Lab notes  /  Skincare  /  What is Non-Comedogenic Skincare?

What is Non-Comedogenic Skincare?

The skin care products formulated to avoid clogging pores or causing comedones

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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Amelia Cranstoun
Written byAmelia CranstounContent Editor
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You've likely come across the term "non-comedogenic" when shopping for skincare. But what does it really mean, and why is it important for your skin? 

Non-comedogenic refers to skin care products formulated to avoid clogging pores or causing comedones, which are the precursors to acne breakouts. These products have undergone specific testing to prove that they do not clog pores or cause comedones, therefore reducing the risk of developing blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes.

Benefits of Non-Comedogenic Skincare:

  1. Prevents Breakouts: Using non-comedogenic products helps minimise the likelihood of pore blockage, reducing the occurrence of acne breakouts.
  2. Suitable for Different Skin Types: Non-comedogenic formulas can be designed into products for all skin types, including oily, acne-prone, combination, and sensitive skin.
  3. Lightweight and Breathable: Non-comedogenic products are generally lightweight, allowing your skin to breathe without feeling heavy or greasy.
  4. Enhanced Skin Health: By choosing non-comedogenic options, you promote a healthier complexion, help maintain the natural balance of your skin and allow it to ‘breathe’

What is comedogenicity?

Many common ingredients used in skincare have been tested over the years for their comedogenicity potential. This is a scale of 1-5, with 0 being non-comedogenic, and 5 being highly comedogenic. 

How can you tell if a product is non-comedogenic?

Unfortunately, unless this is specifically claimed on the product, it is not always possible to tell from the ingredients list whether a product is non-comedogenic. Despite most ingredients having an individual comedogenicity score, once in a final formulation, this doesn’t count for much. 

An ingredient like coconut oil, for example, has a comedogenicity score of 4, meaning it is quite likely to cause blocked pores if used directly. However, if this is used in a moisturiser at 10%, the final formula could still be non-comedogenic. It is also possible that two low-scoring products, when combined can also create a higher propensity for blocking pores, so it really is down to the final formula, rather than the individual ingredients. 

How are products tested for comedogenicity?

In order for a product to use the term ‘non-comedogenic’ claim, it must have undergone testing to prove this to be true. There is no standard definition of what the test protocol should be, so each brand carrying out this type of testing will be setting its own exact protocol and threshold for success, but this does not mean that brands can claim this without undergoing specific testing.

Today this test happens on human volunteers. One way is for a panel of people to use the product for 4 weeks, with a dermatologist reviewing the skin at the start and the end of the study, counting the number of comedones present to determine if the product has increased this number. The panel size needs to be large enough that the result can be interpreted with statistical significance.

If a product doesn’t claim to be non-comedogenic, will it clog pores?

Not necessarily. This type of testing is expensive, and not all brands can afford to include this type of testing as part of their development costs. You will typically see this testing carried out by larger corporations, like L’Oreal and Biersdorf, that have both large R&D centres, and sell significant volumes of product, to be able to invest in the cost of these specific tests. 

Non-comedogenic brands that are Renude-approved

There are a number of brands that include comedogenicity testing as part of every new product launch. Renude-approved brands that do this are:

Patch Test and Individual Sensitivities:

Although non-comedogenic products are generally considered less likely to cause breakouts, everyone's skin is unique. It's important to patch-test new products on a small area of skin before applying them to your face.

Additionally, if you have known allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients, you can consult with a Renude aesthetician to avoid potential irritants. 

Start our 2-minute skin quiz now and get a free consultation with an aesthetician today. They will give you recommendations on what skin care products are right for your skin based on your skin goals.

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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