Should you really opt in for non-comedogenic skincare?

A is for Acne.

For a lot of people breakouts can feel like a never-ending battle. For myself, it was one of the reasons why I couldn’t continue working with this blog and post about the amazing products I tried out. With stress and hormonal changes comes acne, and acne and pimples.. well. Stress. It was almost like just breathing air would trigger a new outbreak, and in this battle I tried to avoid certain ingredients that clog pores. I’m not going to break down my journey and how I managed to restore my skin in this post. But I’ll break down what ‘comedogenic’ actually means, and and why avoiding such ingredients will bring you one step closer to smoother skin.

B stands for Basic.

‘Comedogenic’ does not contain any B’s. It is an expression to describe anything (every single ingredient) that will cause breakouts and inflamed pores. But, it’s quite basic. If something is ‘non-comedogenic’, it just means that it is safe for acne-prone skin.

C stands for Certain.

Certain ingredients are known to be comedogenic, like algae extract, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS, something that tends to be in hair care products. Argan oil and sweet almond are two other examples, but there are other dependant factors.

D is for Doctors.

In the 70s, something named the comedogenic scale was created. Two doctors combined their knowledge and conducted various studies that determined what we now as products unsuitable for those with oily and acne-prone skin. The ingredients previously mentioned all rank high on this scale.

The original tests focused on 13 different ingredient categories: alcohols, fatty acids, herbs, lanolins, oils, preservatives, pigments, silicones, sterols, sugars, thickeners, vitamins, and waxes. They were ranked on a 0-5 scale, where ingredients triggering larger sized pimples in the 4-5 range.

The Paradox

The scale is still commonly used today, but things have changed. New ingredients and research have emerged. I mean, it’s been 50 years. At this point, concentrations of one ingredient mixed with other ingredients can actually change its comedogenicity. Something might be comedogenic on its own, but when mixed with something else it may not have the same effect. Keeping it short, the paradox: an ingredient ranked low on the comedogenic scale can become more comedogenic when mixed with something else.


Eventually we’re all wondering whether or not a product is going to cause any bumps in the road when it comes to our skin. It’s the biggest organ we have, and it might even be the most important organ. Without it we’d just be giant meatballs. The best practice is to opt for products that are labeled as non-comedogenic. Although there are no regulations when it comes to such a claim, a brand that promotes non-comedogenic products can usually be trusted.

It is important to mention that each person’s skin is different. An ingredient or product working for Sigrun might not work for me. Something for dry skin might be a disaster for someone who’s prone to acne. You’re not fucked if you struggle with dry acne prone skin. Do everything you can to be on the safe side, patch test a product to see whether it’s going to cause a breakout or anything else. Do your research, shop smart, and don’t purchase the jumbo sized version first. Get a smaller sized one and try it out before you go ahead and slather it all over your face.

Remember, dont assume its only rich creams or balms that will cause congestion. Shampoos and conditioners can cause breakouts due to exposure in the shower. They still leave a residue (hello bacne). Therefore some

The Industry Must Change.

We are the consumers, and it’s often easy to feel helpless. We are surrounded by a whole beauty industry and that is where the change needs to happen. A lot of times it is not about what we actually need, but more about the trends and how products feel.

I truly hope that every single brand out there is currently working with this, and working with reformulating their products. The more people talk about it, the more likely it will become a mainstream conversation, forcing the industry to actually work towards this goal.


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