Question for the dermatologists: comedogenic?

I make soap at home, and I also have a problem with acne. I was thinking about making a bar for acne-prone skin, and I knew I’d heard that some ingredients were supposedly more “comedogenic” than others, so I did a little Web search to see what I could see.

Yikes! There is a crapload of conflicting information out there. Some sites provide a detailed list of ingredients rating each one on a scale of 0 to 5 as to how comedogenic they are. Some sites say that “comedogenic” doesn’t mean anything, and that it’s just a way to sell more cosmetics. Some sites say that yes, some ingredients are more likely to cause acne breakouts, but it all depends on the combination and proportion you use.

Help? Are some ingredients really more “comedogenic” than others? Is “comedogenic” even a medical term or is it something the cosmetics companies made up? If I’m making soap designed for acne-prone skin, what should I really be avoiding, or does it even matter?

Thanks for any help.

I have a medical dictionary here that does, in fact, have the word “comedogenic” in it, with the definition being what you would expect: “producing comedones.” From doing a quick Google search for “comedogenicity”, I’d say it looks like there really is at least one scientific test for it, involving rabbits, but the vast majority of hits are from cosmetic company websites. There are a few that are from university websites, though, and you might be able to get some reliable information from those.

See a skin doctor. There are so many new medications & treatment that its worth the hundred bucks it costs to see one when you realize how few scars youll have later.

Did you see the following article: J Am Acad Dermatol 1984 Jan;10(1):96-105 “Comedogenicity of current therapeutic products, cosmetics, and ingredients in the rabbit ear” by Fulton JE, Pay SR, Fulton JE?

The abstract can be found at:

If you go to the abstract and click on “related articles” you will find a boatload of interesting titles.