Acne Skincare Skincare Tips

What does non-comedogenic mean for you and your acne?

Experiencing acne and want to know what products are less likely to irritate your skin? Are you selecting products that are non-comedogenic?

What does non-comedogenic mean for you and your acne?

Acne, for many people, is like the Wicked Witch of the West! There’s nothing worse than planning for your special day and dreading taking photos because of breakouts!

It’s commonly thought that acne only occurs with teenagers.

Acne can occur in any stage of a person’s life! Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if you are an adult experiencing acne.

What causes acne?

Human skin has pores. The pores connect to oil glands under the skin. Follicles, small sacs that produce/secrete liquid, connect the glands to the pores.

The oily liquid produced is called sebum. The sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the skin’s surface. The small hair grows through the follicle.

When the follicle gets blocked, oil builds up. Skin cells, sebum, hair and bacteria gets backed up or goes back down into the pore. When they start to break down, it becomes infected. The infection then produces pimples, spots, zits, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts and nodules.

It can be painful for some or emotionally disturbing for others.

Risk factors:

Oily/greasy cosmetics
Hormonal changes

How to prevent or treat acne?

  • Be sure to wash your face twice daily (morning and evening)
  • Do not sleep in makeup
  • Keep hair clean
  • Avoid hair on your face (especially if hair is oily or has product in it)
  • Try using an earpiece (dead skin/bacteria can be on the phone)
  • Do not scrub the skin or pop the pimple
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before touching your face and/or applying products
  • Pick products marked for sensitive skin to avoid further irritation
  • Look for products marked “non-comedogenic”

What does non-comedogenic mean? 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a “comedo” is an acne-lesion, which is a hard blockage created from the excess sebum in the pore (described above). Products that are not labeled as non-comedogenic usually mean there is a chance they have properties that can clog pores — thus having a higher chance of causing acne.

Though non-comedogenic skincare products may not solve or prevent 100% of acne cases, they may help as they do not promote pore-clogging and acne production. It is very important to look for products that do not contain unnecessary oil (even good oil) and those that do not promote more oil production.

Some comedogenic ingredients to avoid:

Let’s start by saying everyone’s skin is different; what may be perfectly fine, may irritate someone else’s skin. Here are some products/ingredients that are more likely to clog pores:

  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Coal Tar
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Shea Butter
  • Almond Oil
  • Algae Extract
  • Pigments & Dyes (especially Red)
  • Acetylated Lanolin
  • Benzaldehyde
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Ethyhexly Palmitate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Sodium Chloride

How to Pick Non-Comedogenic Products to Help Treat or Prevent Acne

It’s always good to stick to non-comedogenic products if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. To treat acne, look for descriptions such as “lightweight”, “non-greasy”, “oil-free”, “sensitive skin” or “acne-prone.”

Cleanser: Daily cleanser should have pore-clearing and deep-cleaning ingredients such as glycolic acid which have been known to control acne.

Moisturizer:  The product should be thin in consistency and quickly absorb into the skin. It should NOT feel as though you have another layer of skin. Look for products that also have soothing ingredients such as vitamin E, glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Foundation: Look for foundation marked oil-free and/or non-comedogenic. Make sure the foundation is not too heavy as it will sit on the face and trap the current acne in.

Makeup Tip: Do not skip moisturizer! The powder from your makeup will help absorb excess oil. Without the moisturizer, the final look may look chalky on the pimples and make them appear more!

Alternative Method of Cleaning: Oil Cleansing Method

The theory behind oil cleansing is that like attracts like meaning the new oil will pick up the oil already in your skin to help dissolve it. Oil Cleansing has worked for many who struggle with acne; however, some others have stated it’s made their acne worse. There may be a “purge” where the acne appears worse before it gets better. The way the skin responds is dependent upon each individual. Things to consider: skin type, individual concerns, picking the right oil/combo for skin, or thoroughly removing oil.

Complete List of Comedogenic Oils.

Personal recommendations:

For regular blemishes, I suggest this Blemish system.

For more severe or persistent acne, I suggest this Professional system.

If you have more severe acne, be sure to check with a dermatologist as you may need a medicated solution!

Bonus Read: How I Cleared Up Acne Caused By Exercising

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