The importance of knowing about Comedogenic Rating of Carrier Oils and Butters
Knowing about the comedogenic rating of carrier oils and butters is a very important point to consider when preparing our own natural products at home.
In this way, we make sure to choose the perfect and appropriate formula for our skin type, in order to achieve the wanted result after the applications.
Unfortunately, although there is a wide range of natural oils to choose from, there is a lot of misinformation about this topic. For example, that coconut oil or sweet almond oil are good to use as a make-up remover or moisturizer, when the reality is that if we use them without a proper information, they can cause many unwanted effects on our skin.
However, the use of coconut oil with other vegetable oils or blended with creams, may reduces the occluding action of coconut oil by itself.
Each natural vegetable oil has its own characteristics which allow them to provide certain benefits. Likewise, they also have components that classify them according to their tendency to clog pores in the skin, what is known as Comedogenic Rating.
What makes natural oils so beneficial for our skin?
Natural oils for skin care are increasingly preferred by society today, which when choosing, is opting for organic and animal cruelty-free products, just to name a few.
Instead of soaking our face and body with chemicals of dubious origin, we are discovering the incredible power of the benefits of natural oils for skin care, whether for therapeutic or aesthetic purposes.
In addition, each oil can be combined with other natural extracts such as essential oils to create highly effectives homemade serums and masks, since they have been proven to fight acne, wrinkles, scars, infections, eczema, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and many other skin conditions.
Carrier oils as vegetable, nut, or seed oils are used to dilute essential oils and carry them onto the skin and into the body. The same happens with vegetable butters, which are more suitable for body application.
Butters and vegetable oils are a good source of oil-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, and E, as well as essential fatty acids, all of which are needed by the skin to maintain its health, tone, and elasticity.
What is a Comedogenic Rating?
A comedogenic rating gives us an idea of how likely it is that an ingredient or oil will clog pores. In this way, people who are prone to breakouts should avoid comedogenic oils as they will exacerbate pimple formation.
On the other hand, people with drier skin might prefer a more emollient oil toward the middle of the scale.
The scale uses a numbering system of 0 to 5, where Ingredients are rated as following:
- 0 Will does not clog pores
- 1 Low likelihood of clogging pores
- 2 Moderately low
- 3 Moderate
- 4 Fairly high
- 5 High likelihood of clogging pores
In addition to the comedogenic rating, the application of high quality, unrefined organic vegetable oils offer an array of valuable nutrients to support, nourish, and enhance the functions of the skin. These nutrients include:
- Fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
These nutrients, (especially essential fatty acids such as linoleic and oleic acid) will help us identify the comedogenic level of an oil.
Fat – soluble Vitamins and Nutrients in Vegetable Oils
It is one of the most important antioxidants, which means that it is able to prevent cell damage from the destructive elements of free radicals.
Free radicals, when in excess, can damage healthy tissue, destroy the collagen and elastin fibers that support the skin and interfere with the formation of fresh healthy skin cells making our complexions blotchy and dull.
Vitamin E helps to protect the skin against environmental pollutants. It is used topically to reduce scar formation and to treat burns, including radiation burns.
Besides, vitamin E assists wound healing and has great repairing and regenerating properties. In conjunction with beta-carotene, vitamin E may decrease the harmful effects of the sun.
It is an essential vitamin for cellular growth and repair of body tissues. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in preserving the integrity of red blood cell membranes as well as the skin.
Some symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin A include: rough, dry and scaly skin.
B-carotene is one of over five hundred carotenes that occur in nature. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, is considered to be one of the most active of the carotenes.
Oils rich in Beta-carotene tend to be a rich orange color.
Beta-carotene is found in: carrot herbal oil, palm oil and algae. Palm oil also contains the carotene lycopene, which appears to have more anticancer abilities then beta-carotene.
Additionally, it may play a role in protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun, beta-carotene functions as a cellular screen against sunlight-induced free radical change.
This works with calcium to build bones, teeth and healthy skin. It promotes healing and is good for burns and abrasions. Avocado oil is the only vegetable oil that contains vitamin D.
This is an important component of cellular membranes, particularly those of the brain and nerves. It is a powerful emulsifying agent and helps to remove fats and cholesterol from the blood.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) found in vegetable oils
Essential Fatty Acids are called ‘Essential’ because our bodies cannot produce them, therefore we must consume them in our diets and apply them to our skin.
EFAs are an important part of the membranes of every cell in our body. Without a healthy membrane, cells lose their ability to hold water, vital nutrients, and electrolytes. They also lose their ability to communicate with other cells and be controlled by regulating hormones.
There are many fatty acids usually found in vegetable oils. The two that are most common are Linoleic acid and Oleic acid.
Unrefined polyunsaturated oils such as flax seed, evening primrose, borage, passionflower and rosehip oil, are rich in EFAs.
Fatty oils rich in EFAs are extremely reactive and are easily damaged by light, heat and oxygen exposure. Keep oils rich in EFAs refrigerated.
It is an essential fatty acid that is important to building the membranes which surround every skin cell. It helps to strengthen the protective lipid barrier that lies beneath the surface of the skin and guards against moisture loss.
Lack of linoleic acid can lead to serious skin problems, premature aging and can reduce the strength of the skin’s supporting collagen fibers which may slow wound healing and can trigger hair loss.
Oils high in linoleic acid are lighter and thinner in consistency. They nourish and protect the skin without being too heavy.
Linoleic acid can restore the skins barrier function and reduce scaling. Besides, people with acne have been shown to have low levels of this acid in their skin.
Non-comedogenic oils tend to be the ones that have high-linoleic acid contents, since it is lighter and absorbs into the skin, without clogging pores.
It has anti-aging, barrier protective, soothing, and balancing properties, and is most suitable for oily and acne prone skin.
The highest linoleic acid ratio is found in black cumin, evening primrose, hemp, grapeseed, guava seed, passionfruit, papaya seed, prickly pear, pumpkin seed, red raspberry, rosehip, safflower, sunflower, soybean and wheat germ oil.
Borage, castor, cherry kernel, chia, kiwi seed, pomegranate and sesame oils contain high linoleic acid, but have more balanced profiles.
It is a monounsaturated fatty acid. Vegetable oils with a high content of Oleic acid are more resistant to the damaging affects of heat and light.
Generally, oils higher in oleic acid are better for dry skin types; they are heavier and richer than oils high in linoleic acid.
The acid is absorbed well by the skin, has anti-inflammatory and skin softening properties.
Oleic acid is more occlusive and seals in moisture, creating a film on the skin. Oils high in oleic acid can clog the pores of those susceptible to acne.
The highest oleic acid ratio is found in sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, carrot seed, hazelnut, macadamia, macula, olive, palm, sea buckthorn and canola oil, as well as cocoa, mango and shea butter.
Argan, abyssinian, jojoba, rice bran and tamanu oils contain high oleic acid, but have more balanced profiles.
Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA)
Oils rich in gamma linoleic acid can play an important role in treating inflammatory conditions including eczema, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Apart from breast milk, evening primrose oil, black currant, and borage seed oil are the main sources.
It has antibacterial and anti-acne properties. Found in babassu, coconut, date seed, and palm oil.
Found in babassu, palm, and coconut oil. Myristic acid has cleansing and lubricating properties.
It possesses soothing, hydrating, anti-aging and barrier-protective effects. High in baobab, brazil nut, macadamia, palm, peanut, rice bran, sea buckthorn and neem oils, as well as mowrah butter.
An omega-7 fatty acid with anti-aging, healing, and rejuvenating properties. It is found in macadamia and sea buckthorn oils.
It is rich in hydrating properties but occlusive and tends to clog pores for acne prone skin. Found in butters of cocoa, coconut, mango, mowrah, sal seed and shea, as well as neem, shea and tamanu oils.
Found only in castor oil, ricinoleic acid is an omega 9 fatty acid with antibacterial and cleansing benefits.
It is an omega 5 fatty acid only found in pomegranate oil, which has repairing, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
An omega 3 and an essential fatty acid that helps skin barrier health. High in black currant, perilla, flax/linseed, pumpkin seed, and soybean oils.
It is an omega 9 with soothing emollient and permeation enhancing properties. High in jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils.
The behenic acid can be found in karanja and mooring oils. It has restorative, and highly moisturizing and conditioning properties, especially for hair.
High in abyssinian and broccoli oils, erucic acid can also be found in moderate amounts in jojoba and meadow foam seed oils. It is an omega 9, with a silky silicone-like feel for light hydration.
Now that we have learned a little about some benefits that contain carrier/vegetable oils and butters, we invite you to consult the following table. In it, you can get the orientation of which oils to use according to your skin type.
Comedogenic Rating of Carrier Oils and Butters
|Carrier Oil / Butter||Comedogenic Rating||Skin Type(s)||Essential Fatty Acid (s)|
|Abyssinian Seed Oil||0-1||Most Skin Types||High in Erucic Acid and Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Acai Berry Oil||2||Dry, Mature, Irritated||High in Oleic Acid and Moderate in Linoleic Acid|
|Aloe Oil (Infused carrier oil)||Depends on the carrier oil used|
|Amaranth Oil||2-3||Dry, Mature||High in Linoleic Acid and Moderate Oleic and Palmitic Acid|
|Amla Oil||1||Mature, Hyperpigmentation, (Best for Scalp Conditions like Alopecia)||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Almond Oil, Sweet||2||Dry, Sensitive, Acne-Prone||High in Oleic Acid|
|Andiroba Seed Oil||2||Dry, Irritated, Acne-Prone||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic Acid|
|Apple Seed Oil||0-2||Dry, Mature||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Oleic Acid|
|Apricot Kernel Oil||2||Combination, Dry||High in Oleic Acid|
|Argan Oil||0||All Skin Types||High in Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid|
|Avocado Oil||3||Dry, Acne-Prone||High in Oleic Acid|
|Babassu Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types||High in Lauric, Moderate Myristic and Oleic Acid|
|Baobob Seed Oil||2||Most Skin Types||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate Linoleic|
|Black Cumin Seed Oil||2||Combination||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Oleic|
|Blackberry Seed Oil||0-1||Oily||High in Linoleic|
|Black Currant Seed Oil||0-1||Dry, Sensitive||High in Linoleic Acid + GLA and ALA|
|Black Raspberry Seed Oil||1-2||Dry, Combination, Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Linolenic|
|Blueberry Seed Oil||0-1||Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Linolenic & Oleic|
|Borage Oil||2||Combination, Oily, Sensitive||High in Linoleic Acid and GLA|
|Brazil Nut Oil||2||Dry, Mature||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate Linoleic|
|Broccoli Seed Oil||1||Dry, Best for Night/Hair||High in Erucic Acid and Oleic Acid|
|Buriti Oil||2||Dry, Mature||High in Oleic Acid|
|Cacay Oil||1-2||All Skin Types, Oily Skin||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Calendula Oil (Infused carrier oil)||Depends on the carrier oil used|
|Camellia Seed Oil (High oleic acid/Green tea seed oil)||1||Most Skin Types||High in Oleic Acid (79%)|
|Camellia Seed Oil (moderate oleic acid)||2-3||Dry, Mature||Oleic Acid (36-42%)|
|Camelina Oil||3-4||Dry, Mature||High in Linolenic Acid|
|Carrot Seed Oil||3-4||Dry, Mature||High in Oleic Acid|
|Castor Oil||1||Most Skin Types, including Oily/Acne-Prone||High in Ricinoleic Acid|
|Chardonnay Grape Seed Oil||1-2||All Skin Types, Oily Skin/Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Cherry Kernel Oil||2||Most Skin Types, especially Dry/Irritated||High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid|
|Chia Seed Oil||3||Best for Body Use||High in Linolenic|
|Chokeberry Seed Oil||1-2||Oily, Sensitive and Dry||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Cloudberry Seed Oil||1||Oily, Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic and Linolenic Acid|
|Cocoa Butter||4||Ideal for Body/Eye Area, not for Oily/Acne-Prone||High in Oleic and Stearic Acid|
|Coconut Butter||4||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Oleic, Stearic and Palmitic Acid|
|Coconut Oil||4||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Lauric Acid|
|Coconut Oil, Fractionated||2-3||Most Skin Types||High in Caprylic and Capric Acid|
|Cottonseed Oil||3||Best for Hair or Body||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Cranberry Seed Oil||2||Dry, Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic and Linolenic Acid|
|Cucumber Seed Oil||1||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Cupuacu Butter||4||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Stearic and Oleic Acid|
|Date Seed Oil||3||Dry||High in Oleic Acid|
|Elderberry Seed Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types||High in Linoelic and Linolenic Acid|
|Evening Primrose Oil||2-3||Oily, Acne-Prone, Combination||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in GLA|
|Flax Seed Oil (Linseed)||4||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Alpha Linolenic Acid|
|Guava Seed Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Goji Berry Seed Oil||0-1||Oily, Acne-Prone, Combination||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Grapefruit Seed Oil||2||Oily, Acne-Prone, Combination||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Grapeseed Oil||1||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Green Coffee Oil||2||Dry||High in Palmitic Acid and Linoleic Acid|
|Hazelnut Oil||1||Most Skin Types, especially Sensitive, Acne-Prone||High in Oleic Acid|
|Hemp Seed Oil||0||Most Skin Types, including Oily/Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Linolenic Acid|
|Jojoba Oil||2||Most Skin Types, including Oily/Acne-Prone||High in Eicosenoic Acid|
|Kale Seed||Dry, Mature||High in Erucic Acid|
|Karanja Oil||2||Dry, Hair Use||High in Oleic Acid|
|Kiwi Seed Oil||1||Dry, Flaky, Hair Use||High in Linolenic Acid|
|Kukui Nut Oil||2||Dry, Flaky, Hair Use||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic and Linolenic Acid|
|Macadamia Nut Oil||2-3||Dry||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Palmitoleic Acid|
|Mango Butter||2||Most Skin Types||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Stearic Acid|
|Mango Seed Oil||2||Most Skin Types, particularly Dry and Sensitive||High in Oleic and Stearic Acid|
|Marula Oil||3-4||Very Dry, Sensitive||High in Oleic Acid|
|Meadowfoam Seed Oil||1||Oily, Acne-Prone, Sensitive||High in Eicosenoic Acid|
|Milk Thistle Seed Oil||1||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Moringa Oil||3-4||Dry, Combination||High in Oleic Acid|
|Mowrah Butter||Unknown||Most Skin Types, especially Dry/Damaged||High in Oleic and Palmitic Acid|
|Mustard Seed Oil||2-3||Best for Body Use||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic and Linolenic Acid|
|Neem Oil||1-2||Dry, Acne-Prone||High in Oleic Acid|
|Oat Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types, especially Sensitive||High in Linoleic and Oleic Acid|
|Olive Oil||2||Dry, Acne-Prone||High in Oleic Acid|
|Papaya Seed Oil||2-3||Dry, Acne-Prone, Sensitive||High in Oleic Acid|
|Palm Kernel Oil||4||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Lauric Acid|
|Passionfruit (Maracuja) Seed Oil||1-2||Oily, Irritated, Dry, Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Peach Kernel Oil||2||Dry, Sensitive||High in Oleic Acid|
|Peanut Oil||2||Most Skin Types||High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid|
|Pecan Oil||2||Dry, Combination||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic Acid|
|Pequi Oil||3||Dry||High in Oleic Acid|
|Perilla Seed Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types, especially Dry||High in ALA|
|Pine Nut Oil||1-2||Combination, Oily, Sensitive||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Pistachio Oil||Unknown||Most Skin Types, especially Dry/Damaged||High in Oleic and Palmitic Acid|
|Plum Kernel Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types, especially Mature||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic Acid|
|Pomegranate Seed Oil||1||Most Skin Types, especially Mature||High in Punicic Acid|
|Poppy Seed Oil||0-1||Most Skin Types, especially Oily||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Prickly Pear Seed Oil / Barbery Fig||1-2||Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Combination||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Pumpkin Seed Oil||2||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Red Palm Oil||4||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Palmitic Acid|
|Red Raspberry Seed Oil||0-1||Most Skin Types (Natural SPF 28)||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Linolenic Acid|
|Rice Bran Oil||2||Most Skin Types, especially Mature/Combination||High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid|
|Rosehip Seed Oil||1||Oily, Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Linolenic Acid|
|Safflower Oil||0||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Sal/Shorea Seed Butter||4||Dry||High in Stearic and Oleic Acid|
|Sandalwood Seed Oil||2||Best for Therapeutic Purpose on the Skin||High in Oleic Acid and Moderate in Ximenynic Acid|
|Sapote Oil /Mamey||2-3||Dry, Best for Hair Loss||High in Oleic Acid|
|Sea Buckthorn Oil||1||Most Skin Types, especially Mature/Dry||High in Palmitic, Palmitoleic and Oleic Acid|
|Sesame Seed Oil||3||Dry, Irritated||High in Linoleic and Oleic Acid|
|Shea Butter||0-2||Normal, Dry||High in Oleic and Stearic Acid|
|Shea Nut Oil||0-2||Very Dry||High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Stearic Acid|
|Soybean Oil||4-5||Very Dry, Best for Body Use||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Strawberry Seed Oil||1||Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Acne-Prone||High in Linoleic and Linolenic Acid|
|Sunflower Seed Oil||0-2||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Tamanu Oil||2||Most Skin Types, especially Scarred/Sensitive||High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid|
|Tomato Seed Oil||0-2||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Walnut Seed Oil||1-2||Most Skin Types||High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid|
|Watermelon Seed OIl||0-1||Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Acne-Prone/Sensitive||High in Linoleic Acid|
|Wheat Germ Oil||5||Very Dry/Damaged, Spot Treatment||High in Linolenic Acid|
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We hope that you cheer up and venture into creating your own treatment serum. You can use a blend with more than one carrier oil, depending on what you want to achieve to improve your skin.
Finally, you must take into account that there are oils such as rosehip and St. John’s wort oil, which are photosensitive and are not compatible with ultraviolet rays. However, you can safely include them in your night beauty routine.