9th Feb 2011 

The Most Informative Q&A Site covering nearly all complexion flaws

By: Dr. Pierre

Questions & Answers On 

Comedogenic vs Non-comedogenic Products

Images of Comedone-infested skin

  Comedogenic vs Non-comedogenic

Most consumers have been taken for a ride by products claiming to be non-comedogenic. 

Firstly, let’s define what these terms ‘comedogenic’ and ‘non-comedogenic’ mean in a product claim. 

When a product claims to be non-comedogenic it is telling the end-user that using that product would not cause the skin to clog and lead to comedones (i.e. blackheads in layman terms). 

My advice to end-users is to take it with a large bag of salt. 

Many emulsion creams are manufactured using Free conventional formulations from raw materials vendors incorporating very high wax content to achieve higher viscosity to give the cream body. 

Wax is highly comedogenic! 

Any powdered product or products (like foundations) containing talc and pigments (i.e. iron oxides) are also naturally comedogenic. Thus, for products like foundations making claims to be non-comedogenic is preposterous! 

However, that doesn’t mean that one should not use a foundation product. What’s needed is a good cleanser and/or makeup remover to effectively clear the pores daily, and of course without giving rise to another skin flaw such as dry, dehydrated, flaky or sensitized skin after each cleanse or after a period of use. 


I have been fighting clogged pores all my life.

But for the past 3 months the problem seems to be getting worse, specially my chin and nose.

Therefore, for the past 6 weeks I have been getting glycolic acid peels with extractions to try and clear up my skin but no luck.

I have also changed my skin care line to a clinical skin care line called Peter Thomas Roth based out of New York.

Their products are specially formulated for acne prone skin and clogged pores.

My esthetician does not understand how my pores can be so clogged after all the extraction she performs.

She also says that my skin care routine is correct for my skin type.

I go get these peels every 2 weeks- I have completed 4 of them at the moment.

Also, all of my make-up is non-comedogenic and I do not touch my face.

I have tried absolutely everything to try and clear up this problem and I seem to be using all the correct products - do you think Wondergel would be useful for me? If you think that it might help would be possible to try a sample first.

Please respond as soon as possible.

Thank you for your help.

Alejandra (submitted by alias: Alejandra)

Hi Alejandra, Clogged-pores is a common skin flaw.

The debris that clogged the pores comprises the skin's surface dead cells, environmental dirt, bacteria, salt from dried-up sweat, staled sebum secretion, waxes dried-up from face creams, and colored pigments (i.e. iron oxides) from dried-up makeup.

These are being deposited on the skin's surface daily.

As such, if they are not properly removed, the accumulations will seriously clog-up the pores.

Glycolic Peeling will not help in your clogged-pores.

Infact it will make it worse for your current situation.

Glycolic Peeling will shed your skin even more, thus producing more shedded dead cells to clog your pores.

From what you described, the products you are currently using aren't effective.

Firstly, you must use a cleanser that really cleans by effectively softening/ dissolving the accumulated debris now clogging your pores, as well as removing your daily debris deposits.

Next, your skin's excessive secretion must be calmed/sedated by applying products that contain soothing/calming active ingredients.

Trying to rid off oily secretions by excessive washing with soap or any foam/soap base cleansers will only make it worse.

When you wash excessively with soap, your skin will dehydrate after each wash.

During the dehydration period, the skin will physiologically react by trying to compensate the temporary loss of oil/moisture by stimulating the oil glands to produce more oil.

This stimulation only causes more oil (which could not flow out due to your clogged condition) to build up beneath your pores and, thus, worsen the situation.

You will find your skin getting coarser.

Makeup are colored products, which contain coloring substances, colored pigment oxides(iron oxides), zinc oxides, titanium oxides, talc, etc..

As such, the manufacturer should never claim that they are non-comedogenic.

To claim that a product is non-comedogenic is to say that the product contains ingredients that will not contribute to the building up of comedones.

Comedones is a medical term for blackheads.

The debris that clogged the pores are blackheads/comedones!!! And all the pigments, oxides and talc are powdery grains which do contribute to pore-clogs.

Unless you have a good and effective cleanser and a good skincare routine, I'd advise that you stop using makeup for one to two weeks.

If you are willing to accept my advice, I would prefer that you stop all others and use the samples I will send you.

It will comprise 4 to 5 items.

I am confident you will see quick positive results, like many others have testified to us.

However, you will have to pay only for the postage which costs about $10.You only pay upon receipt of the samples.

One more request is that you testify for our products efficacies when you see remarkable improvements.

Please let me know if you want me to send the set of samples.

Regards: Pierre  

I am 27 years old, Japanese and living in the States for 6 years.

My acne has started since when I was 14 or so.

(After I started my period.) Although my acne on the cheek is gone, the openpores and redness remained and the skin got rougher.

And the worse thing is the part is expanding year by year.

As I mentioned before, before the menstruation, I get tiny acne inc.

whitehead on the area where I don't have acne before.

So now clear skin is almost gone from my face.

I am sure I usually have whitehead as well as the blackhead.

(I cannot squeeze unless I use needle.) I have whitehead near chin and neck now.

I know it is something to do with my hormone.

So I have started to take birth control pill called Oarth Tricyclen.

It is less than a month so that I cannot figure it has been good for me.

Before I took different kinds of antibiotics, Minocyn or monodox, but didn't work.

I also tryed topical products such as Metrogel, Azlex(New brand), Neostrata, and all kinds of stuff I can get from drug store.

Only tings I haven't try are Retain-A and Accutane....

I am not sure if you are familiar with those products...

I am single, not pregnant.

I usually use facewash from salon, which is Dermelogica "anti-back face wash" or Japanese CAC (Brand) powder type, this one is very mild.

For the toner I use Pola (Japanese) Sekkisei, or Chanel for Oily skin.

Lotion and sun protection I am using Total Diffence from Chanel (Spf 15, non-fre, oil control).

I try not to use fregrance-in, and avoiding oil contained.

I don't usually put makeups.

Night time I am not using anything right now except Vitamin E oil for aroud eyes and neck.

I used to have very oily skin but it is changing.

So I have kind of oily skin but it is also on the cheek.

People usually tell me I got very sensitive, or combi, or oily skin.

Aroun my nose and cheek, I have openpores and I can see oily-white stuff ( Are they comedos?) coming out from pores.

Sometimes I use twizler to take or they can be squeezed out.

I don't have Stress that much and I can sleep soon after I am in bed.

I think since I started to take birthcontroll pills, I sleep well.

(But I have very hard time waking up, maybe because my body has been changed as well as the bloodpressure.) I also take vitamins, eat a lot of fruit, vegis, and don't eat greasy that much.

I wash my face twice a day.

I went to see many dermetrogists and, some told me my problem is genetic, but non of my family has this proble that I know.

I even went for lazer because of the spider vains.

The doctor said, most of the redness is caused by acne.

So I have combi of things going on my facial skin.

But my acne is almost unseen (They are looked more like rough skin because they are small and not really poped out most cases)) with the redness.

Well, when I take picture closeup of my face I will send it to you.

Meanwhile I just want to try your products.

I forgot to tell you that I use mask, Purifying Mask from Shiseido and Chinaclay mask from Clentel (U.S. product).

I hardly use scrub since I know it might cause more broken vassels.

Please give me suggestion, I will do anything for my skin.

Thank you very much for taking your time.

(submitted by alias: Sachiko)

Hi Sachiko, I received your letter and 8 photographs.

Observing from your photos (although not very sharp), your skin is now very sensitive and inflamed.

You also mentioned that you flushed easily even since childhood days.

This means you have got very fine (and fair/light) epidermis.

As such, your skin is quite easily reddened also by sunlight (photosensitive), because your skin contains little amount of melanin pigment cells (melanocytes), and thus cannot effectively protect it from the harmful effects of the UV rays, which worsens your current condition.

Although you need protection from the sun (especially during summer time, or whenever you are out in the open), unfortunately it's not advisable for you to use sunscreen of high SPF value.

You should use only below SPF15 (try a small amount on your neck area first to test if your skin can take it or not).

You should also not use any soap-base cleansers (like the fash wash you mentioned) to wash your face, and you should not wash more than twice a day for the time being.

Soap-based cleansers will cause superficial dehydration (though temporarily).

When this happens two events would follow: 

1. The skin cracks and ruptured (and became coarse), and allows bacteria to penetrate freely.

This worsens your acneic condition.

2. Your skin will physiologically react on its own to try to compensate the loss of moisture (due to the temporary dehydration caused by the soap-based cleanser).

When this happens there will be excessive production of sebum underneath your skin, causing your pores to clog.

Soap-based cleansers also contain salt (part of the ingredients to help increase the viscosity of the cleanser) which contributes to the hardening of the sebum.

Cream cleansers are generally better for conditions like yours, but some cream cleansers unfortunately contain large amount of high viscosity wax.

Such cleansers usually leave stains of hardened waxes on skin after rinsing, and thus also contribute to pore-clogs.

Cream cleansers with low viscosity wax and oil are known as non or low-comedogenic and are safer and more effective.

The same applies to day cream and night cream which are to be left on the face for long hours.

Those containing high viscosity wax and oil should be avoided.

You can do a simple test to find out if a cream (cleansers, day and night creams, etc.) is non-comedogenic or hyper-comedogenic (Non-comedogenic means not prone to contributing to comedo).

Just decant one to two ml of the cream and place it on a piece of normal writing paper for one to two days, and observe again (do not spread the cream. Just leave it as a lump like a small molehill).

If, after two days, most of the cream had disappeared and are absorbed into the paper (you can see the oil patch surrounding the cream), leaving very little or no traces of any visible cream on the paper, then the cream is low or non-comedogenic.

If, on the other hand, you find the small molehill of cream is still there or has shrunk only slightly, leaving a lump of hardened wax substance, then the cream contains a high content of wax substance and should be avoided.

Too much of Vit E and Retin A will cause your skin to peel often (not good for sensitive skin like yours currently).

Clay mask will also absorb (suck) moisture from your skin and cause dehydration.

I recommend you stop applying for now.

Now I'm going to recommend you a simple regimen, using only four of our products first.

You should stop all others in order to see speedy results.

The 4 products are: 

1. Dr Pierre Product #17/F DeepCleanse Refreshening Fluid.

(This is a liquid cleanser/makeup remover).

2. Dr Pierre Product #69 Licorice Toner.

3. Dr Pierre Product #87 Azulene Active Cream.

4. Dr Pierre Product #090 Wondergel Ginseng AC Cream (Anti-Acne Cream).

Please follow and adhere to the following instructions closely: 

A) Every morning:  

Step 1 : Decant Prod #17/F on a cotton pad, and wipe face and neck gently to remove staled grease, dirt, dead-cells and any debris.

Step 2 : Rinse thoroughly with running water(Use a facial sponge if desired, but wipe gently and lightly).

Step 3 : Tap dry with a tissue(avoid using towel for time being).

Step 4 : Apply #69 with a cotton pad, by tapping lightly on face and neck, and wait a while for it to dry and to be absorbed, before going to the next step.

Step 5 : Apply #090 sparingly on acne spots(or acneic areas).

Apply #87 on all other unaffected areas.

For the time being, please avoid applying any makeup(except eyebrow and lip areas).

B) Every Evening/Night: 

Step 1: Decant Prod #17/F on a cotton pad, and wipe off makeup first(in your case eyebrow and lip areas only, if you do apply), then wipe face and neck gently to remove staled grease, dirt, dead-cells and any debris.

Step 2 : Rinse thoroughly with running water(Use a facial sponge if desired, but wipe gently and lightly).

Step 3 : Tap dry with a tissue(avoid using towel for time being).

Step 4 : Apply #69 with a cotton pad, by tapping lightly on face and neck, and wait a while for it to dry and to be absorbed, before going to the next step.

Step 5 : Apply #090 sparingly on acne spots(or acneic areas).

Apply #87 on all other unaffected areas.

Other Hygiene/Health Aspects to observe: 

1. Tie your hair up when sleeping to avoid bacteria from hair from spreading to your ruptured skin.

2. Change your pillow case as often as possible - preferably cover it with a clean towel and change it daily.

3. Wash your hair daily if possible(avoiding the shampoo from flowing down on your face!!!).

4. Avoid squeezing, fiddling and pricking your acnes(or face) with bare hands/fingers.

5. Avoid the sun.

6. Avoid fried food.

7. Drink plenty of plain water.

8. Go to bed on time and sleep at least 7 to 8 hours nightly.

Do not stay up late at night.

9. Avoid dusty places or places near chemicals, where chemical gas/fumes are likely to be present.

Above steps are also applicable for your hands and other parts of the body as well.

Samples will be sent to you this week, and you should receive them next week.

Keep in touch with us, and let us know of your improvement, or if you have any further clarification to make, please don't hesitate to email me.

Best Regards: Pierre