Comedogenic Ingredients List

There are many wonderful skin-saving ingredients, but there are even more skin-sabatogers likely hanging out in your favorite blush, moisturizer, and serum (formulated to treat acne, oh boy)!

There are two types of ingredients to avoid:

  • Acnegenic
  • Comedogenic 

Acnegenic is a reactive breakout that happens on skin from internal or external triggers. It can form overnight from products that contain highly irritating ingredients (external) or when you are experiencing acute or chronic stress (internal). Irritating ingredients could be preservatives, fragrance, essential oils, surfactants, and emulsifiers, as well as ingredients that are have a high or low pH or inherently drying on the skin fragrance, essential oils, glycolic acid, low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, sometimes salicylic acid, and snail mucin, but you could be uniquely intolerant to other ingredients as well, which is best to be discovered through a process of elimination.

Comedogenic describes skin that becomes congested with pore clogging substances (comedogens). When skin becomes stressed (internally or externally) the pores cannot exfoliate quick enough to keep themselves clean. When skin is mildly stressed, at best, clogs can grow into visible blackheads by mixing with your own sebum and skin and hair cells. Comedogens are lipids with a high viscosity, high in oleic, stearic, and lauric fatty acid, and a high melting point compared to skin temperature.  

If you are experiencing inflamed acne, comedogenic ingredients will be rooted in your acnegenic reactions. Comedogenicity can lead to acnegenic breakouts when the skin is trigger happy (over-reactive) because the skin has almost become auto-immune and sees the clogs as foreign, getting rid of them quickly.

But before your eyes go crossed, learn the TOP 10ish ACNE FORMING INGREDIENTS:

  1. Nut and seed oils and butters
  2. Ethyhexyl Palmitate
  3. Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate
  4. Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate
  5. Laureth-4 and -7
  6. Stearic Acid
  7. Sorbitan Olivate
  8. Lauroyl Lysine
  9. Isopropyl Palminate & Myristate
  10. Marine plant extracts

Plant oil may breed microorganisms associated with acne breakouts, masassezia folliculitis, perioral dermatitis, and staph infections. In addition, plant oils are prone to oxidation which can kickstart skin inflammation. Please note that oily substances like squalane (squalAne with an A, not on E) do not cause bacterial overgrowths or oxidation and can be safely used on your skin. In addition, small amounts of high linoleic plant oils that contain antioxidants, i.e. abysinnian oil, MAY not not enough to cause a skin imbalance.

Essential oils, when applied in undiluted concentration to face, neck, chest, and upper back, can be an unlikely trigger for acnegenic breakouts. They can also be the cause of itchiness and irritation. It is especially important to not apply the following to the skin due to the fact that they will throw off your skin's healthy bacteria:

  • Angelica Essential Oil
  • Cypress Essential Oil
  • Germain Chamomile Essential Oil
  • Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Lemon Essential Oil
  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Thyme Essential Oil


The following natural plant butters affect the skin the same way oils do--their use leads to clogged pores. Most natural ingredients have isolated benefits, but they do mix well with total healthy skin function. And then there are 'unnatural' butters which are hydrogenated oils--the hydrogenation process makes a liquid oil into more of a solid. Rule of thumb, stay away from butters! 

Save this page, and check all your products (especially makeup, sunscreen, and haircare) against this list so that you have confidence your products are not creating more acne for your skin!

Acetylated Lanolin (Alcohol)

Algae Extract

Almond Oil

Apricot Kernel Oil

Argan Oil

Avocado Butter

Avocado Oil

Baobab Oil

Basic Red


Bismuth Oxychloride (possible irritant)

Brown Algae

Buriti Oil

Butyl Stearate

C13-16 Isoparaffin

Capric Acid


Ceteareth 20

Ceteareth-6 Olivate

Cetearyl Olivate

Cetrimonium Bromide (possible irritant, but great for hair health)

Cetrimonium Chloride (possible irritant, but great for hair health)

Cetyl Acetate

Cherry Seed Oil

Cheru Seed Oil


Chondrus Crispus

Chullu (Wild Apricot) Seed Oil

Cocoa Butter

Coconut Acid

Coconut Butter

Coconut Oil

Corn Oil

Cotton Seed Oil

D&C Red 2 (banned)

D&C Red 3 (banned)

D&C Red 4 (CI 14700)

D&C Red 6 (CI 15850)

D&C Red 7 (CI 15850)

D&C Red 9 (banned)

D&C Red 17 (CI 26100)

D&C Red 19 (banned)

D&C Red 21 (CI 45380)

D&C Red 27 (CI 45410:2)

D&C Red 30 (CI 73360:1)

D&C Red 33 (CI 17200)

D&C Red 36 (CI 12085)

FD&C Red 40 (CI 16035)

FD&C Lakes (unknown colors)

Decyl Oleate

Dhupa Seed Oil

Di (2 Ethylhexyl) Succinate

Dioctyl Malate

Dioctyl Succinate

Eicosanoic Acid

Ethoxylated Lanolin

Ethelhexyl Cocoate (Coconut Oil)

Ethylhexyl Palmitate

Ethylhexyl Pelargonate

Evening Primrose Oil

Glyceryl Isostearate

Glyceryl Oleate

Glyceryl Stearate SE


Glycol Distearate

Grapeseed Butter

Grapeseed Oil

Green Algae

Groundnut Oil

Hazelnut Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Butter

Hexadecyl Alcohol

Hexyl Laurate

Hexylene Glycol

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

Irish Moss


Isocetyl Alcohol

Isocetyl Stearate

Isodecyl Oleate

Isononyl Isononoanoate (possible irritant)

Isopropyl Isostearate

Isopropyl Linolate

Isopropyl Myristate

Isopropyl Palmitate

Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate


Isostearic Acid


Isostearyl Isostearate

Isostearyl Neopentanoate

Jojoba Butter

Jojoba Wax

Kapok Oil

Kasum Oil


Kokum Butter

Kokum Oil

Kukui Nut

Kukui Oil


Laminaria Digitata Extract

Laminaria Saccharina Extract (Laminaria Saccharine)


Lanolin Oil





Lauric Acid

Lauroyl Lysine

Lauryl Olivate

Lauryl PEG-10 Tris(trimethysiloxy)silylethyl Dimethecone

Lauryl PEG-8 Dimethicone

Macadamia Nut

Magnesium Myristate

Mahua Seed Oil

Mango Butter

Marula Oil

Mica (possible irritant)

Mink Oil

Myristic Acid

Myristyl Alcohol

Myristyl Lactate

Myristyl Myristate

Myrtrimonium Bromide

Nahor Seed Oil

Neem Oil

Octodidecyl Stearoyl Stearate

Octyl Palmitate

Octyl Stearate




Oleth-3 Phosphate


Oleyl Alcohol

Olive Butter

Olive Oil

Olive Oil Peg-7 Esters

Ozokerite (non-comedogenic wax that is possibly problematic)

Palash Oil

Palm Kernel Oil

Palm Oil

Palm Oil Butter

Papaya Seed Oil

Peach Kernel Oil

Peanut Oil

PEG 16 Lanolin

PEG 2- Sulfosuccinate

PEG 200 Dilaurate

PEG 65

PEG 8 Stearate

PEG-100 Distearate

PEG-150 Distearate

Peg-16 Lanolin

PEG-200 Dilaurate

Pentaerythrital Tetraisostearate

PG Caprylate/Caprate

PG Dipelargonate

PG Monostearate


Pilu Oil


Polyglyceryl-2 Isostearate

Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate

Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate

Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate



PPG 10 Cetyl Ether

PPG 12

PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate

PPG 5 Ceteth 10 Phosphate

PPG-2 Myristyl Propionate

Pracaxi Oil

Propylene Glycol (possible irritant)

Propylene Glycol Monostearate

Rapeseed Oil

Ratanjyat Oil

Red Algae

Retinyl palmitate

Rice Bran Oil

Sal Seed Oil

Sea Grass


Sesame Oil

Shark Liver Oil

Shea Butter

Sodium Carbomer

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (possible irritant, but great for scalp health)

Soil Minerals

Sorbitan Isostearate

Sorbitan Laurate

Sorbitan Oleate

Sorbitan Olivate

Soybean Oil


Stealkonium chloride




Stearic Acid

Stearic Acid: TEA

Stearyl Alcohol

Stearyl Heptanoate

Sulfated Jojoba Oil

Sunflower Butter

Sweet Almond Butter

Sweet Almond Oil

Tamanu Oil

Tocopherol (derived from soybean)



Water-Soluble Sulfur

Wheat Germ Glyceride