Non-comedogenic cosmetics are products which have been tested on
the oily skins of human volunteers, or inside rabbit ears. These
products are less likely to cause blackheads (open comedones) or
whiteheads (closed comedones) in patients.
However, no single product is non-comedogenic
For example, a person with very oily skin may still get "skin
breakouts" from products that another person with mildly oily
skin may find non-comedogenic. A better term may be non-acnegenic
rather than non-comedogenic, but this is not so widely used.
It is important to test a new product
on your own skin rather than rely on the label, before using it
There are moisturizers labelled oil-free
which have a very thin consistency.
Examples of these are Nutraderm and Colladerm.
These have been tested in old animal models and have been proven
to be oil-free. Most people who are acne-prone or who have oily
skin do not even need these products.
There are moisturizers labelled non-comedogenic
which are usually thicker than the oil-free products. These may
be suitable when the ambient humidity is dry. When the patient is
exercising or if the air is hot an humid, these moisturizers may
There are some products, which are suitable
for oily skin. Most liquid cleansers are not as helpful for oily
skin as bar soaps or synthetic detergents. Some deodorant soaps
or cleansers may be helpful for oily skin. Care must be taken not
to over-dry the skin with a strong cleanser for fear that the skin
will re-bound with extra oil. Often a good gentle face bar soap,
(e.g. Neutrogena bar, Dove, OilofOlay) gentle cleansers such as
Cetaphillotion, or Aquanil cleanser will be more likely to allow
for patient satisfaction.
When the patient actually has acne and
not just oily skin, many acne cleansers are available. Neutrogena,
Clinique, Medicis, Aveeno, and many other companies have cleansers
made specifically for acne. There are benzoyl peroxide cleansers
in the form of 5 and 10 % bar soaps and liquid cleansers, which
are very effective in controlling acne breakouts.
Foundations for acne-prone skin are often formulated to be like
a shake lotion - the color contents settle on the bottom while the
opaque or clear solution is on the top. The bottle is shaken before
the foundation is applied. These are the least elegant oil-free
cosmetics. Most foundations remain mixed together but are not heavy
or thick. It is not necessary to have poor coverage in foundations
for oily or acne-prone skin. Titanium dioxide is the ingredient
which allows for better coverage, and that ingredient is not oily.
Varying amounts of starch and kaolin will thicken up the products
without causing acne.
For patients who actually have acne-prone
skin, the addition of 1-2% salicylic acid may be partially therapeutic.
For patients who need a blotter for the excess oil in their skin,
extra amounts of starch, kaolin, and polymers which absorb sebum
may be added.
The active ingredients of sunscreens (UVB
blockers such as Cinnamates, Octocrylene, Salicylates), and UVA
blockers such as Benzophenones, Parsol 1789 (avobenzone), micronized
zinc or titanium dioxide, are not themselves comedogenic. These
ingredients can be incorporated into foundations, non-comedogenic
moisturizers, and oil-free bases. The least comedogenic sunscreens
are usually formulated into gel formulations. ( e.g. Presun Ultra
SPF 30 Gel, or Shade 30 Gel)