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Is Karanja oil comedogenic?

Is Karanja oil comedogenic?

Karanja oil is recognised for its ability to protect the skin from the sun's rays, due to its composition of karanjin and pongamol, which are antiradical agents. It is incorporated into the formulation of sun care products for all skin types. Is this oil comedogenic? What is its comedogenicity index? Here are the answers and explanations.

Published February 12, 2024, — 3 min read

Karanja Oil: An Overview

Karanja oil is obtained by cold pressing the seeds of the Pongolote or Karanja tree. It has a rich composition, endowing it with beneficial properties for the skin:

  • Protective: Karanja oil has a high content of karanjin and pongamol, active ingredients valued for their actions against UVA and UVB rays. Indeed, they are capable of absorbing and filtering a portion of UV rays, but they do not replace sunscreen.

  • Hydrating, softening and emollient: rich in fatty acids, particularly omega 9, it strengthens the hydrolipidic film, and restores the skin's tone, suppleness and hydration.

  • Skin regenerating and healing: its content of omega 6, particularly flavonoids, gives black seed oil antioxidant properties. These active ingredients neutralise the free radicals responsible for oxidative stress. They regenerate skin tissue and accelerate the healing process.

  • Antibacterial and antiseptic: thanks to the presence of karanjin and pongamol, black seed oil possesses antiseptic and purifying properties. Indeed, these active ingredients combat bacteria present on the skin's surface.

What is a comedogenic oil?

A comedogenic oil is an oil that, when applied to the skin, promotes the appearance of comedones (spots, blackheads, microcysts, etc.) by blocking the skin's pores. This is particularly the case when it has a thick, less penetrative and oxidised texture. The same principle applies to the ingredients incorporated into skincare formulations.

Combination to oily skin types, prone to blemishes, are susceptible to the formation of microcysts and comedones following the application of a comedogenic vegetable oil.

A comedogenicity index is used to determine whether an oil is comedogenic. This indicator is primarily based on three criteria:

  1. The freshness of the oil: determines the duration that elapses between the collection of the seeds and the extraction of the oil.

  2. Its sensitivity to oxidation: an oil undergoes natural oxidation when exposed to air, heat, and light, and becomes rancid. Its texture and smell alter, and the oil no longer provides the same benefits. Depending on their composition, vegetable oils are more or less sensitive and fragile to oxidation. However, any oxidised oil is comedogenic, as is an oil that oxidises quickly.

  3. The rate at which it is absorbed by the skin: a thick oil, due to its slow absorption, tends to clog the pores and promote the appearance of blemishes.

Here are the five levels of comedogenicity

  • Factor 0: this refers to a non-comedogenic oil.

  • Indicator 1: this oil is very low in comedogenicity;

  • Indicator 2: this oil is minimally comedogenic;

  • Index 3 and 4: these oils are comedogenic;

  • Indicator 5: this oil is highly comedogenic.

Karanja oil displays a comedogenicity index of 2. In other words, it is minimally comedogenic and poses no particular risk to the pores.


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