Glam Glossary: Noncomedogenic

noncomedogenic kineraseThere are so many beauty terms that it can make your head spin. Confused as to what it all means? Our Glam Glossary will help you sort it all out. Follow Allison each week in her quest to decode popular beauty terms, from Alpha Hydroxy Acids to Zinc Oxide.


What it means: The FDA’s Consumer Updates page quotes when saying “if you use skin products, such as lotions or makeup, look for ones that are noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic , which means they don’t clog pores” when looking to keep acne in check. It does not, however, advertise any regulation as to the terms that a noncomedogenic product must abide by – does this sound like hypoallergenic all over again? Yes, yes it does.

What you should know: Comedomes are whiteheads and blackheads; a product claiming to be noncomedogenic, therefore, insinuates that it is less likely to create either of these conditions. To be fair, it may or may not be true… to find out, you’ll need to read the list of ingredients. While not all ingredients will work their magic on every single skin condition, there are words and phrases to look for in any acne-friendly product:

noncomedogenic baby cream

  • Oil free: Products that are oil free are less likely to irritate oily skin. Oil free moisturizers hydrate skin while tending not to cause breakouts. However, this depends on what kind of oil is used. Cocoa butter and coconut oil, for example, are very likely to clog pores. Almond oil, apricot kernel oil and avocado oil, however, are not.
  • BHA: Beta hydroxy acid, while close in relation to alpha hydroxy acids, is special. For one thing, there is only one of them — our beloved salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is commonly used to treat acne because of its unique ability to penetrate pores and exfoliate the build up inside.

Photos: Kinerase, Nature’s First-Aid