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Comedogenic Ingredients • Official Skin Nutritious List

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Comedogenic Ingredients • Official Skin Nutritious List

Would it surprise you to know that a huge percentage of skincare and makeup products can actually cause acne? There are over 120+ comedogenic ingredients scientifically shown to trigger product acne (a.k.a. acne cosmetica). 

Take a look here at the difference between product acne (from comedogenic ingredients) and hormonal acne: 


Comedogenic ingredients will only cause tiny little white bumps on the skin. They do not cause deeper, painful hormonal acne (i.e. red, cystic, inflamed). It's important to know which kind of acne you have so you know how to resolve it.

Product acne is such a common problem in my clinic that approximately 80% of new clients I see are using comedogenic products without knowing it. I cannot stress enough the importance to always check every product you use for comedogenic ingredients. Even a single comedogenic ingredient or one-time use cloggy product (i.e. a mask or a friend's sunscreen) can trigger these little breakouts if you're susceptible to them. Be vigilant about avoiding these to keep your skin clear!

This list is comprised of 100% scientific research. All the ingredients listed here are from the only scientific study we have on comedogenic ingredients, "Comedogenicity and irritancy of commonly used ingredients in skincare products. Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1989." Bless Doctor Fulton for his pioneering work in the acne field!

You may find other online sites with different "comedogenic" ingredients, but the sourcing of the information is unknown and not supplied (if you find one with sources and footnotes on research, please send it to me to check out!). Instead of making speculations, I have stuck with the straight science. And in my 9 years of client work, this list is extremely reliable and trustworthy. important notes:

Natural skincare can (and often does) contain comedogenic ingredients. Natural skincare is not immune from pore-clogging ingredients. In fact, most natural products have not been made with acne-prone skin in mind and can contain some of the most comedogenic ingredients tested such as coconut oil, almond oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and more. Check the list to make sure your products are comedogenic-free. 

Not everyone breaks out from comedogenic ingredients. People who are not acne-sensitive, have naturally dry skin, and small pores may not be affected at all by comedogenic ingredients. Sensitivity varies, which is why some people do not breakout from these ingredients and some do. Acne-prone skintypes are typically highly sensitive, which may be in part due to their naturally larger pore size.

Beware of untested carrier oils. Most carrier oils used today were not tested in this 1989 study such as argan oil, borage oil, hemp oil, macadamia oil, pumpkin seed oil, rosehip oil, tamanu oil, walnut oil. These cannot be confirmed as acne-safe and most oils that were tested came up as comedogenic. I strongly recommend to avoid them. 

Sunflower, safflower, jojoba, and all essential oils are acne-safe. While most oils are comedogenic, jojoba, safflower, sunflower, and all essential oils were all found to be acne-safe. Feel free to use these ingredients without worry.

Shop Skin Nutritious for non-comedogenic, acne-safe skincare. I created my skincare line because I found it very difficult to find acne-fighting products that were also non-toxic. If you want clear skin results in the most natural way possible, these products were 100% made for you. 

 Check my Acne-Safe Makeup + Sunscreen list for pre-screened products.



  • A & D additive
  • Acetylated lanolin alcohol
  • Almond oil
  • Apricot kernel oil
  • Ascorbyl palmitate
  • Avocado oil
  • Avocado oil, refined
  • Beeswax
  • Betyl stearate
  • Butyl sterate
  • Capric acid
  • Cereayl alcohol + ceteareth 20
  • Ceteareth-20
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Cetyl acetate
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Coal tar
  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Cocos nucifera
  • Corn oil
  • Cotton seed oil
  • D&C red (most pigments)
  • Decaglyceryl decaoleate
  • Deyl oleate
  • Di (2 ethylhexyl) succinate
  • Dioctyl malate
  • Dioctyl succinate
  • Eicosanoic acid
  • Ethoxylated lanolins
  • Ethylhexyl palmitate
  • Ethylhexyl pelargonate
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Glyceryl stearate SE
  • Glyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hexylene glycol
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Isocetyl alcohol
  • Isocetyl stearate
  • Isodecyl oleate
  • Isoparaffin C9-11
  • Isopropyl isostearate
  • Isopropyl lanolate
  • Isopropyl linolate
  • Isopropyl myristate
  • Isopropyl neopentanoate
  • Isopropyl palmitate
  • Isostearic acid
  • Isostearyl alcohol
  • Isostearyl isostearate
  • Isostearyl neopentanoate
  • Laneth-10
  • Lanolic acid
  • Lanolin alcohol
  • Laureth-23
  • Laureth-4
  • Lauric acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Linolenic acid
  • Linseed oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Mink oil
  • Mink oil, refined
  • Myreth-3 myristate
  • Myristic acid
  • Myristyl alcohol
  • Myristyl lactate
  • Myristyl myristate
  • Octyl palmitate
  • Octyl stearate
  • Octyldodecanol
  • Olea europaea fruit oil
  • Oleic acid (in natural oils)
  • Oleth-10
  • Oleth-3
  • Oleth-3 phosphate
  • Oleth-5
  • Oleyl alcohol
  • Olive oil
  • Palm oil
  • Palmitic acid
  • Peach kernel oil
  • Peanut oil
  • PEG 100 distearate
  • PEG 150 distearate
  • PEG 16 lanolin
  • PEG 200 dilaurate
  • PEG 8 stearate
  • PG caprylate/caprate
  • Pentaerythrital tetra isostearate
  • PG dipelargonate
  • PG monostearate
  • Phytanriol
  • Polyglyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • PPG 10 cetyl ether
  • PPG 12 PEG 65 lanolin oil
  • PPG 2 myristyl propionate
  • PPG 5 Ceteth 10 phosphate
  • Sandalwood seed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Shark liver oil
  • Sorbitan isostearate
  • Sorbitan laurate
  • Sorbitan oleate
  • Soybean oil
  • Steareth-10
  • Steareth-20
  • Stearic acid
  • Stearic acid: TEA
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Stearyl heptanoate
  • Sulfulated jojoba oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Triethanoleamine
  • Vitamin A palmitate
  • Vitis vinifera seed extract
  • Water-soluble sulfur
  • Wheat germ glyceride
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Xylene


UNTESTED OILS (comedogenicity unknown, best to avoid) :

  • Argan oil
  • Avocado butter
  • Borage oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Kukui Nut Oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Maracuja oil
  • Marula oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Tamanu oil
  • Walnut oil
  • ...and all other carrier oils and butters not listed here.










Elise May, CN + LE, is a holistic esthetician, acne nutritionist, and founder of Skin Nutritious. Since 2009, she has helped over 1,300 clients overcome acne with a unique blend of coaching, treatments, and holistic skincare. 

Work with Elise. 
In San Francisco - book online here.
• Worldwide Clear Skin eConsults book here.





Fulton, James E., Comedogenicity and irritancy of commonly used ingredients in skincare products. Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1989.

Gadberry, Rebecca James. “Introduction to Skin and Biochemistry for Cosmetic Science.” UCLA, April 2015.