How to review your skincare products

For best results, we highly recommend that you review the comedogenicity (potential for blocking pores) and irritation potential of the ingredients in your current skincare products.  The best way to do that is to look up your products by name using  CosDNA.

What is CosDNA?

CosDNA is a user-submitted product database. It breaks down the product’s ingredient list and rates the ingredients’ potential for blocking pores and causing irritation. Our medical providers use CosDNA to check if a product could cause any problems, and you can, too!

How to use cosDNA

1. Visit http://cosdna.com

2. Enter the product name using the search field. Make sure to spell everything correctly!

3. Select the most recent entry to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date ingredient list.

4. Look at the “Acne” column. Avoid any products that contain ingredients with a 3, 4, or 5 rating in the "Acne" column. These could be blocking your pores!

5. Look at the “Irritant” column as well if you're seeing signs of irritation (e.g, dryness, flaking, redness, etc.).

In this case, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which rates a 5 in the “Acne” column, so we do not recommend it if you’re seeing clogged pores/acne!

What if your product isn't listed?

If your product isn't turning up in the search results, don't worry!

1. Google the product in order to find its ingredient list on the company website. Ulta and Sephora’s websites tend to have the ingredient lists as well. Copy the ingredient list.

2. Click Analyze Cosmetics in the yellow header on CosDNA.


3. Paste the ingredient list into the pink text box and click Analysis. Again, look at the “Acne” and “Irritant” columns to see if this product could be causing trouble.

Are certain brands better than others?

Every skincare line has the potential to have pore-blocking or irritating ingredients in its products.  We recommend running each particular product you are using or considering using through CosDNA.

Even products labeled “non-comedogenic” can still contain ingredients that may clog your pores. Of course, individual responses to ingredients may vary!

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