Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rupali Goswami (Beauty Expert)  on 17th Dec 2020

What do we mean by a non-comedogenic moisturizer? 

What do we mean by a non-comedogenic moisturizer

Many of us are always trying to look for topical treatments to avoid clogged pores but repeatedly treat the same issue. Dealing with pores can be tricky as many of the products that we use on our faces contain a formula that can promote excessive oiliness on the skin resulting in clogged pores. Clogged pores can host so many skin concerns, including acne, bumpy texture, uneven skin tone, you name it. There are ongoing skin issues that clogged pores can cause.

Sometimes dead skin gets stuck inside our pores and results in clogged pores along with your natural oils, dirt, and other factors contributing to it. Due to this, our pores appear much more extensive than they are. Non-comedogenic formulas can be used to prevent skin issues like breakouts, whiteheads, blackheads, and many others.

If you have closely looked at your skincare products' packaging, you must have come across the term non-comedogenic printed on the label. Let's discuss it more. Here's an overview of what non-comedogenic means, how it can benefit your skin, and why you need to incorporate products with non-comedogenic formulas in your skincare routine

What is non-comedogenic? 

The term might be most commonly used in the cosmetic world and sounds a bit technical, but if it were to put in simple words, it indicates that the certain product is free from the formula that might contribute to clogging your pores. In technical terms, a comedo is a form of pimple that results in mild acne on the skin and is also used to describe a clogged or blocked pore.

Suppose you have oily, combination, sensitive, or acne-prone skin. In that case, you should think about introducing a product with a non-comedogenic formula in your skincare routine to retain glowing and clear skin.

Some moisturizers can be too heavy for people with oily or acne-prone skin and will ultimately cause blockage in your pores leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and acne. Such skin type can maintain hydration without sacrificing clear skin by choosing a non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Moisturizers, in general, can solve so many skin problems resulting from dryness to oiliness. Both of the extremes can be harmful to your skin and can cause acne. Everyday use of a moisturizer will conceal blemishes that may be the result of acne.

Non-comedogenic moisturizers are generally oil-free and water-based, specially formulated to sink deeper into your skin and dissolve excess oil in the hair follicles. These moisturizers take off any dead skin cells from the surface of the skin without blocking your pores or causing breakouts. The non-comedogenic formula may not necessarily prevent acne but can indeed reduce the causes and effects of acne. 

Benefits of a non-comedogenic moisturizer: 

While most of the ingredients in skincare products are well tested, observed, and claim to be safe, the same products can have different reactions as per different skin types.  

1. Clearer pores: 

As we mentioned earlier, blocked pores can cause acne, blemishes, uneven skin tone, and many other skin issues. Using a non-comedogenic moisturizer can help your skin feel fresh, clean, and shiny by completely penetrating deeper into the skin layers without leaving any greasy feeling. A non-comedogenic moisturizer can also help remove dead skin cells from the skin's surface layer to avoid getting stuck into your pores and further causing any skin issues.

2. Manages excessive oiliness: 

Because the non-comedogenic formula is known for not clogging your pores, they are appropriate for various skin types ranging from dry to oily skin. It helps seal the moisture inside the skin without increasing breakouts.

Also, many face carrier oils can do the job of providing an ample amount of hydration to the skin without irritating or blocking your pores. Oils like argan, rosehip, hazelnut, and others are just the ones that won't clog your pores but provide your skin with the essential hydration that it needs. Along with the hydration bit, face oils can also help you deal with other issues like fine lines, wrinkles, acne and improve skin barrier functions. 

3. Doesn't strip skin's natural moisture: 

Products with non-comedogenic formula are generally oil-free, which means it breaks down excessive oil on your skin but does not strip away necessary moisture and nutrients that your skin needs. Moisturizers formulated with non-comedogenic ingredients are non-greasy, rich in the formula, and fast-absorbing, ensuring that the moisture stays in and lasts for the whole day.  

4. Lightweight formula: 

Non-comedogenic moisturizers are oil-free, gentle, and have a water-based formula that is not too heavy on the skin and are best suited for people with oily, combination, sensitive, or acne-prone skin due to its light texture. A non-comedogenic formula does not guarantee that you will never break out again, but it will reduce acne nonetheless.

5. Fragrance-free: 

The non-comedogenic products are fragrance-free to ensure your skin is free from volatile reactions, which can make your skin concerns worse, causing sensitivity, irritation, and redness on your skin. Fragrance-free formulas have no scented additives that are added in most products to change the scent. However, a fragrance-free product can still contain some smell owing to its natural properties.  

6. Packed with nourishing ingredients:

Many healthy ingredients deliver topical skincare benefits. Nourishing ingredients help the skin remain soft, supple, and shiny. Some moisturizers are packed with non-comedogenic ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol. Some other non-comedogenic ingredients are on the natural side, like sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, neem oil, and sweet almond oil. All of these ingredients do not clog pores while providing nourishing benefits to the skin. 

7. Well suited for combination, oily, or sensitive skin:

People with normal, oily, and acne-prone skin will benefit most from non-comedogenic products. These skin types are generally more vulnerable to getting clogged pores with any heavy skincare products. They attract more dirt or dust due to the oiliness, and a non-comedogenic formula will ensure that won't happen.  

8. Fewer skin problems: 

With open pores and excessive oil accumulation, there are high chances of developing so many skin problems like bacterial infections, pimples, blackheads, blemishes, etc. Non-comedogenic skincare products will help reduce the chances of developing these skin problems by decreasing the oil accumulation in your open pores.

How to choose non-comedogenic products? 

It is always better to stick to non-comedogenic products to avoid several skin issues. While buying products, be on the lookout for some comedogenic ingredients and choose the non-greasy and lightweight products.  

1. Moisturizers: 

Look for products that are labeled as lightweight or oil-free. The formula should be of thin consistency but substantial enough. Once you apply the product, it should be absorbed quickly into the skin and not feel greasy or oily on its surface. Go for products that contain soothing ingredients and water-binding agents like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5

₹ 595
A hydrating booster with a punch of Vitamin B5 that pulls moisture deep into the skin & lock-in there, leaving instant plump, baby-soft skin.
View details

The correct moisturizer would be formulated to reduce irritation, redness, and greasiness but hydrate your skin well. The powerful blend of ingredients in a moisturizer is significant due to antioxidants that help protect and nourish your skin. If a moisturizer contains plant extracts, then it would help promote healing while decreasing melanocyte activity. 

Sepicalm 3% + Oat Moisturizer
Sepicalm 3% + Oat Moisturizer

Sepicalm 3% + Oat Moisturizer

₹ 345
Skin soothing, light moisturization
View details

2. Cleansers: 

Daily cleansers should clear pores and contain ingredients known for deep-cleaning, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid, that help control acne. These ingredients remove oils and dirt without blocking your pores or disturbing the natural moisture of your face. Cleansers containing aloe vera extract are beneficial for the skin to soothe redness and irritation. 

3. Sunscreens: 

Sunscreens are usually on the heavier side. It is essential to use a sunblock that absorbs quickly into the skin and has a non-greasy formula. It is also essential to wash away the old sunblock that you have applied to your face to avoid acne formation. A non-comedogenic sunscreen may contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which acts as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun's ultraviolet rays. 

Pay attention to these ingredients while choosing non-comedogenic products. 

Acids, exfoliants, and others: 

Granactive Retinoid 2% (Emulsion)
Granactive Retinoid 2% (Emulsion)

Granactive Retinoid 2% (Emulsion)

₹ 695
Turn back the clock on aging and give your skin a youthful vibrancy with this gentle, safe & effective 2% Retinoid serum.
View details

Oils that can clog pores: 

  • Avocado oil 
  • Jojoba oil 
  • Petrolatum 
  • Olive oil 

This is not the same for everyone as we all have different skin types, so it depends totally on that. Yes! These oils can be heavy on the skin but contain beneficial properties when used on a suitable skin type. 

Conclusion: 

In simple words, a non-comedogenic formula means it won't clog pores. A comedogenic formula is not necessarily bad for your skin, but it might not do anything at all for your skin. Someone with dry skin usually prefers a comedogenic formula because it is not prone to acne. On the other hand, a comedogenic formula might not be the best choice for oily skin as it tends to break out easily.

Everyone has a different skin type. If you have a combo/combination or oily skin prone to acne, then incorporating non-comedogenic products in your routine can improve your skin's overall health.

People with oily skin generally believe that they don't need a moisturizer to hydrate their skin as there is a lot of oil. But that's not the case. A moisturizer is a crucial step whether you have dry, oily, or sensitive skin. Your skin needs hydration at all costs, all the time, to maintain healthy skin.

Researching beforehand about the ingredients is always a better way to avoid any confusion and complications. As there is an endless number of ingredients, you might want to learn and see what works for you. You can always turn to your dermatologist for better advice and suggestions.