Pore Clogging Ingredients

List of pore-clogging (comedogenic) ingredients:

  • Acetylated Lanolin
  • Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
  • Algae Extract
  • Algin
  • Beeswax
  • Bismuth
  • Butyl Stearate
  • Carrageenan
  • Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20
  • Cetyl Acetate
  • Chlorella
  • Chondrus Crispus (aka Irish Moss or Carageenan Moss)
  • Coal Tar
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut Alkanes
  • Coconut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cocos nucifera oil
  • Colloidal Sulfur
  • Cotton Awws Oil
  • Cotton Seed Oil
  • Corn oil
  • D & C Red # 17
  • D & C Red # 21
  • D & C Red # 3
  • D & C Red # 30
  • D & C Red # 36
  • Decyl Oleate
  • Dioctyl Succinate
  • Disodium Monooleamido
  • Ethoxylated Lanolin
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE
  • Glyceryl-3 Diisostearate
  • Hexadecyl Alcohol
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
  • Isocetyl Alcohol
  • Isocetyl Stearate
  • Isodecyl Oleate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Isopropyl Linolate
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Isostearyl Isostearate
  • Isostearyl Neopentanoate
  • Jojoba wax
  • Kelp
  • Laminaria Digitata Extract
  • Laminaria Saccharina Extract (Laminaria Saccharine)
  • Laureth-23
  • Laureth-4
  • Lauric Acid
  • Mango Butter
  • Mink Oil
  • Myristic Acid
  • Myristyl Lactate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Octyl Palmitate
  • Octyl Stearate
  • Oleth-3
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Parkii
  • PEG 2- Sulfosuccinate
  • PEG 16 Lanolin
  • PEG 200 Dilaurate
  • PEG 8 Stearate
  • PG Monostearate
  • PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
  • Plankton
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Propylene Glycol Monostearate
  • Red Algae
  • Seaweed
  • Shark Liver Oil
  • Shea
  • Shea Butter
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Solulan 16
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Soybean Oil
  • Spirulina
  • Steareth 10
  • Stearic Acid Tea
  • Stearyl Heptanoate
  • Sulfated Castor Oil
  • Sulfated Jojoba Oil
  • Talc
  • Wheat Germ Glyceride
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Xylene

The ingredients listed above have a high comedogenic rating, which means they’re more likely to clog your pores. 

If you’re in the Glowmode Acne Program, any products with pore-clogging ingredients are non-negotiables. This ensures that we can isolate possible acne triggers to get to the bottom of your breakouts

The Science of Pore Clogging Ingredients

If you have acne-prone skin, don’t ever put anything on your skin or hair without checking it for comdedogenic, or pore-clogging ingredients (the ingredients that clog your pores)! Remember even if it says “noncomedogenic”, “oil free” or “won’t clog your pores” on the bottle that doesn’t mean it’s safe to use on your skin. No government agency oversees this, so skincare companies can claim their products promote clear skin and still have pore-cloggers in their products. Always check the products ingredient list before using any products on your face or in your hair.

We made it very easy for you to check pore-clogging ingredients in your skin care and makeup products. To do this, you should google the full name of your product and add 'ingredients' at the end. For example: "Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser ingredients." Copy the ingredients deck and insert it in the field below. Hit 'Check' and get the results.

Understanding the comedogenic rating

The comedogenic rating was created in pursuit of singling out  individual ingredients in cosmetics that, more often than not, tend to clog our pores. The scale ranges from a number in between 0 – 5, with zero being non-comedogenic and the least likely to clog pores  and five being the most severely comedogenic and the most likely to clog pores:

  1. Non-comedogenic
  2. Slightly comedogenic
  3. Moderately comedogenic
  4. Severely comedogenic

As much as we would like to think that the science of comedogenicity is black and white- it is not.

Where did the comedogenic rating come from, and how is it tested?

The tendency of an ingredient to cause comedone formation was initially tested on rabbit ears. Thankfully, with the ban on animal testing, it is tested on the back skin of a small number of humans (usually less than ten people). If the test does not result in comedone formation, then the ingredient is labeled as non-comedogenic. If the test results in comedone formation, then the ingredient is considered comedogenic.

If we look at  testing methods closely, we find some downsides since they are not tested under “real-life” conditions. For example, our backs have a different physiology than our facial skin with different hair and oil production. Also, the small number of samples may not represent the general population. These drawbacks may give some ingredients “bad reputations” unnecessarily.

Comedogenicity is complicated and depends on the formulation, where an ingredient may fall in the ingredient deck, and how the other ingredients react with that particular product formulation. 

There are definitely several other factors that we should take into consideration when determining how comedogenic an ingredient can be based on its extraction process, formulation and the percentage of the ingredient in the overall product. In fact, when used in low percentages, an ingredient with a high comedogenic rating can be totally harmless on our skin.

To make it simple, this rating doesn’t mean that products with high comedogenic ingredients like cocoa butter or coconut butter will break you out. It’s definitely possible, but not always the case. Meanwhile, products with a comedogenic rating of 0 – 2 are still considered safe and commonly won’t cause any adverse reactions.

When you’re looking for the culprit

The comedogenic rating can help you narrow down ingredients that are probably causing you to break out. Although, again, this is not an absolute judgment, it can help you identify ingredients your skin is not fond of.

Product Checklist