Comedogenic Scale: Top 100 Cosmetic Ingredients

The comedogenic scale indicates that specific substances used in cosmetic product formulation, such as oils and butter, can clog pores. Highly comedogenic oils should be avoided by anyone prone to acne breakouts and blackheads, as they are likely to create persistent acne problems.
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comedogenic and non-comedogenic products on display
Comedogenic oils are found in many skincare products, including coconut oil, almond oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and others.

What are comedogenic ingredients?

Comedogenic ingredients can cause comedones or black/whiteheads when used on oily or acne-prone skin. These substances are thick enough to prevent oil glands from opening, causing acne. The comedogenicity (number on comedogenic scale) of a substance is determined using a rabbit ear assay.

What are the different grades on comedogenic scale mean?

Comedogenic ingredients on comedogenic scale are classified as follows:

  • Grade 0: Non-Comedogenic. Will not clog pores.
  • Grade 1: Low comedogenicity.
  • Grade 2: Moderately low comedogenicity.
  • Grade 3: Moderate comedogenicity.
  • Grade 4: Fairly high comedogenicity.
  • Grade 5: High comedogenicity.

Grades 1 to 2 are considered less comedogenic on comedogenic scale, and grades 3 to 5 are considered very comedogenic. You should avoid products on comedogenic scale with grade 3–5 comedogenic ingredients, regardless of their position on the ingredient list. If 1-2 comedogenic ingredients appear at the beginning of the ingredients list, then it should be avoided also.

What does “non-comedogenic” mean?

The term “non-comedogenic” refers to a final product that has been examined for comedogenicity and found to be free of comedones on comedogenic scale during testing. Individual comedogenic chemicals may lose their comedogenicity when mixed with other ingredients or diluted to lesser amounts; therefore, such testing is a better guide.

List of common comedogenic ingredients

IngredientComedogenic Grade
Acetylated lanolin alcohol4
Almond oil2
Apricot kernel oil2
Avocado oil2
Butyl stearate3
Capric acid2
Caprylic acid1
Carnuba wax1
Ceteareth 204
Cetyl acetate4
Cetyl alcohol2
Cocoa butter4
Coconut butter4
Corn oil3
Cotton seed oil3
Ctearyl alcohol2
D & C red #173
D & C red #192
D & C red #212
D & C red #272
D & C red #33
D & C red #303
D & C red #331
D & C red #363
D & C red #42
D & C red #402
D & C red #91
Decyl oleate3
Di (2 ethylhexyl) succinate2
Dioctyl malate3
Dioctyl succinate3
Eicosanoic acid2
Ethylhexyl palmitate4
Ethylhexyl pelargonate2
Evening primrose oil3
Glyceryl tricapylo/caprate1
Glyceryl stearate NSE1
Glyceryl stearate SE3
Hexylene glycol2
Hydrogenated vegetable oil3
Isocetyl alcohol4
Isodecyl oleate2
Isopropyl isostearate5
Isopropyl linolate4
Isopropyl myristate5
Isopropyl palmitate4
Isostearyl isostearate4
Isostearyl neopentanoate3
Jojoba oil2
Lanolin wax1
Lauric acid4
Mink oil2
Myristic acid3
Myristyl lactate4
Myristyl myristate5
Myristyl alcohol2
Oleth-3 phosphate2
Oleyl alcohol4
Olive oil2
Palmitic acid2
Peanut oil2
PEG 100 distearate2
PEG 15 0 distearate2
PEG 16 lanolin (Solulan 16)4
PEG 20 stearate1
PEG 200 dilaurate3
PEG 8 castor oil1
PEG 8 stearate3
PG caprylate/caprate2
PG dicaprylate/caprate1
PG dipelargonate2
PG monostearate2
PPG 10 cetyl ether3
PPG 2 myristyl propionate3
PPG 5 Ceteth 10 phosphate4
Sandalwood seed oil2
Sesame oil3
Shark liver oil3
Sorbitan isostearate2
Sorbitan oleate3
Soybean oil3
Stearic acid2
Stearic acid: TEA3
Stearyl alcohol2
Stearyl heptanoate4
Sulfated jojoba oil3
Water-soluble sulfur3
Zinc oxide1

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