What is comedogenicity and why do we care so much about it?
Comedogenicity is the tendency of an ingredient to clog pores by increasing follicular hyperkeratosis – an increased production of keratin in hair follicles. Individual skin chemistry varies, but over time, a product with a high comedogenicity rating can lead to clogged pores and comedones. Human sebum is naturally comedogenic, so even ingredients that are not typically comedogenic can become so by a person's unique skin enzymes. This is especially problematic in individuals who are affected by eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes, wounds, etc.
At Sohma Naturals, we are conscientious and careful to use only ingredients that fit most skin types. We have chosen only ingredients with a comedogenicity rating of 2 or less.
Though we cannot guarantee our products to be completely comedogenic free, we are very confident that we manufacture a product that has an incredibly low possibility of producing a reaction or comedones.



(Coconut oil (4) selectively... see below)

WHY do we selectively use coconut oil?

     Coconut oil has gained quite an amazing reputation and an almost cult like following in the last decade. Not surprising since it has a long shopping list of incredible benefits: Affordable, shelf stable, 100% natural and non-toxic, ecologically sustainable, antibacterial, anti-fungal, moisturizing, and a long list of other amazing benefits.

The major antioxidants present in coconut oil, ferulic and p-coumeric acid, work to scavenge free radicals in the skin, prevent sun and age related damage, and increase wound healing according to scientific studies. 

With all of these superstar qualities, how could we go wrong?

Well it turns out, the chemistry of coconut oil isn't exactly cut out for everyone. 

Coconut oil is largely made up of saturated fat, which makes it a very stable oil. It is also unusually high in the anti-microbial , medium chain triglyceride lauric acid, and recent studies have shown that lauric acid accumulates in your stratum corneum, or the top layer of your skin. This penetration gives the user the lightweight feel that coconut oil is known for without the greasy after feel that many of us hate. 

So the clincher lies in your individual skin. Different cell turnover rates, different pore sizes, different microbiological populations, different immune responses, different ph balance; we're all so different! And yet, sooo many people continually report acne breakouts when using coconut oil in any form, because of its comedogenicity rating of four. Even with all of its wonderful moisturizing properties, it is also deemed to be a very drying oil. 

This seems so counter-intuitive to everything we just talked about, doesn't it?

Well a superstar must be so controversial, don't you agree!

It turns out, the oil's absorption actually causes more problems than it solves for some people.  Your skin produces its own sebum to moisturize the skin from the sebaceous glands.  Applying oil to the skin can actually modify your natural skin sebum production.  By applying more oil, you are influencing your skin to produce less because it is already oil rich.  Coconut oil may be causing a slowing of natural sebum production while virtually disappearing from the surface of the skin through absorption.  Your skin needs a layer of oils on the surface to protect it from environmental stressors and transepidermal water loss - the evaporation of your valuable hydration from inside the skin.  With an oil that is too absorbent, it may be sending the wrong, oil rich signals to the skin, and then through its high and quick absorption you have nothing left to protect you on the surface. It is for these reasons that we choose to not use it in all of the products in our skincare line. That and coconut oil is virtually vitamin and mineral deficient. There are wondrous fat soluble oils that are chalk full of vitamins that we choose to use instead.  

WHAT does Sohma Naturals use instead?

Rosehip has a high natural Vitamin A content, sea buckthorn has a plethora of bright orange carotenoids, and meadowfoam and raspberry seed oils have natural Vitamin E.  Other oils also have compounds known as phytosterols which help the skin with water retention and barrier recovery which is amazing for irritated skin. And while coconut oil does have antioxidant compounds there are oils with much denser antioxidant loads such as perilla seed oil.

WHEN do we use Coconut Oil?

So where do we want to celebrate the drying, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties that coconut oil gives us? Why our armpits of course! Yes, we only include it in our deodorant. Our deodorant formulation could not be the same without the wonderful benefits of coconut oil that we know and love. So, we're not saying to totally nix coconut oil out of your life. We're just saying that we prefer to keep it where we need it most, and let the other oil superstars shine a little more! See our coconut rich deodorants here! 


For references and further reading:


USDA National Nutrient Database


 The penetration of fatty acids into human skin...


 Antimicrobial Property of Lauric Acid Against Propionibacterium acnes:

Its Therapeutic Potential for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris


Effect of Topical Application of Virgin Coconut Oil on Skin Components and

Antioxidant Status during Dermal Wound Healing

Antioxidant capacity and phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil