It makes sense to assume that the best way to keep our skin moisturised is to cover it in butters and oils. Although this may feel great and look even better in the moment (cue glowy selfies standing in sunlight), it’s vital to understand the long-term effects that some of these ingredients can have on our skin. Certain oils clog our pores (often leading to comedones) which can trigger acne. These comedones can present themselves as blackheads, whiteheads, or skin-tone coloured bumps.

Oils that have a pore-clogging effect on the skin are typically referred to as comedogenic, and misuse of them can lead to skincare disasters – especially if you have an oily skin type. If oils don’t have a clogging effect, they are non-comedogenic. No definitive data or correlations have been discovered to determine whether an ingredient will clog your pores or not, so what we do know is largely based on what the majority of the population experiences. 

Luckily, scientists have created a scale and rated different ingredients to help us navigate the data that they do have.

The Comedogenic Scale

0: will not clog pores

1: has a very low likelihood of clogging pores

2: has a moderately low likelihood of clogging pores

3: has a moderate likelihood of clogging pores

4: has a reasonably high likelihood of clogging pores

5: has the highest likelihood of clogging pores

Non-comedogenic oils are excellent for your skin and some even have anti-inflammatory properties. They may also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. Here are some of our faves:

Squalane

Squalane has a very similar chemical structure to our skin’s natural oils. Because of the structural similarities, the skin recognises squalane as a naturally occurring oil and therefore can produce less on its own. This oil-balancing effect makes this a perfect emollient for oily skin types.

Sunflower seed oil

This natural oil is light and thin in texture, making it a comfortable, non-greasy alternative to many other oils. It is high in beta-carotene, vitamin E, and fatty acid and is great for skin barrier repair.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil

Prickly Pear Seed Oil is an excellent oil for shrinking the appearance pores and tightening the skin. This oil is highly moisturising and leaves the skin feeling soft and velvety. Over time this powerful oil can help restore elasticity and slow the signs of ageing. It’s brightening, anti-inflammatory, and highly nourishing.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Not only does Red Raspberry Seed Oil have a low chance of clogging your pores, it absorbs well, has a high antioxidant content, and moisturises the skin.

There are so many other non-comedogenic oils to explore, and YES, you should be trying to include some of these oils in your routine if you need to incorporate some extra moisturising factors!