the only issue with differentiating between non-comedogenic and regular products. There is actually no standardized scale on which you can measure the non-comedogenic property of a product.

The brands and companies that do make that claim often go by testing their products on volunteer consumer groups. On a 5-point scale, if a product has ranked between 0-2 in terms of how many pores clogging it has caused, they are labelled as non-comedogenic. This means that going by just the label may not do the trick for many - you have to test out a product for yourself and see if it works for your acne-prone skin.


Best non-comedogenic ingredients for acne-prone skin

FAQs about non-comedogenic

Given that you cannot rely on the label; the key to picking the right product for you lies in the ingredients. Making a checklist of the best ingredients known to be suitable for pore care in acne-management will help. Some of the ingredients to look out for are -

  1. Benzoyl peroxie - When used topically, benzoyl peroxide helps kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin, dry out active blemishes and peel scar tissue to reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  2. Resorcinol - Available as a topical prescription medication, in combination with other ingredients, resorcinol helps soften hard and toughened skin, making it a good treatment for acne, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and warts.
  3. Salicylic acid - With topical application, salicylic acid can help slough off dead skin cells, keeping your pores unclogged of debris and keep it blemish-free.
  4. Sulphur- A gentle ingredient suitable for even sensitive skin types, sulphur helps with sebum regulation, removal of dead skin cells and inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
  5. Essential oils - Some of the non-comedogenic essential oils like rosehip seed oil, neem oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, and sweet almond oil have all shown benefits in managing acne-prone skin.


Comedogenic ingredients to avoid

FAQs about non-comedogenic

Some of the popularly-used comedogenic ingredients that you need to look out for and avoid as much as possible are -

  • Isopropyl palmitate
  • Isopropyl isostearate
  • Butyl stearate
  • Isostearyl neopentanoate
  • Decyl oleate
  • Myristyl myristate
  • Octyl stearate
  • Isocetyl stearate
  • Octyl palmitate
  • Propylene glycol-2
  • Myristyl propionate
  • Acetylated
  • D&C red dyes
  • Ethoxylated lanolin


Even though these ingredients are a mouthful and difficult to remember, if you often notice products breaking you out, keeping a note of these certain ingredients can help avoid it.


Non-comedogenic products to try

FAQs about non-comedogenic

Some of our favourite non-comedogenic products that can do wonders for acne-prone skin are -

  1. Simple Kind To Skin Refreshing Facial Wash - Infused with provitamin B and vitamin E, this refreshing cleanser can help revitalise, nourish and deeply cleanse your skin of impurities, dirt and makeup. It is free of artificial dyes, perfumes, alcohol and parabens, making it an ideal pick for sensitive, acne-prone skin.
  2. Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum - Specifically formulated to help prevent blemishes, exfoliate your skin, accelerate cell turnover, this serum perfectly suits your skin's microbiome to help maintain a clear complexion. Also infused with niacinamide, the serum can help regularise sebum in your skin to inhibit the growth of acne.
  3. Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser - Infused with provitamin B5, vitamin E, glycerine and borage seed oil, this lightweight moisturiser, is ideal for oily skin types. It is fast-absorbing, ultra-hydrating and helps keep your skin nourished and supple.
  4. Dermalogica Oil Free Matte SPF 30 - A sunscreen is absolute essential in any skincare routine and this sheer, white-cast-free and mattifying formula can help keep blemish-prone skin clear and shine-free.


How to safely transition into a non-comedogenic skincare routine?

FAQs about non-comedogenic

It can be tricky to change up your skincare routine to a completely non-comedogenic one. However, there are some tips to make it easier for your skin. Start slow with the shift - always do a patch test of new products 48 hours prior to usage and start by using it 2-3 times a week at first. Once the product seems like it suits your skin, continue using it. In the case of cleansers, all the formulas take time to work and the results may vary for different people. Also, make sure to consult your dermatologist before you cut-out any essential acne-fighting steps and products from your routine.


FAQs about non-comedogenic

FAQs about non-comedogenic

Q. Is aloe vera non-comedogenic?

A. Aloe vera is one of the best hydrating and calming ingredients that can be used on acne-prone skin. Turns out, it also ranks a 0 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it won't clog your pores. Naturally sourced and single-ingredient aloe-infused products can be safely used on oily and blemish-prone skin.

Q. Is coconut oil non-comedogenic?

A. One of the most popular ingredients is coconut oil in many DIY and natural skincare products. However, it is not recommended to use raw coconut oil on your skin as it is highly comedogenic in nature. This is especially true for very oily skin types and acne-prone as coconut oil can cause pore blockage and make acne worse.

Q. Is tea tree essential oil non-comedogenic?

A. Tea tree essential oil is often used in many acne-fighting products. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can be used to fight pimples. However, it is recommended to be used in a diluted form with non-comedogenic carrier oils because it can clog pores when used on its own.

Q. Is shea butter non-comedogenic?

A. Yes, despite its thick and heavy texture, shea butter ranks 0 on the comedogenic scale. It is an excellent ingredient to help deeply nourish your skin while being good for your pores. Shea butter-infused lightweight creams can be a good addition to your acne-prone skincare routine.

Sumona Bose

Written by

Sumona Bose is a writer, skincare junkie and a self-professed makeup connoisseur. Equipped with a Master's degree in Fashion Management and over 3 years of experience writing in the beauty and fashion space, her passion for learning new things has no bounds. Working closely with dermatologists, beauty excerpts, makeup artists and hairstylists, she brings you the best of all things beauty. From trending skincare ingredients to makeup looks that help you slay, she manages to bring something new (and vital!) to our readers every single time. Her hobbies include home workouts, watching foreign films and binge-watching makeover shows!


Shop This Story