Comedogenic ingredients in cosmetics

Skin impurities have a variety of causes, difficult to detect in their complexity. Sometimes, however, impurities may simply be reactions to so-called comedogenic substances from cosmetic products. 

What means comedogenic?

Komedo (Latin: comedere ) is the technical term for the blackhead as precursor of a pimple. This is nothing more than a clogged pore, often with a blackish discolored greasy blackhead in the middle. When the skin is over-keratinized, the sebaceous glands become blocked and widen. This results in enlarged pores, followed by blackheads, inflammatory pimples, papules, pustules or sub-beds.

A cream with comedogenic ingredients promotes the formation of comedones. Therefore, a non-comedogenic skin cream is indispensable especially, if you have greasy or combination skin tending to impurities, blackheads or pimples.

A legal regulation, which products may be called "non-comedogenic" by cosmetic manufacturers, does not exist. However, there are long lists of ingredients considered to be comedogenic. These ingredients are each assigned a factor between 1 and 5, depending on the strength of comedogenicity. It is hardly possible to make a complete and general list of comedogenic ingredients, especially because individual skin reactions can be very different. You can find a list of comedogenic ingredients here, for example: https://www.hautschutzengel.de/komedogene-inhaltsstoffe.html

To ensure your cosmetic products don’t contain any comedogenic ingredients, you should check each INCI list ingredient at an online platform like Codecheck and additionally compare with the list of comedogenic ingredients.

Comedogenic ingredients

  • Comedogenic ingredients from mineral oil
    Particularly comedogenic cosmetic ingredients are mineral oils such as paraffins, silicones, petrolatum, PEG-based emulsifiers and synthetic surfactants from petroleum raw materials such as SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), SLeS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) or artificial fragrances. Mineral oil-based ingredients are not allowed in natural cosmetics. 

  • Comedogenic lipids from animals
    Lanolin / wool grease or wool wax alcohol (Lanolin Alcohol), both approved ingredients in natural cosmetics, also tend to clog the pores.

  • Comedogenic plant oils
    Some plant oils like cocoa butter, linseed oil, peanut oil, wheat germ oil, corn oil, olive oil or coconut oil may also promote impurities. Thus highly comedogenic oils are not recommendable for impure skin, but they nevertheless may provide a valuable nourishing and rich care for mature and dry skin.

  • Comedogenic ingredients from palm oil
    Especially in natural cosmetics, palm oil is hidden behind various, even changing ingredient terms. Unfortunately, it often accounts for the largest share of the lipid phase in natural cosmetic creams and lotions. Here, Codecheck helps you to detect and avoid ingredients from palm oil in your cosmetics.

    What is hardly known: The main emulsifiers, co-emulsifiers and consistency agents in natural cosmetics, such as glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol or myristyl myristates are industrially produced from palm oil and have a significant comedogenic effect. Hence they tend to seal the skin, to clog the pores, and promote blemishes such as blackheads, pimples, and acne.

Anti-comedogenic ingredients

Particularly recommendable plant oils for impure, oily or combination skin are, for instance, jojoba, argan or grapeseed oil. Jojoba oil regulates the sebum production, cannot be metabolized by acne bacteria, letting pimples heal faster. Argan oil has an antibacterial effect against impurities, moisturizes and visibly improves the appearance of acne. Grapeseed oil with its high content of linoleic acid strengthens the skin barrier, ensures a smoothed skin appearance, having an anti-callous effect on the skin. Grapeseed oil is also known for its sebum-regulating and anti-inflammatory properties.

Plant extracts with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, sedative or redness-reducing agents such as beta-glucan, green tea, licorice root, rosemary, sage, copaiba, lucuma or magnolia bark, have powerful anti-comedogenic effects. Hyaluron, aloe vera or glycerin, providing the skin with additional moisture, are anti-comedogenic active ingredients as well and highly recommendable against impurities.

Nicht komedogene Inhaltsstoffe

Conclusion

  1. Avoid comedogenic ingredients in your cosmetics especially, if your skin is prone to impurities.

  2. Each skin responds individually differently. If your acne, pimples, or blemishes seem to get worse with certain cosmetics, you'd better switch to another product line.

  3. As a natural cosmetic alternative to comedogenic, palm oil-based emulsifiers, co-emulsifiers and consistency regulators there are emulsifier-free creams and lotions, managing without palm oil as well. Hence our myrto products contain- instead of the usual natural cosmetic emulsifiers from palm oil - finely ground vegetable fibers, keeping the oil and water-containing phase of a cream stably together. The powerful natural ingredient beta-glucan from oats additionally provides an anti-inflammatory effect.

  4. When choosing your cosmetics, especially value on good ingredients, providing your skin with exactly the care that it needs. With a little patience and consistency, you will successfully rebalance your skin, pimples and blackheads being finally a thing of the past.
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