Comedogenic & Acnegenic Ingredients

by Emily Linehan on April 23, 2021

If you feel like you have tried every product on earth and your skin is still breaking out, the reason why is likely due to the ingredients in your skincare products. Most of the skincare products on the market have ingredients in them that trigger acne breakouts. Believe it or not, even the ones that are made for acne-prone skin or topical prescriptions from doctors have ingredients that contribute to new breakouts (very frustrating, but true!) 

There are 2 reasons why an ingredient would sabotage your clear skin efforts: Comedogenic Ingredients and/or Acnegenic Ingredients.

What Does Comedogenic Mean? 

There is much confusion about what comedogenic means. Many get it confused with acnegenicity which is different. Comedogenicity is the ability of a substance to cause hyperkeratosis (overproduction of skin cells), particularly in the top portion of the follicle/pore. The end result is scaling of the skin and the production of microcomedones (invisible) and comedones (which, in layman’s terms are clogged pores and blackheads). Eventually, over a 3 month period of time, these will turn into acne breakouts.

What surprises most is that comedogenic ingredients do not cause acne immediately. They take time, which is why so many people are convinced that a certain skincare product or makeup does not trigger their acne, when in fact, it does months later. This is also the reason why my Clear Skincare Program takes approximately 90 days to clear the skin…because it can take 90 days for the acne forming to actually surface. 

What Does Acnegenic Mean? 

Acnegenicity, on the other hand, is immediately after or within days of using a skincare product or makeup. This is because an acnegenic ingredient causes follicle/pore irritation which fires off an inflammatory response (and acne bacteria love the drama that skin inflammation brings). 

What is interesting is that there are many ingredients that are both acnegenic and also comedogenic. Isopropyl myristate, coconut oil, and argan oil are perfect examples. Another common ingredient that is found in many foundations is Polyglyceryl 4- Isostearate.

Getting Clear

Acne takes 3 months to form. So when you see products promising to clear your skin in just a few days, it has only cleared their existing active acne. But, they still have many microcomedones below the surface just waiting to make their debut appearance. Truly clearing acne is a process…it does not happen overnight and requires a commitment. It can be hard to do alone since we are constantly bombarded with new amazing skincare or a celebrities new makeup line. However, it is not something you have to do alone. I designed my free Skincare Consultation process to ensure that we address every possible trigger that stands in the way of successfully clearing your skin.

I also believe that the secret to beautiful skin is becoming your own skin expert by becoming an Acne Detective. By referencing my Pore Clogging Ingredients List, you can begin to familiarize yourself with the ingredients that should be avoided. 

Check out my Pore Clogging Ingredients List

Note: An ingredient being comedogenic only applies to those that are acne prone. If you are not prone to acne, you will not experience breakouts from these ingredients. Click here to learn more about What Actually Causes Acne.

xoxo, Emme

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