February 18, 2020

How to determine potential pore-clogging with the comedogenic rating system

Perhaps in the past, you’ve been warned to avoid all oils – for fear that they would clog your pores and cause breakouts.

This is partly true: some oils can cause your pores to clog, which can result in whiteheads and blackheads/ But this matter is highly dependent upon whether or not the oil is comedogenic or non-comedogenic.

With this in mind, it’s important to know that oil is not inherently bad for skin, and isn’t something that needs to be avoided in skin care. However, it is imperative that you know which oils will nourish your skin without clogging pores, and beyond that, which oils are most suited for your skin type.

In order to better understand oils, we’ll explore the difference between comedogenic and non-comedogenic oils, and how they’re rated on the widely referenced comedogenic scale.

Oil pour

Comedogenic Vs. Non-Comedogenic Oils

You may have heard skin care companies claiming that their products are non-comedogenic. And while you’ve probably gathered enough context to know that this is a good thing, what exactly does it mean?

Basically, oils can be classified as comedogenic or non-comedogenic, and the word “comedogenic” essentially means that it will likely cause pores to become clogged.

So how do comedogenic oils clog pores?

Essentially, comedogenic oils contain molecules and fatty acids that become trapped in the pores. This can lead to the rapid increase of skin cells in the sebaceous duct. This kind of blockage can lead to the production of comedones, or, as they are typically more simply referred to: pimples.

Knowing this, we want to keep comedogenic oil clear from our skin care regimens, and then decide what to do with the rest.

Before choosing skin care, many will start by consulting a list of ideal non-comedogenic oils. Meanwhile, if you feel unsure of how to determine which oils are non-comedogenic, simply consult the comedogenic scale.

Oil hands

How the Comedogenic Scale Works

The comedogenic scale is designed to determine how likely a cosmetic is to clog pores. The scale ranks from 0 – which means won’t clog pores at all – to 5, which is high likelihood of clogging pores.

Note that while we largely refer to carrier oils in this instance, the comedogenic scale is designed to apply to several types of ingredients including waxes, minerals, botanicals, and emulsifiers.

When something is a 2 or less on the comedogenic scale, it is considered “non-comedogenic”. Meanwhile, if an ingredient is higher than 5, it’s likely to give the user clogged, irritated pores and breakouts.

An ingredient’s place on the comedogenic scale is determined by a series of tests, which have been traditionally tested on rabbit’s ears – not on our watch! Thankfully, more companies are adopting cruelty-free practices with the use of human volunteers and sometimes even computer simulation.

While this scale gives a foundation as to what oils to avoid and which to stick with, it’s not the end-all, be-all rating system, as different oils tend to be more beneficial for specific skin types. When considering a non-comedogenic oil, it is always recommended to consider your skin type, and how it will respond to the fatty acids within that oil.

For instance: brazil nut oil, which is high in oleic acid, is ideal for mature or dry skin – whereas the linoleic and linolenic acid in cloudberry oil makes it suitable for oily or acne-prone skin.

Meanwhile, it’s important to understand the way the concentration of an oil in a product plays a role in how it works. For example, coconut oil gets a lot of attention for being a 4 on the comedogenic scale, but that’s only when it’s at a dilution of 100%.

That being said, coconut oil is often formulated in products at a low percentage, and is then mixed with other non-comedogenic oils, so that a balance is achieved.


Using Puristry’s Restorative Facial Oil As an Example

By creating a harmonious balance of different non-comedogenic oils and botanicals, we’ve created a facial oil that can be beneficial for a multitude of skin types.

Our Restorative Facial Oil offers a comprehensive list of benefits which make it especially ideal for skin that is irritated, tired, or lacking in vitality. Moreover, the nourishing properties that come from the oils in this product make it extremely hydrating and anti-aging.

Not only is this facial oil made with organic ingredients, but it’s also cold-pressed, which is the most gentle way to process oils, and does the best job at protecting an oil’s most beneficial properties.

This facial oil features rosehip oil, which is rich in antioxidants that will help fight off damaging free radicals, as well as acai oil, which is known for its anti-aging benefits. This facial oil is also formulated with antioxidants like tocopherol, or vitamin E, as well as a bouquet of fragrant essential oils, such as lavender, cedarwood and sage.

The end result is a facial oil which is not only safe for the pores, but can even bring down inflammation, quench thirsty skin, and stimulate blood flow.

This facial oil can be used as part of both your morning and evening routine. To use, first make sure that your face has been cleansed and toned. Dispense oil onto clean, dry hands; you shouldn’t need more than a quarter or half dollar amount.

Gently pat the oil onto your face and neck, but avoid causing any kind of rubbing, scratching or dragging, as this can cause premature aging to the skin with repetition. This oil can be layered directly onto damp skin, or it may be layered over your preferred facial moisturizer.

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