The term "comedogenic" is almost always paired with the term "noncomedogenic." This pair of words is used to discuss the degree to which a substance may block the pores. Blocked pores can result in an increase of acne in certain people, and for this reason, people may look for ingredients in skin treatments that are noncomedogenic and less likely to occlude the pores. Those who don’t have acne can usually safely pick products that may occasionally block the pores.
Often, products are categorized by how much the pores get covered by the product. Something that is only likely to block the pores 10 to 20% of the time, or, in other words, partially create pore blockage, which might be thought of as mildly comedogenic. On the other hand, something that tends to always cover the pores and result in total blockage might be thought of as a severe comedogen.
There are a large number of ingredients that may block the pores to at least some degree. A comprehensive list might be hard to obtain, but some ingredients that have the tendency to be severely comedogenic include oil of wheat germ, most forms of lanolin, coconut oil, linseed oil, cocoa and coconut butters, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Materials that will only cause partial blockage include avocado, almond, castor, peanut and a variety of other oils. Some forms of wax occlude pores, and other ingredients that might block pores are talc, zinc oxide, vitamin A, some types of vitamin E, and polyethylene glycol.
With the number of ingredients that might block pores, any reasonable person could feel dismayed in attempting to avoid them, but this isn’t always necessary. People who don’t regularly suffer from acne might be just fine using any of these products.
The order of ingredients can tell people a lot about how much of a comedogen is in a product. If the last ingredient on a list of ingredients can block pores, this means that the ingredient is present in the lowest percentage of all ingredients in a product. Of course, it is also possible for products to contain more than one such product.
For those people who need to strictly avoid these ingredients, most cosmetics and other skincare treatments will usually labeled as noncomedogenic if they don't include pore-blocking ingredients. Looking for the noncomedogenic label is a way of avoiding skin products that might result in more skin breakouts.