The Most Common Pore-Clogging Ingredients in Makeup

The Most Common Pore-Clogging Ingredients in Makeup

Published by Jil Goorman on Dec 22nd 2021

You’d think that buying luxurious or expensive makeup products would mean these formulas are healthier for your skin. But unfortunately, many makeup brands—both low- and high-end—use comedogenic ingredients. Comedogenic ingredients are ones that are prone to clogging in the skin’s pores and producing acne. Since most makeup brands use comedogenic ingredients without warning labels or indications, proactively examining makeup products yourself is essential. In this article, we’ll share some of the most common pore-clogging ingredients in makeup so that you can look out for these makeup formulas. Let’s get started!


The first ingredient on our list is benzaldehyde. The name of this product may look long and confusing, but the ingredient’s purpose in makeup products is quite simple: manufacturers add it to their makeup formulas for fragrance. Although it may smell sweet, this ingredient can be highly irritating and damaging to the skin. In addition, it often clogs pores and creates oil overproduction, which produces breakouts.

Never choose your makeup or skin products based on their fragrances. Instead, look out for and avoid products containing benzaldehyde for your health.

Isopropyl Palmitate

Tinted moisturizer has become a popular alternative to conventional foundation. Since it has lower coverage, this makeup is perfect for people who enjoy a more natural makeup look. However, while it may seem as though using a lighter-coverage product would be better for your skin, tinted moisturizers that contain isopropyl palmitate are highly comedogenic. In fact, this ingredient is so irritating to the skin that it rates as a four on the comedogenic scale. Tinted moisturizers can benefit the skin, but if you see isopropyl palmitate in the ingredients list, it may be time to look for a new makeup brand.

Coconut Oil

You’ve probably seen a variety of companies proudly market the inclusion of coconut oil in their products. At first glance, this natural oil may seem like the perfect moisturizer to add to your skin; however, this assumption is completely false. Unfortunately, natural oils are often some of the worst skin irritants. These ingredients are likely to clog pores and promote oil overproduction.

Also consider avoiding hair-care products that include coconut oil. The presence of this ingredient in hair-care products can cause pimples on the scalp and worsen acne around the face.

Acetylated Lanolin

Almost every list of the most common pore-clogging makeup ingredients ranks acetylated lanolin as the number one comedogenic ingredient. This ingredient is primarily used as a skin-softener and moisturizer. It comes from sheepskin and often messes with the skin’s natural sebum production to create breakouts. If you see natural moisturizers that include this highly pore-clogging ingredient, steer clear.

Sodium Chloride

You may not think that salt is a common ingredient used in makeup formulas, but you’d be surprised at how many high-end brands use sodium chloride as a significant element in their makeup formulas. Many people assume that salt is a beneficial exfoliating ingredient, but this assumption could not be further from the truth. Sodium chloride is highly drying and harsh to the skin. This salt solution often absorbs the skin’s natural moisture and disturbs the natural skin’s pH. As a result, your skin will likely become dry and cracked or overproduce oil. Both of these skin reactions can lead to breakouts.

If you’re looking for a natural skin exfoliant, stick to a less dehydrating ingredient, and remember that sodium chloride should never be present in your makeup products.

Almond Oil

Almond oil has a different effect on the skin, depending on your age. Natural almond oil contains healing properties that make this product ideal for applying to the skin and under the eyes. However, these healing properties are best for people with older, more mature skin. Older skin often needs more intense hydration boosts, so it wears almond oil well. However, almond oil is more likely to clog younger skin. The richness of this oil means younger skin commonly ends up with the viscous solution stuck inside the pores. If you see almond oil in your makeup formulas, be mindful that this solution could affect your skin.

Algae Extract

Algae extract contains countless vitamins and minerals that are highly nourishing for the skin. However, this ingredient can also create acne when used in makeup products. When algae extract penetrates pores, the solution fills pores with iodides. These iodides are highly irritating and will likely cause breakouts. So before you buy products that contain algae extract, consider how this solution could create breakouts for your skin.

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil is one of the thickest oils that makeup companies use to add a thicker consistency to their formulas. Unfortunately, the thickness of this oil is one of the primary reasons why it’s prone to clogging pores and creating painful acne. If you have acne-prone skin, steering clear of this ingredient is even more critical. Wheat germ oil can promote cystic acne and other highly irritating skin conditions.  

The Takeaway

With so many pore-clogging makeup ingredients out there, you may wonder what ingredients are safe to use on your skin. Although it may seem like your options are limited, there are plenty of highly effective and gentle makeup formulas that can give you a glowing complexion without risking the health of your skin.

The key to wearing makeup without causing breakouts is investing in acne-safe makeup. The products within acne-safe makeup kits are guaranteed to contain the gentlest, most effective, and most revitalizing ingredients. These kits simplify the process of reading through formula lists because the products already avoid comedogenic ingredients. So if you’re ready to find makeup that’s compatible with your acne, consider investing in one of these kits today.

Here at Jil Goorman Beauty, we provide tips, tricks, and guides on achieving, maintaining, and nourishing clear skin. So whether you struggle with periods of breakouts or experience chronic acne, the Jil Goorman Beauty website has something for everyone. To learn more about our acne-safe makeup kits and other products, check out our beauty site for additional information.

The Most Common Pore-Clogging Ingredients in Makeup