is isopropyl myristate comedogenic?

Ingredient concerns and questions come and go as new (and current) products are introduced or reformulated. Lately, one of the more common questions that we have heard is the concern regarding the comedogenicity of isopropyl myristate.

Isopropyl myristate courtesy of

Isopropyl myristate is an emollient, thickening agent, lubricant and moisturizer used in cosmetics and is known to help improve penetration of ingredients. Currently, PCA SKIN® uses this ingredient in Replenishing Gel.

While the internet is a great resource, it is important to understand that not all of the information found there is reliable or backed by scientific research. Originally, the concept of comedogenicity was introduced into the cosmetic industry and medicine several decades ago, but has recently been re-evaluated and is not commonly used in science any more.

The idea of acne cosmetica was incorporated in order to find a link between certain ingredients to the formation of comedones. The tests were performed on animals and this was done to determine the potential of raw materials in the formation of comedones, with the assumption that end products containing these raw materials would in turn be comedogenic.

The results were inconclusive, because the animal tests were unreliable and different researchers obtained different results in tests with the same materials; therefore, any link between the end product and the raw materials tested was not established. It turned out that the finished products that contained ingredients that had been previously labeled as comedogenic were, in fact, not necessarily comedogenic after all.

In the end, many of the previously published “comedogenic ingredient” lists have been re-evaluated and subsequently revoked due to the newer results found during current testing. One example of such a case took place when Dr. Kligman’s claims on the comedogenicity of petrolatum were revoked.

The most reliable way to determine if an ingredient or finished product is comedogenic is to test it in clinical studies on humans. Before PCA SKIN launches any new or reformulated products, we conduct thorough clinical studies within our practice and there has been no connection between acne cosmetica or comedone formation established with the topical use of the Replenishing Gel.

Please be assured that there is no scientific research determining the comedogenicity of isopropyl myristate.


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