What Does Non-Comedogenic Mean?

Deciphering the lingo on skincare products can be confusing, but understanding a few simple terms can make all the difference. One such phrase you may have come across is non-comedogenic, but what does it actually mean? Simply put, a comedo is a blocked pore, and comedones refer to blocked pores. There are two types of comedones that you may be familiar with — open comedones, or blackheads, and closed comedones, also known as whiteheads. [1] Essentially, a product that is labelled as non-comedogenic has been formulated with specific ingredients that are less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. While non-comedogenic products are suitable for all skin types, they’re ideal for people with oily complexions that are prone to breakouts, congestion, and acne.


The simplest way to know whether a product is considered non-comedogenic is to check the label. If it reads non-comedogenic, or says that it won’t block pores, then you can be fairly sure that it’s unlikely to cause breakouts.

What ingredients are non-comedogenic?

As is the case with many things in life, different people’s skin often reacts differently to certain ingredients and products. In saying that, there are a few common ingredients that are great for treating breakout-prone complexions and are often included in non-comedogenic products. Benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, and sulphur are all known to be beneficial for skin with breakouts.[2] A common misconception about non-comedogenic products is that they are oil-free, however, this is not always the case. Adequate hydration is essential for all skin types, and many oils are beneficial for the skin, even for those who tend to be a little more on the oily side. Sunflower, neem, hempseed, and grapeseed oil are ideal for hydrating your skin without causing congestion or contributing to excess oil.

What ingredients are comedogenic?

Isopropyl myristate, isopropyl palmitate and ethylhexyl palmitate are often considered to be ingredients that can be comedogenic and should be avoided. [3] As a rule, ingredient lists must be listed from highest to lowest concentrations, so generally if these comedogenic compounds are not in the first seven ingredients, you should be safe. Unless you’re familiar with the ingredients that make up your skincare products, we suggest it’s safest to stay on the lookout for products that are labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’ or say that they won’t block pores. The only way to be truly confident of which products work for your skin is to do a patch test before including them into your routine.

Incorporating non-comedogenic products into your skincare routine

Getting started with your skincare routine can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task at times, but with a few simple steps you can have your regime perfected in no time. Non-comedogenic products can be easily incorporated into your regular skincare routine. Starting simply with a good cleanser, a hydrating moisturiser, and some form of UV protection is the foundation to flawless skin. The Cetaphil range includes a wide variety of products that are non-comedogenic and won’t block your pores.


Start by cleansing your skin with the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. This cleanser has been specifically formulated to not block pores, and also doubles as a face and body cleanser if you also suffer from body breakouts. Alternatively, if you’re in a rush the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Wipes are a great alternative to quickly cleanse your skin by removing excess oil and makeup.


A common mistake that many people with oily complexions make is to skip moisturising altogether for fear of creating excessively oily skin. Depriving the skin of adequate hydration can lead to the overproduction of oil [4]. While moisturising is important for all skin types, depending on your complexion you may want to opt for a product that’s lightweight. In the AM, combine hydration with UV protection by using the Cetaphil UVA/UVB Defence SPF50+. If you’re looking for a product that can be used on the face and body, then the Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion is ideal. The Cetaphil Face Rich Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid can make a great alternative if you want to switch up your routine at night. This lightweight formula is extra nourishing and paired with the Cetaphil Face Hydrating Eye Cream-Serum with Hyaluronic Acid provides an extra burst of moisture to hydrate your delicate eye area overnight. 


Unfortunately, you won’t see results overnight. So if it’s your first time using a skincare routine, or you’ve incorporated new products into your existing regime then you’ll need to give them between four to six weeks before seeing any noticeable changes. Hang in there, all good things are worth the wait!