What are comedogenic ingredients, and can we make clearskincare?
What are comedogenic ingredients? Can we make #clearskincare?
Comedogenicity is the level of pore clogging that an ingredient has been tested to have. The scale goes from 1-5. 1 and 2 being mostly not pore clogging, 3 questionable, 4 and 5 super pore clogging. Unfortunately when a skincare or beauty product is labeled as "non-comedogenic" it honestly could mean anything, and is no more than marketing lingo. There is no agency that tests this claim on a label, and the FDA doesn't look into it. So pretty much anyone can say their product is "non-comedogenic" no matter what is in it.
History of the comedogenic scale
The history of testing for comedogenicity is unfortunately filled with horrible racism, human rights and animal abuses. But, this does not mean the comedogenic scale is not accurate or useless. Studies began by Dr. Albert Kligman who is the dermatologist responsible for co-creating Retin-A in the 1950s. While he was a pioneer in the field of dermatology and in the treatment of acne and photo-aging, he didn't accomplish his studies without controversy in his methods.
From 1951-1974 the mostly black prisoners of Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia were "paid" to be subjected to tests by various companies and research groups including Dr. Kligman. They were exposed to pathogens responsible for infections like Staph, Foot Fungus and poison ivy. Prisoners with large pores on their backs had a strip on their backs where they were tested for ingredients comedogenicity. These tests finally led to federal human testing reforms and comedogenic studies were moved to rabbit ears which mimic the sensitivity and pores of human skin which continue until today.
While we at Meta do not condone or want to glorify this history in anyway, we do want to educate you, the public on it and be forth-coming. We also do not condone or perform animal testing on the creation of any of our products. I'll do another blog about that later.
Why comedogenicity matters though
Here is the issue. The reason why people like me and some other similarly trained estheticians are extremely successful in the treatment of acne where most dermatologists and acne skincare companies fail at it long term is for one reason: We do not treat acne as a bacterial condition. Yes that's right, acne is not an infection that can be treated with antibiotics and just go away forever. the overgrowth of p.acne bacteria is a SIDE EFFECT not the cause of acne. EVERYONE has p.acne bacteria on their skin. It is a natural factor of our skins natural microbiome.
The true cause of acne is something called "retention hyper-keratosis" which means there's too many cells shedding in the deep lining of the pores and follicles. People with acne have a genetic predisposition to triggers from the environment, products, hormones, foods or anything triggering inflammation in the pores to over shed cells in the lining of their pores faster than the skin can manage, so they end up getting clogs which then lead to the bacteria over growing from the lack of oxygen that normally regulates them. This is why we need to understand comedogenicity of ingredients in order to be able to effectively get somebody clear as part of their program. Essentially, CLOGGED PORES are the true cause of acne, and all the things that can trigger the cascade that leads to them includes pore clogging topical skincare and makeup!
All our Meta Skincare Clear Age and acne treatment collections of products are designed to be truly non-comedogenic, meaning their formulations and ingredients are at a 2 or below on the comedogenic scale.