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What is non-comedogenic makeup and how does it differ from other makeup?

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Non-comedogenic makeup is specially designed not to clog pores, ideal for those with acne-prone or reactive skin. Discover how non-comedogenic makeup differs from other makeup.

Non-comedogenic makeup vs. clogged pores

‘Comedogenic’ comes from the word ‘comedones’, which are imperfections commonly found in those with acne-prone skin- also known as clogged pores. There are two types of comedones: open and closed. In closed comedones, or simply whiteheads, sebum grows beneath the skin surface producing a white bump. In open comedones, or blackheads, sebum reaches the skin surface, opens and turns black when exposed to air[1].

Acne is a combination of whiteheads, blackheads, bacteria and dead skin, all symptoms of clogged pores[2].

‘Comedogenic’ comes from the word ‘comedones’, also known as clogged pores

Non-comedogenic makeup for acne-prone and sensitive skin

Comedogenic-inducing ingredients are difficult to classify as they are dependent on a person’s skin type and how it reacts to products with certain ingredients.
When a makeup product features a ‘non-comedogenic’ label, it refers to makeup not containing certain ingredients that clog pores and lead to acne. These products have been clinically tested and verified under dermatological control to gain the ‘non-comedogenic’ label. 
Those who are prone to breakouts or acne or have reactive skin should only wear non-comedogenic makeup and use non-comedogenic products[3]. It is important to clarify that non-comedogenic makeup does not treat or cure acne, but only refrains from clogging pores and leading to subsequent breakouts.

When a makeup product features a ‘non-comedogenic’ label, it refers to makeup not containing certain ingredients that clog pores and lead to acne

In order to lessen the occurrence of spots, it is essential to cleanse skin before sleeping, to exfoliate gently and treat skin with products specifically formulated for acne-prone skin.

In addition, for those with acne or breakout prone skin, it’s a good idea to choose a moisturizer that is oil-free, lightweight and thin in consistency. It should be absorbed quickly upon application, and contain water-binding and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

Your cleanser should be pore-clearing and deep-cleaning, and contain salicylic and glycolic acid, which help control acne. And finally, choose non-comedogenic sunscreen, which is non-greasy and easily absorbed by skin.

[1] Chularojanamontri, L. et al,'Moisturizers for Acne: What are their Constituents?' in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 7.5 (2014) pp. 36-44 [Accessible at:]
[2] PubMed Health Glossary (Source: NIH - National Library of Medicine). Acessible at:
[3] Kraft, J, et al, 'Management of acne' in CMAJ 183.7 (2011) pp. 430-435 [Accessible at:]

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