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What Is Noncomedogenic?

Many beauty and skin care products are labeled as “noncomedogenic” or similarly “non-occlusive.” In layman’s terms this simply means that the product won’t clog pores, and hence, there is a lower risk of developing pimples and acne.

The term is impressive and certainly cosmetic companies use it as a marketing ploy to create the aura of being scientific. Ironically, though, no noncomedogenic claim has been tested or proven by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).

However, there are a lot of experiential or anecdotal evidence—testimonials of customers or skln experts who know, first-hand, that blocked pores have a greater tendency to cause acne and pimples. This is especially true if the person is acne-prone to begin with, and greater care must be made not to exacerbate the situation. Using products that can cause clogging is the equivalent of rubbing salt into the wound, or in this case, dirt into the pores.

Note, however, that clogged pores are not the only cause of acne. Skin outbreaks can be caused by bacteria such as the streptococcus; in this case a noncomedogenic product is powerless.

Furthermore, anoncomedogenic product is not necessarily gentler on the skin. It may not clog the pores, but it can trigger a skin rash or irritation, especially if it contains retinol (a concentrated form on Vitamin A). A high content of citric or salicylic acid can also aggravate existing acne since it causes redness or itchiness. Dermatologists recommend stopping use of any product that case irritation.

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