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I Just Learned What Comedogenic Means

I Just Learned What Comedogenic Means

I just learned what comedogenic means, and I think it’s changed my life. As a long-time adult acne sufferer (don’t be fooled, I suffered during puberty too) and beauty product enthusiast, I’ve long struggled with wanting to try out new or cult beauty products, without seeing an unwelcome lodger build a home on my face.

After my second round of Roaccutane, my dermatologist finally asked what products I was using. “Kora Organic in the morning, and Crème de La Mer in the evening because my skin is super dry from the Roaccutane and it needed a boost.”

“Step away from the Crème De La Mer, please! It’s comedogenic, which means it’s pore-clogging.” …What? So the miracle cream that people swear by that also costs my whole left arm to buy…is actually making my skin worse. The revelation was particularly hurtful after buying a 60ml jar barely a fortnight ago. My wallet was not happy. Instead, I was encouraged to use La Roche Posay. Obviously great for your skin, but not as exciting or luxurious.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking. How many of my products are comedogenic? Does my new Glossier serum clog my pores too? (Yes, it does.) So I did a little deep diving.

Comedogenic products are products that have a likelihood of causing comedones, the earliest form of acne. Something that we definitely do not want. Sadly, there’s no consistent way to judge if a product is non-comedogenic or not. There are no specific ingredients that clog pores (although isopropyl myristate, isopropyl palmitate, ethylhexyl palmitate, and acetylated lanolin are high probabilities – check your products), and there is also no consistent rating for comedogenic properties. There is a rating that’s commonly used from 0-30, but that isn’t standardized either. At the end of the day, trial and error is the only fool-proof way to go, which means some pesky pimples will be collateral on your journey to clear skin. Remember to patch test your product!

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However, using the common (but not standardized) comedogenic rating and obviously my own personal experience, I’ve curated some of the best non-comedogenic moisturizers for you and your (fingers-crossed) acne-free face. It’s been a journey, and I’ve had more glaring spots than I can count, but I’m just here to spread the good lord’s word. Enjoy.

Header image via British Vogue