What Are You Wearing | Comedogenic Ratings

Finally it is time to start my series. If you missed the intro please CLICK HERE. As promised we are starting with some vocab you are going to hear throughout this series.The first topic of the series:

Comedogenic Ratings

Comedogenic is the term that says an ingredient or a product can possibly clog your pores thus inducing or futher aggravating acne (blackheads).

0- Completely Non-Comedogenic

1 – Slightly Comedogenic

2-3 – Moderately Comedogenic

4-5 – Severly Comedogenic

Technically I could stop here and originally I was going to but then I started noticing a lot of conflicting statements about the comedogenicity of ingredients. This started making me wonder if there was any validity or just another ploy to get me to spend my money a specific way. So I started digging: (Please view all my sources below)

As  most of you know a lot of testing for products we use on own skin (before cruelty free brands became so popular) were tested on animals. The comedogenic test also follows this trend in that it was tested on rabbits. In the 1970s dermatologists Albert Kligman and james Fulton started testing products on the inner ear of rabbits. Why rabbits you may ask? Well the skin in a rabbits ear is way more sensitive than human skin which means if there is a reaction it will happen much sooner. The reason this test and the scale are being question is because this test gave a lot of false positives and brought up a lot of other concerns.

One thing that caused issues was that a rabbit’s ear naturally has large pores and in some of the test this particular fact was noted as acne in the results which was not true. Another issue is that because rabbit skin and human skin are so very different, what may harm a rabbit’s skin may not harm human skin at all. So why don’t we just test it on ourselves? We tried….

Tests that were done on humans weren’t done on their faces, but on the skin on their back. I don’t think I have to explain in massive detail why that doesn’t make sense. Just incase you need a reason, our facial skin is exposed to the elements and have more hair follicles that the skin on our back. The tests were also only completed on people who have naturally larger pores (acne proned) thus negating all the other different skin types that could be affected by a product or ingredient.

All the test for the scale have no real life application and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.  All comedogneic ingredients DO NOT make comedognic products. For me I have been using the scale as a way to possible narrow down the things that could be causing my adult acne. For you it could mean that you are paying more attention to ingredients before you buy them (especially for those with senstive skin). Even if a product is a 0 or a 5 on this scale it is always wise to patch test before you try any new product.


Lab Muffin Blog

Beautiful with Brains Blog

Colin’s Beauty Page Blog


Skin Inc

Beauty Magazine

AM Kligman, Petrolatum is not comedogenic in rabbits or humans: A critical reappraisal of the rabbit ear assay and the concept of “acne cosmetica”J Soc Cosmet Chem 199647, 41-48.

ZD Draelos and JC DiNardo, A re-evaluation of the comedogenicity conceptJ Am Acad Dermatol 200654, 507-512.

P Mirshahpanah and HI Maibach, Models in acnegesisCutan Ocul Toxicol 200726, 195-202.

JE Fulton, Comedogenicity and irritancy of commonly used ingredients in skin care productsJ Soc Cosmet Chem 198940, 321-333.

WE Morris and SC Kwan, Use of the rabbit ear model in evaluating the comedogenic potential of cosmetic ingredientsJ Soc Cosmet Chem 198334, 215-225.


  1. This is just information that I have found myself while researching and therefore it is not my own information. I will leave links to all the original files and even other bloggers who dove into this before me. I am not an expert but I want to share what I have found.
  2. At no point during this series should you take the information given as the GOLDEN STANDARD. Listen to your own body and do what is working best for you. So if you find out a product has a chemical that does not work for me and your skin is fine…KEEP IT
  3. Always feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions
  4. A dermatologist is a great source of information

3 thoughts on “What Are You Wearing | Comedogenic Ratings

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