This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.


What Exactly Are Non-Comedogenic Ingredients?

Posted by Adeline Yeak on
What Exactly Are Non-Comedogenic Ingredients?

Image by Zove Beauty

By: Shilpa Bhim

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by a new skincare or makeup product that has caused a smattering of pimples or black heads on your face. 

While everyone’s skin is different, those pimples of blackheads can likely be attributed to comedogenic ingredients. You may have heard of the term ‘non-comedogenic’, but you may be wondering exactly what this means, and whether you need to be using non-comedogenic ingredients? 

Fortunately for you Zovers, we are here to make skincare as simple as possible.

We reached out to Dr Michele Squire to help us break down the basics of non-comedogenic ingredients. Michele is a PhD-qualified scientist, science educator, and former Registered Nurse who has been researching skincare science for more than 17 years. So, it’s safe to say she knows what she’s talking about.

Keep reading to find out more!



To put it simply, non-comedogenic ingredients won’t block your pores, which means you’re less likely to get pimples or blackheads. 

As Dr Michele notes, “a ‘comedo’ is the scientific name for a blackhead, hence ‘non-comedogenic’ suggests that a product won’t block pores and cause blackheads, which invariably leads to breakouts.”

Understanding what non-comedogenic means is one thing, knowing which ingredients to look out for is another. Fortunately, Dr Michele has got you covered.


There are common ingredients associated with comedogenicity. These include:

  • Avocado Oil 
  • Butyl Stearate - a skin conditioning ingredient that is often used to add fragrance.
  • Cocoa Butter 
  • Coconut Oil 
  • Decyl Oleate - a skin conditioning agent.
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil - an emollient to smooth dry skin.
  • Isopropyl Isostearate - a skin softening agent.
  • Isopropyl Myristate - used as a binding and fragrance adding ingredient. 
  • Isopropyl Palmitate - used as a binding and fragrance adding ingredient.
  • Myristyl Lactate - a skin conditioning agent.
  • Octyl Palmitate - a skin conditioning ingredient that is often used to add fragrance.
  • Peach Kernel Oil

With that being said, Dr Michele has some wise words of advice for anyone who is prone to blackheads or acne, noting that they should test non-comedogenic products on their own face before using them regularly.

“Something that causes comedones in one person, won’t in another and vice versa. So unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules about this.”

Basically, it comes down to a process of trial and error to work out which ingredients or formulations will cause breakouts. 


A common misconception is that only those who are prone to acne should use non-comedogenic ingredients. 

But Dr Michele highlights that most people are concerned with blackheads and breakouts, and reiterates that it’s important to see how a product or ingredient performs on your own skin.

“Most people generally know exactly which comedogenic ingredients to steer well clear of from bitter experience,” she says.

Her pro tip? “My strongest recommendation would be not to take advice on the comedogenicity of ingredients or products from your friends, colleagues and social media, simply because of the variability between each individual’s skin and its responses!”

So there you have it Zovers, you know your skin best, so take the time to work out which non-comedogenic ingredients work best for you. 

As always, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with us via the little icon on your right, via Instagram or email us - we’d love to hear from you :) 

Shilpa is a freelance health, beauty and travel writer from Melbourne, Australia. You can keep up with her adventures over at @skb.ontherun and check out her latest articles here.

← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published