Comedogenic List of Ingredients To Avoid For Acne-Prone Skin

Makeup and skincare products that contain pore-clogging comedogenic ingredients can cause or exacerbate inflammation, pimples, and breakouts. Those who deal daily with acne-prone skin should avoid from any ingredient that falls into this category. Keep reading for a list of comedogenic ingredients that may be in your skincare right now and see if you are using anything that may be adding to your skin problems.

What Is Comedogenic?

A comedogenic ingredient is a substance that has a high likelihood of clogging pores, subsequently leading to blemishes, blackheads, acne, and breakouts. Cosmetics containing comedogenic ingredients can exacerbate breakouts and contribute to the problem, which is clogged pores. If you have acne-prone skin, oily skin, or sensitive skin, keeping an eye out of these ingredients is vital to maintain clear, healthy skin. 


Oils are commonly used in many skincare products. You may have been told that oils are moisturizing, hydrating, and beneficial to your skin. While they do have beneficial properties, they may also clog your pores. Oils that are non-comedogenic and least likely to clog pores include castor oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, and mineral oil. Below is the list of oils that acne-prone skin should avoid.

  • Avocado Oil
  • Carrot Seed Oil
  • Chia Seed Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Soybean Oil

Alcohols and Stearates

The use of alcohol in skincare products has been controversial over the years. Although some alcohols are non-toxic, they can still cause irritation in sensitive skin types. Stearates are used as emulsifiers in cosmetics and some of them can clog pores and lead to acne.
  • Hexadecyl Alcohol
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Socetyl Alcohol
  • Isocetyl Stearate
  • Propylene Glycol Monostearate
  • Glyceryl-3-Diisostearate
  • Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate
  • Octyl Stearate


Lanolin is a greasy yellow substance made from secretions (sebum) from the skin glands of sheep to condition their wool. Since it’s highly conditioning, it’ often found in thick face creams and other moisturizing skincare products. Because its composition is similar to that of our skin’s natural oil, it’s great at preventing moisture loss and healing dry skin, but that also makes it a heavy, occlusive ingredient that can clog pores and cause breakouts.
  • Lanolin
  • Lanolin Oil
  • Acetylated Lanolin
  • Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
  • PEG 16 Lanolin (Solulan 16)

Emollients and Emulsifiers

An emollient is one of the ingredients in a moisturizer that keep your skin soft and smooth. An emulsifier is also one of the ingredients that mix water with oils in creams and lotions. These two are an important part of cosmetics but choose wisely as some are pore-clogging ingredients. Non-comedogenic emollients include mango butter, shea butter, and petroleum.
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut Butter
  • Oleth-3 Phosphate
  • Laureth-4

Other Pore-Clogging Ingredients

Here are some other comedogenic ingredients to avoid if you are an acne-prone skin:
  • Algae
  • Carrageenan
  • Sodium Chloride (Salt)
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Steareth 10