This is a bit more technical term, so I am obliged to explain it. Comedogenic ingredients are the ones that are clogging pores and thus affect the formation of pimples and acne. They do it so they clog up pores and block oil so it can`t get out to the skins surface. However, it is important to add the word potential. Why? Because it is not necessary that all of these ingredients will clog all peoples pores. People who aren`t prone to blocked pores won`t have any problems. Those with dry skin, may even need these ingredients . Those who are prone to blackheads, might have problems with only one ingredient or all of them. You`ll have to figure it out for yourself.

The next thing that needs to be mentioned is, that you need to look at the first five ingredients in the product (depending on how many ingredients are in it, if there are 40 ingredients on the list, you should look at the first 10 ingredients). The order of the ingredients is written by the amount in the product. If a component is written at the end, it should not affect the clogging of pores. Well, unless you are very sensitive. Cleansing milk or gel shouldn’t be a problem because you rinse it anyway. But creams, toners, foundations and concealers are the ones you should be careful with.

I could write a list, but I decided that I will try to show you that it Is not that hard to remember it.

1. Extensions:-stearate,-nate,-ate

Usually the ingredients that ends on – stearate,- nate, -ate are potentially comedogenic. For example:

– Isopropyl Isostearate

– Isopropyl Myristate

– Myristyl Myristate

– Octyl Palmitate

– Myreth 3 Myristate

– Butyl Stearate

– Decyl oleate

– Sorbitan oleate

– Lactate Myristyl

– Glyceryl Stearate

– Octyldodecyl Stearate

– Polysorbates

– Cetyl Palmitate

– Propylene Glycol Dicaprate / Dicaprylate

– Sodium Hyaluronate

– Octylmethoxycinnimate

– Tridecyl Stearate

– Tridecyl Trimellitate

– Octyldodecyl stearoyl Stearate

– Ethylhexyl Palmitate

I know that the list looks really long, but this rule is really simple.

2. Oils

The oils are divided into more or less comedogenic. It is worth remembering that the most comedogenic are those which harden at room temperature (coconut oil). It is also important that the skin is clean before applying oil, because otherwise all the dirt will be mixed with oil, and then any kind of oil will clog up your pores.

Most comedogenic oils:

– Coconut oil

– Cocoa butter

– Corn oil

– Soybean oil

– Evening Primrose Oil

– Wheat germ oil

Medium comedogenic oils:

– Avocado Oil

– Apricot oil seeds

– Almond oil

– Hazelnut oil

– Olive oil

– Sesame oil

– Sunflower oil

Not that comedogenic oil:

– Castor oil

– Grape seed oil

– Jojoba oil

– Mineral oil (there has been a lot of controversy about mineral oil, but by itself it should be least comedogenic of all the oils)

– Oil pomegranate

– Squalane

– Hemp oil

3. UV filters Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide

These are by far the best UV filters, but unfortunately both potentially clog up pores. But it all depends on how much of the ingredients are found in the product. Titanium dioxide clogs pores much more then Zinc oxide, but only if there is more than 4% of it in the product.
4. Are alcohols comedogenic?

Cetearyl Alcohol – Ceteareth 20, Lanolin Alcohol, Oleyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol alcohols are not bad (in terms of drainage), but potentially comedogen.
5. Lanolin

Lanolin and all forms of lanolin are potentially comedogenic. To name a few ingredients:

– Aceytlated Lanolin

– Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol

– Anhydrous Lanolin

– Ethoxylated Lanolin

– Lanolin Alcohol

– PEG 16 Lanolin

4. Polyethylene glycols (PEG)

If you see a label PEG, this probably means that the ingredient is comedogenic, all polyethylene glycols are highly comedogenic.

5. What I have not mentioned but still clogs pores?

– Caprylic / Caprice trygliceride

– Caaragenans

– Crisco

– Diocetyl succinate

– Disodium PEG Monocleanido 2 Sulfosuccinate

– Laureth 23

– Laureth 4

– Laurice Acid

– Oleth-3

– Solulan 16

– Steareth 10

– Steareth 2

– Steareth 20

– Stearic Acid

You should remember the first component Caprylic / Caprice trygliceride, because it often clogs up pores (and it is also very often present in creams, at the very beginning (eg, Derma E creams). For the other ingredients on the listI do not have a simple rule on how to remember them. You can copy them and carry it with you in your wallet or learn only the most comedogenic ones: Laureth-4, oleth-3, Laurice acid.

6. What about Petroleum, Glycerin, Silicones?

Vaseline prevents water evaporation from the skin, thus making a kind of wrapper. By Itself it does not clog up the pores, but it clogs them up in combination with other potentially comedogenic ingredients. If you are using Vaseline you should especially avoid the following ingredients: lanolin, squalene, isopropyl myristate, mineral oil.

Silicone and glycerin should not clog up your pores, but there are some people who are sensitive to these substances especially silicones. If you are sensitive to silicones, look out for hair products. Many times it can happen that girls have pimples on the face and chin due to silicone from the hair products.


The easiest way to remember:

– Avoid end -ate

– Avoid Lanolin

– Avoid PEG

-Avoid High and medium comedogenic oils (coconut, cocoa, corn, soybean, wheat germ, evening primrose, avocado, apricot, almond, peanut, olive, sesame, sunflower)

– Avoid Cetearyl Alcohol – Ceteareth 20, Lanolin Alcohol, Oleyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol

– Avoid Titanium Dioxide (above 4%)

– Avoid Caprylic / Caprice trygliceride, Laureth-4, oleth-3, Laurice acid.

Do you think you will remember or should I write a list?