The Skinny on Non-Comedogenic Skincare

The Skinny on Non-Comedogenic Skincare

Skincare products are supposed to improve and enhance your skin, but have you come across products that actually cause breakouts? That’s exactly what comedogenic products do.

Those pesky little blackheads and whiteheads that form on your skin are called comedo or comedones. And any ingredients or products that cause these types of outbreaks are considered comedogenic. 

To avoid breakouts, many suggest switching over to non-comedogenic skincare products. But what does non-comedogenic mean and how do you know if a product is truly non-comedogenic? 

What Does Non-comedogenic Mean?

Non-comedogenic refers to any ingredient that is unlikely to clog your pores and cause those pesky little spots to appear. 

This information comes from comedogenicity studies first introduced in the 70s as part of research for acne cosmetica, Through a series of experiments, scientists collected data on which ingredients clogged pores (comedogenic) including their severity level, and which did not (non-comedogenic).


However, there are many arguments the tests may be invalid or misleading as the test subjects or test areas do not provide accurate outcomes on how the ingredients behave on a human face. And much of these studies were conducted prior to 2013.


While comedogenicity is not an absolute measure of an ingredient’s ability to clog or not clog pores, it can be a helpful guide when choosing skincare products, particularly for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. 

How Can You Tell What Is Non-comedogenic?

The best way to determine if a product is non-comedogenic is to check its ingredient label.

List of Comedogenic Ingredients

Much of the information we know today comes from comedogenicity studies which indicate the following ingredients are most likely to be comedogenic:

  • Dimethicone

  • Butyl stearate

  • Acetylated lanolin

  • Isopropyl linoleate

  • Isopropyl isostearate

  • Myristyl lactate

  • Myristyl myristate

  • Isosteayl neopentanoate

  • Laureth-4

  • Oleyl alcohol

  • Octyl palmitate

  • Linseed oil

  • Peanut oil

  • Palm oil

  • Olive oil

List of Non-comedogenic Ingredients

While it’s not surprising oil is a comedogenic ingredient, not all oils cause comedones just as there are hundreds of ingredients that are non-comedogenic. Some of the most known ingredients include:

  • Jojoba oil

  • Safflower oil

  • Niacinamide

  • Allantoin

  • Glycerin

  • Sodium hyaluronate

  • Cetearyl alcohol

  • Polyethylene glycol

  • Aloe vera

  • Witch hazel

Could Non-comedogenic Products Still Cause Breakouts?

Potentially, yes. 

A product containing only non-comedogenic ingredients does not mean it completely prevents breakouts, it only lessens the chances of it clogging your pores. 

Likewise, a product claiming to be “oil-free” does not mean it won’t clog your pores either, especially if it contains comedogenic ingredients. 

What may not cause you to break out may cause someone else to break out. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin.

The Bottom Line

Most likely many of your favorite beauty products contain some comedogenic ingredients. And while they may work great for you, they may not be great for your skin. 

While there’s no guarantee that non-comedogenic products will prevent all breakouts, they may help to lessen the chance of clogged pores.

If you’re prone to breakouts, it’s best to make the switch to a con-comedogenic face moisturizer - like our all natural Daydreamer Face Moisturizer - as this product will sit on your face all day.

You might be surprised–and maybe even find a better alternative that works just as well (if not better!)