Does Anyone Really Know What Comedogenic is? Here's Why the Answer is No

What does the word “comedogenic” mean? Comedo is the technical term for acne, which is created from dead skin cells and sebum overproduction. Therefore, comedogenic refers to the likelihood of an ingredient causing comedo, or acne. Most of you have heard this term from your dermatologists or from traditional skincare products like Cetaphil, Olay, etc.

But here’s some interesting background on the term we bet you didn’t know:

1) Neither the FDA nor any other independent organization in the world verifies “non-comedogenic” claims on personal care products
2) No standardized tests exist that objectively determine if an ingredient or product is comedogenic
3) Any product (literally, ANY) could slap the term “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores” on its label, and no one would be there to verify it

Interesting, huh? So why is there not a third party that can verify these non-comedogenic claims?

Well, because there is no reliable or known test that could tell you with certainty that an ingredient will or will not clog your pores. After all, what may cause acne for me may not cause acne for you.

Our skin health is highly individualistic and dependent on a number of biological and lifestyle factors.

There is no way, no how, any skincare manufacture could tell you that their product is 100% not going to cause acne. Any product that does this is purely making a claim – and that’s all it is……a claim! These are probably the same companies that have been telling consumers to stay away from oils and instead use man-made ingredients for decades. 

Here at cocokind, we know that skincare is a factor of a complete lifestyle. Aside from what you’re actually applying on your skin, stress, hormones (and when your menstrual cycle is), diet, makeup, etc. can all contribute to blackheads and acne. Therefore, it’s impossible to isolate causes for acne, let alone do it across an entire population of human beings!

So let’s talk about coconut oil……

People often ask us if coconut oil will clog pores because they have heard it is high on the “comedogenic scale”. Now that you know what we know, you probably understand why we cringe when we hear this. There is simply no universal scale for ingredients that cause or don’t cause acne, and there will never be!

As the founder and creator of cocokind, I never make blanket statements that our products will not clog your pores. I wouldn’t be able to do that in good conscious. All I do is talk about my experience or relay our many, many customer testimonials.

As someone who has suffered from severe hormonal acne my entire life, I started using coconut oil almost seven years ago and it has been the primary savior for my skin. My skincare blends using coconut oil and other nature-made ingredients have saved my body from having to take dermatologist-recommended daily antibiotics and Spironolactone pills. It does not clog my pores, and it helps my skin recover when I still do get hormonal breakouts. It also helps heal my acne scars more quickly than any strength of retinoid out there (trust me, I’ve tried it all).

Tried and tested for seven years and counting, I know that organic, virgin coconut oil is not “comedogenic” for ME.

Importantly, I know my skin well enough to know when I should be using which products. On the week before my menstrual cycle (my highest risk time for cystic breakouts), I’m extra careful. For my morning cleanser, I’ll use the Sea Moss Exfoliator and Rosewater Toner instead of our cleansing oil. At night, I’ll swap out my typical Matcha Face Moisturizer for a light sweep of our Facial Repair Serum, or I’ll just use the Cleansing Oil with no follow-up moisturizer.

If you are nervous about coconut oil or oils generally, I recommend starting with our Organic Facial Repair Serum at night. This product contains organic virgin coconut oil, organic virgin avocado oil, and organic virgin rosehip oil. It absorbs super quickly, deeply moisturizes, and helps repair texture and tone issues. Most people fall in love with this product instantly, and subsequently introduce our other products into their routine. We have a 30-day money back guarantee (as do all of our stockists) if things don’t work out.

Beyond cocokind, I mostly hope you understand and love that your skin is unique. Nobody can guarantee what will or won’t work for you. Certainly, the man-made word, “non-comedogenic,” won’t guarantee it either.

You can always email me at priscilla@cocokind.com for personal skincare routine recommendations, as I have sent so many of you already!

-Priscilla