Top 5 Pore Clogging Ingredients to Avoid

January 13, 2017 2 min read 0 Comments

By: Molly

As an acne sufferer, I am always wary when shopping for new facial products. I’ll spend hours in the skincare section at Target, poring over the labels of various cleansers (yes, I am that weirdo that reads every single ingredient). The reason is simple - one wrong ingredient can cause a breakout or worsen existing breakouts. To avoid this, it’s important to research what ingredients will - and won’t - clog pores.

The first and easiest step is to look for the label “non-comedogenic” on the front of a product. You might see this label in conjunction with terms like “hypoallergenic” (less likely to cause an allergic reaction), “fragrance-free” (containing no synthetic fragrances or perfume), or “paraben-free” (containing no chemical preservatives). Non-comedogenic means that the product will not clog pores. This is very important for people with acne, particularly those with oily skin. Clogged pores can lead to inflammation, rashes, and breakouts, which can ultimately cause scarring.

Now, if a product does not have a non-comedogenic label, things get a little tricky. All hope is not lost - you can simply skim the ingredient list for problematic items. To make your job easier, here’s a list of the top five comedogenic ingredients to avoid.

  • Coconut Oil

This was a shock to me, mainly because of how many people swear by coconut oil as a natural alternative to face wash. Don’t be fooled: Coconut oil is one of the worst pore-cloggers around. 

  • Cocoa Butter 
Similarly praised for its natural derivatives, cocoa butter ranks high on the comedogenic scale. Consider substituting in products with shea butter (which is completely non-comedogenic); for oily skin, try argan oil.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS, is a foaming agent widely found in facial cleansers. Its pore-clogging properties aren’t the only reason to steer clear - SLS has been linked to cancer, tissue damage and pollution (it’s also a common ingredient in pesticides, car wash soaps, and floor-cleaning soaps … yikes).
  • Potassium Chloride
Potassium chloride is classified as a mineral thickening agent. As a general rule, people with moderate to severe acne should avoid products that contain mineral oil or have “mineral” in the title (Mineral Foundation, Mineral Blush, etc).
  • Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is one of the absolute worst offenders when it comes to clogging pores, which just goes to show that natural is not always best.

Other ingredients to avoid: Algae extract, carrageenan, hexadecyl alcohol, isocetyl stearate, isopropyl linoleate, isopropyl myristate, linseed oil, octyl stearate, palm oil and sesame oil.