Skincare for men: Non-comedogenic care explained

Hautpflege für Männer: Was bedeutet (nicht) komedogen?

Having healthy and well-groomed skin is not only an increasingly important subject for men, but men are also becoming more interested in vegan skincare in general. As a result, many men are following the example of women who have been increasingly interested in ingredients and sustainability for some time now and have often acquired an impressive level of knowledge in this area.
Anyone interested in sustainable skincare often comes across the two terms "comedogenic" and "non-comedogenic", especially when it comes to sustainable skincare brands. As the term is often not explained further, the confusion remains: "Is a comedogenic cream good for my skin or is "non-comedogenic" what my skin needs?

In this blog article, we explain in a straightforward way why it is advisable to use non-comedogenic skincare products, which ingredients are comedogenic and which are not, where the term actually comes from and what else there is to consider when it comes to clean skincare for men.

What does comedogenic and non-comedogenic skincare mean?

The term "comedo (plural comedogen)" comes from the Latin "comedo" and is most commonly translated as blackhead in English. Comedo therefore refers to a completely blocked sebaceous gland in which dark lamellae are pushed outwards. Comedones (blackheads) are therefore the externally visible blockages of sebaceous glands.

Most people will have noticed these dark blackheads on their own skin every now and then, and comedones are particularly common around the nose.

The transition from the above explanation of the term comedogenic to its use in the description of ingredients is relatively easy:


  • Comedo means blackhead or simply clogged sebaceous gland (loosely translated).
  • Comedogenic ingredients can clog the pores of the skin and thus lead to blackheads and pimples
  • Non-comedogenic ingredients, on the other hand, do not clog the pores and are therefore, quite simply put, "non-clogging".

  • Remember: When buying skincare, make sure that the cream or lotion is formulated with non-comedogenic ingredients. This ensures that the skin is effectively cared for and the sebaceous glands are not unnecessarily clogged.

    Excursus: It is important to mention at this point that even with a skincare routine that only consists of non-comedogenic ingredients, blackheads can still occur.
    The addition non-comedogenic does not guarantee that there will be no pimples, nor that existing blackheads will be combated, but only reduces the likelihood of clogging the sebaceous glands (as clogging ingredients are avoided).
    Although it is well known that there is no 100% way to prevent pimples on women's or men's skin in the long term, regular cleansing with a non-drying cleanser is an essential measure - for example kluuf's vegan facial cleanser with activated charcoal and Irish Moss. Men in particular benefit from regular facial cleansing with gentle ingredients, as male skin is more oily than female skin due to increased sebum production. More information on the five skin types for men can be found in this blog.

    Well-known comedogenic and non-comedogenic ingredients:

    Non-comedogenic creams & lotions are sometimes difficult to recognize, as only very few products indicate whether they are comedogenic or non-comedogenic. It often helps to take a look at the list of ingredients (which can usually be found on the back of skincare products) to understand whether they tend to clog pores or not*.

    To make it easier to recognize non-comedogenic products, we have listed some known (non) comedogenic ingredients here:

    Well-known comedogenic ingredients:

    1. Coconut oil (coconut oil): Coconut oil is often used in natural skincare products as it has a superb and long-lasting moisturizing effect. However, coconut oil is considered comedogenic and can quickly lead to clogged pores. Caution is advised here. kluuf uses Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil exclusively in the vegan body lotion, as the pores on the body do not tend to clog as quickly as the sebaceous glands on the face.
    2. Lanolin (lanolin): Refers to the wool wax from sheep. The ingredient is therefore not only not vegan, but also has comedogenic properties. Lanolin leaves a nourishing greasy film on the skin and is often used to soothe the symptoms of neurodermatitis in particular. However, if you are prone to blemished skin and/or value vegan skincare, you should avoid this ingredient. Note kluuf: Especially when it comes to medical conditions, we understand that treating the symptoms often takes priority. There is no right or wrong for us here, only personal preference.
    3. Algae extract (algae extract): Algae extract is a popular ingredient in both natural cosmetics and clean or vegan skincare, as the vitamin-rich algae is known to scavenge free radicals to prevent skin damage. Algae extract also contains many other valuable nutrients for effective skincare. However, algae extract has a high degree of comedogenicity and should only be used in small concentrations by impure skin types, as otherwise blackheads could occur due to clogged pores.

    Well-known non-comedogenic ingredients:

    1. Shea butter (butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter): Shea butter is a natural ingredient that is often used in face creams thanks to its moisturizing and nourishing properties. Contrary to what you might expect from such a rich ingredient, shea butter is not comedogenic and therefore differs from many other vegetable oils and fats such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. Shea butter can therefore be used without hesitation as a moisturizer in sustainable skin care.
    2. Glycerin (glycerin): Glycerin is often criticized for having comedogenic properties. However, this vegan ingredient is not comedogenic. The skin's own active ingredient not only provides the skin with lasting moisture, but also acts as a preservative.
    For us, glycerine unfairly has a bad reputation, and we recommend using the active ingredient in combination with hyaluronic acid, such as in kluuf's face cream. We explain glycerine in more detail in a separate blog.
    3. Vaseline (petrolatum): Everyone is probably familiar with Vaseline, but many people are unaware that this active ingredient is obtained from petroleum residues. Contrary to popular belief, Vaseline is a non-comedogenic ingredient. Although Vaseline forms a film on the skin, it does not clog the pores (nor does it prevent the skin from breathing, as human skin simply cannot breathe). kluuf does not use Vaseline, however, as all our skincare products do not contain petroleum oils for sustainability reasons. Therefore, kluuf prefers to use shea butter as a moisturizer in the face cream.

    *Expert advice: We recommend limiting yourself to the first 5 - 10 ingredients. INCIs are not listed alphabetically or according to personal preference, but must be listed in descending order from the highest concentration of active ingredients. The first couple active ingredients usually make up the majority of the product - according to the well-known 80/20 rule. It is even easier to analyze products with the help of an app such as Codecheck or Yuka. These helpers only need the barcode of the product and analyze the ingredients based on sustainability, skin compatibility and many other parameters.

    More on (non-)comedogenic skin care:

    When choosing skincare products, whether for men or women, it is advisable to opt for non-comedogenic formulations. Such products help to hydrate, nourish and protect the skin without increasing the risk of breakouts.

    However, normal skin, for example, tolerates comedogenic ingredients well without necessarily clogging pores and comedogenic ingredients in the right dosage can also help to achieve individual skincare goals. As is so often the case in skincare, we advise testing the tolerance carefully to better understand how your skin reacts.

    It should also be emphasized that many ingredients that kluuf classifies as unsustainable and sometimes questionable, such as kerosenes, PEG-based polymers or silicones, are comedogenic and should be avoided for reasons of sustainability and compatibility.

    We would also like to debunk one myth at this point:
    Vegan and sustainable skincare is not automatically comedogenic and does not tend to clog more often than creams & lotions with animal ingredients. This is a myth, because when it comes to skincare, vegan skincare products are in no way inferior to alternative products in terms of quality and effectiveness. Read all about vegan and sustainable skincare for men in this blog.

    An effective skincare routine for men should ideally consist of a sustainable face cream that moisturizes, regenerates and protects, as well as a gentle cleanser that removes impurities and prevents spots. A moisturizing body lotion that firms and strengthens rounds off the skincare routine for men, as does an aftershave that repairs and soothes the skin.

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