What Is Comedogenicity

We have all used products where we end up with our skin blocked and spotty. These products can be anything from shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, makeup or self-tanning products when applied to the skin or hair. Ingredients creating blocked follicles are known to be comedogenic.

A comedogenic component means that it can clog the pores. This is done by accumulating follicular hyperkeratosis – increased keratin production in the hair follicles. Over time, this may lead to blackheads, milia, sebaceous hyperplasia and clogged follicles. These symptoms do not always transpire quickly; it may take months of using a comedogenic product before it becomes obvious. Each person’s skin chemistry can determine the degree of an ingredient’s comedogenicity; therefore, it is highly mutable between people. One person may not react, while another may have disproportionately clogged pores in just a few short weeks.

Even ingredients not typically comedogenic can create havoc depending on our exclusive skin enzymes. Human sebum is inherently comedogenic, so even if you are prone to clogging and try to avoid all comedogenic ingredients, it is not certain protection against blackheads.

Some ingredients that may be comedogenic are petroleum derivatives, cocoa butter, oleic acid, sodium lauryl sulphate, coconut oil, wheat germ oil, palm oil, linseed oil, isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl isostearate, butyl stearate, myristyl myristate, decyl oleate, octyl stearate, octyl palmitate, Isocetyl Stearate, propylene glycol-2, lanolin and coal tar derivatives. It is important to be aware that a product containing a comedogenic ingredient may not be a bad product choice for someone who is not prone to acne and blocked pores.

Comedogenic list inconsistencies are based on numerous elements. First, depending upon the component strength of that ingredient within the formula is vital. A formulation is not only a sum of its parts – component combinations can make a comedogenic ingredient into a non-comedogenic ingredient and vice versa.

Secondly, the process in which a component is extracted and treated plays a role.

Third, the source of the raw material can affect its rating.

Although comedogenicity is not an exact science, there are points to be aware of to help reduce the adverse effects of a product.

  1. Please read the ingredient index list on the back of the bottle or packaging and compare it with the comedogenic list
  2. Ensure shampoo and conditioner are thoroughly rinsed from your hair and keep it tied back at night to help reduce the leave-in residue pressed into and against the skin.
  3. Oil-free does not mean it is non-comedogenic
  4. Do not leave makeup on the skin overnight. Instead, ensure cleansing and toning with gauze and toning lotion occurs. For optimal results, cleansing and toning is done morning and night, followed by serums and treatment creams prescribed by your skincare professional.
  5. Using either retinol, mandelic, glycolic, lactic or BHA serum at night can assist with skin refinement and decongesting the skin

In-clinic treatments can help remove/reduce blockages in the skin. One of the most effective treatments is the Skin Classic, also known as Diathermy. It is an effective and affordable non-laser treatment for minor skin imperfections such as blackheads, milia and sebaceous hyperplasia. Diathermy will dehydrate the oil and reduce or remove the blockage when related to skin blockages. Treatments are relatively quick, with little discomfort, and provide instantaneous results with no anaesthesia and healing times ranging from 5 to 10 days to a few weeks for larger skin conditions. Best results are achieved when used in conjunction with a prescribed skincare routine to ensure the blockages are not reoccurring.

Many factors can lead to comedones, milia and sebaceous hyperplasia, including the skin’s natural oils, dead skin, makeup or other products becoming lodged in the pore. Do your homework with the ingredient index and follow a prescribed skincare programme, and the risk of blockages in the skin will be reduced.

Here is a link to a great article

For other related posts see the links below

Shining the light on Hyperpigmentation

The Lymphatic System and the Skin 



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