comedogenic ingredients skincare list

There it was. In the middle of my chin. All red and swollen. Staring at me defiantly.

“Dare to pop me!,” it challenged me.

But, I didn’t. I knew that’s what that nasty pimple wanted. To be squeezed so he could procreate. No way, I’m falling for it, you nasty thing!

But, boy, was it annoying me! Why now? Why me? I don’t even get pimples all that often. Only during that time of the month. And this wasn’t it. What the heck was going on?

*lightbulb goes off in my head*

My new Nivea moisturizer! There must be something in it that makes pimples want to come out and play.

*goes to check out the ingredient list*

Isopropyl palmitate! Yep, that’ll do it. It’s a magnet for pimples.

*throws moisturizer in the bin*

Memo for Gio: ALWAYS check the ingredient list before buying any skincare products or you risk finding something in there that’ll give you pimples.

But, what ingredients are comedogenic and give you pimples? It’s not like you can tell by looking at them. Mmm….

Worry not, my friend. I’ve put together a list of common comedogenic ingredients in skincare products. But, before I can share it with you…



How To Use A Comedogenic Ingredients

Just because an ingredient is in the list, it doesn’t mean it’ll give you pimples. In fact, you’ll be able to use most of the ingredients on this list without a single pimple rearing its ugly head on your face.

How do you figure out which ones are the real offenders, then? Here are a things to keep in mind as you scour this list for a culprit:

  1. Not all oils and waxes are comedogenic. So, don’t be scared of them all.
  2. Comedogenicity ratings aren’t the most reliable. They were done on mice so they don’t always apply to humans. But, if you’re suddenly getting pimples, they may give you an indication of where to look for the culprit.
  3. The higher it is on the label, the higher the chance it’ll give you pimples. Low amounts don’t usually cause problems.
  4. You’re more at risk if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Comedogenic ingredients don’t usually cause problems for other skin types (unless used in very high amounts).
  5. This list is not comprehensive. But I’ve listed as many comedogenic ingredients as I could find.

In other words, if you have dry skin, this list will probably be useless to you. Almost nothing gives you pimples.

Oily or acne-prone skin? Beware of highly comedogenic ingredient when they’re at the top of the ingredient lists. Less comedogenic ingredients may aggravate acne, especially if there are plenty of them in your moisturiser.

All good? Let’s go then:

Highly Comedogenic Ingredients:

  • Acetylated Lanolin
  • Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
  • Algae Extract
  • Algin
  • Carrageenan
  • Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20
  • Coal tar
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfosuccinate
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • Glyceryl-3-Diisostearate
  • Hexadecyl Alcohol
  • Isocetyl Stearate
  • Isodecyl Oleate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Isostearyl Isostearate
  • Laureth 4
  • Lauric Acid
  • Linseed Oil
  • Myreth 3 Myristate
  • Myristyl Lactate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Octyl Palmitate
  • Octyl Stearate
  • Oleth-3
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • PEG 16 Lanolin
  • Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate
  • Propylene Glycol Monostearate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
  • Red Algae
  • Sodium Chloride (Salt)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sorbitan Sesquinoleate
  • Stearyl Heptanoate
  • Steareth 10
  • Stearyl Heptanoate
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Xylene

Moderately Comedogenic Ingredients:

  • Butyl Stearate
  • Colloidal Sulfur
  • Corn Oil
  • Cotton Aws Oil
  • Cotton Seed Oil
  • D & C Red # 3, 17, 21, 30, 36
  • Decyl Oleate
  • Dioctyl Succinate
  • Ethoxylated Lanolin
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
  • Isostearyl Neopentanoate
  • Laureth 23
  • Mink Oil
  • Myristic Acid
  • PEG 200 Dilaurate
  • PEG 8 Stearate
  • PG Monostearate
  • Shark Liver Oil
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Solulan 16
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Soybean Oil
  • Stearic Acid Tea
  • Sulphated Castor Oil
  • Sulphated Jojoba Oil
  • Wheat Germ Glyceride

Mildly Comedogenic Ingredients:

  • Almond Oil
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Arachidic Acid
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate
  • Avocado Oil
  • Azulene
  • Benzaldehyde
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Beta carotene
  • BHA
  • Bubussa Oil
  • Butylene glycol
  • Cajeput Oil
  • Calendula
  • Camphor
  • Candelilla Wax
  • Capric Acid
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Carbomer 940
  • Carnuba Wax
  • Castor Oil
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Chamomile
  • Chaulmoogra Oil
  • D & C Red #4, 6,7, 9, 27, 33, 40
  • Dimethicone
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Glyceryl Stearate NSE
  • Glyceryl Tricaprylin/Caprate
  • Hexylene Glycol
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil
  • Hydroxypropyl Cellulose
  • Lanolin Oil
  • Lanolin Wax
  • Lithium Stearate
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Oleth-10
  • Olive Oil
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Peanut Oil
  • PEG 100 Distearate
  • PEG 100 Stearate
  • PEG 150 Distearate
  • PEG 20 Stearate
  • Pentaerythrityl Tetra Isostearate
  • PG Caprylate/Caprate
  • PG Dicaprylate/Caprate
  • PG Dipelargonate
  • PG Dipelargonate
  • Polyethene Glycol (PEG 400)
  • Polyethene Glycol 300
  • Sandalwood Seed Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Simethicone
  • Sorbitan Laurate
  • Squalane
  • Steareth 2
  • Steareth 20
  • Stearic acid
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Talc
  • Tocopherol
  • Triethanolamine
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Zinc Oxide

If any pimples suddenly rear their ugly heads on your face, look out for these on the ingredients list. Once may be a coincidence but if every time you use a cream with myristyl myristate, those annoying pimples suddenly pop up, stop putting that stuff on your face!

Do any of these ingredients make you break out? Share your experience in the comments below.