What is a comedogenic rating? And why should you care!

Understanding different oils, butters and waxes when it comes to skincare products is pretty much essential when you need to know which are suitable for your skin type. There are so many natural ingredients available to consumers now a days this area can seem like a mine field! Which oils should I use? Which should I avoid? Can any particular oils be used to help with specific skin issues?

Comedogenic scale for skin care

What is the Comedogenic scale?

Oils, butters and waxes can be rated in relation to how likely they are to clog pores. This scale goes from 0 to 5. 0 meaning that the ingredient won't clog pores at all and 5 meaning that this ingredient will be very likely to clog pores. The scale ranking looks like this:

0 = won't clog pores 

1 = highly unlikely to clog pores

2 = Moderately low likely hood of clogging pores

3 = Moderately likely to clog pores

4 = Fairly likely to clog pores

5 = Highly likely to clog pores

With this information and armed with your skin type and whether you suffer with clogged pores or acne, you will be better equipped to understand what different skincare ingredients are more suited to your skin.

Those with acne, black heads or very clogged pores should avoid oils or butters with high ranking on the comedogenic scale. However, if you suffer with dry skin perhaps these higher ranking oils or butters would work as an emollient to seal in moisture. 

Using the comedogenic scale

When you know what ranking a butter or oil has it would appear very simple to make a choice based on this scale. However, like most things in life there are other factors we need to consider along with the comedogenic ranking. 

For example Coconut oil has a ranking of 4 meaning it may not be the best ingredient if you suffer from acne or breakouts. However, it is high in lauric acid which helps to kill bacteria which causes acne. It also has amazing moisturising qualities which can help with scarring which may occur with acne.

Coconut oil for dry, sensitive and mature skin is perfect. It works as a moisturiser, emollient and is an amazing cleansing oil.

So, armed with this information you might be forgiven to deciding that coconut oil isn't for you if you get breakouts. However, if you use products with coconut oil which aren't leave on like moisturisers or leave on balms coconut oil can be very nourishing for acne prone skin. Cleansing balms which contain coconut oil work with your acne to soothe your skin as you cleanse and since these balms are wash off the coconut oil isn't left on for a long period.

In-depth scale examples

Rating 0


Argan Oil

Hemp Oil

Shea Butter

Camelia Oil

Sunflower Oil

Safflower Oil

Rating 1

Grapeseed Oil

Calendula Oil

Rosehip Seed Oil

Sea Buckthorn Oil

Babbasu Oil

Emu Oil

Rating 2

Almond Oil

Apricot Kernal Oil

Evening Primrose Oil

Olive Oil

Jojoba Oil

Sesame Oil 

Rating 3

Avocado Oil

Soybean Oil

Carrot Seed Oil 

Cotton Seed Oil

Date Seed Oil

Rating 4-5 

Marula Oil 

Cocoa Butter

Coconut Butter

Coconut Oil 

Cupuacu Butter

Palm Kernal Oil

Wheat Germ Oil

How can you use this scale for your skin type?

Even with this limited list of oils and butters you can see how combinations of these ingredients may suit some skin types and not others. Also, you need to ask if the product is leave on or rinse off. When we are formulating it is one of many ways that we use to determine what skin types best suit what we are formulating and where possible, we try to make products suitable for all.

If you have any questions or comments we love to hear from you! Leave us a message below.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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