When formulating compounds for topical application to the face and neck, especially for acne rosacea and acne vulgaris patients, special attention should be placed on designing products that are that are formulated to help reduce potential blockage of visible pores or ‘non-comedogenic.’ The more comedogenic a substance, the more likely it is to form a comedo, or clogged hair follicle in the skin. Comedos occur when keratin and oil combine and block the follicle. Some additives and ingredients are more comedogenic than others, which can perpetuate the formation of comedones.
High priority should be placed on formulating products that use low-comedogenic ingredients and thus, have less potential to exacerbate a case of acne or other skin eruption. The following tables provide a list of various chemicals used as ingredients in creams, lotions, gels, and liquids intended for topical use and their comedogenic probability. Comedogenicity of the chemicals listed was determined by studies performed on rabbit ears or human subjects using the chemical at a 10% concentration in Propylene Glycol.
Keep in mind that chemicals listed as“moderate”or“high”may not necessarily cause acne on all skin types or even at small concentrations on acne prone skin.
Finding the safest and most effective products for your skin does not have to be difficult. Double-check your current cosmetic products and their ingredients to see if you may need to upgrade to non-comedogenic alternatives. Our pharmacy team is here to discuss how compounding may address any skincare challenges you have.


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If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Innovation Compounding at 1-800-547-1399, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, excluding all major holidays.

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Monday 9AM – 6PM
Tuesday 9AM – 6PM
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Friday 9AM – 5PM
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  1. Fulton, JE. Comedogenicity and Irritancy of Commonly Used Ingredients in Skin Care Products. J Soc Cosmet Chem. 1989; 40:321-333
  2. Comedogenic Effects of Cosmetic Raw Materials. BeautyMag Online website. Available at http://www.beautymagonline.com/pages/comedogenic_effects_of_cosmetic_.htm Accessed Feb 18, 2009

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