Wouldn’t it be nice if you could definitively know the cause behind that random zit on your chin? Was it last week’s late-night cheese binge? Or the two all-nighters you pulled a few days ago because of deadlines? Or was it the new face cream you slathered on this morning that promised to give you super glowy skin? Welp, our money is on all three, but if that doesn’t give you peace of mind, maybe CosDNA will, an amazing (yet totally janky-looking) website that allows you to search any skin-care or beauty product in the world and find out which of its ingredients is most likely giving you acne or irritation. YUP.
Just type in the name of a product—or copy and paste the ingredients list into a search box—and CosDNA will analyze every single ingredient, giving it a rating of zero to five for likelihood of irritation and potential comedogenicity (a.k.a. pore-clogging capabilities). The cult-favorite CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion, for example, is filled with level-two and four acne and irritant ingredients, like cetearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol, while Vaseline has a completely “clean” rating of zero across the board. Shocking, right?
We’re not saying, though, that you should swear off CeraVe forever and start slathering your face in Vaseline (although the internet swears by Vaseline for clearing up acne), because everyone’s skin is completely different, and your mileage may vary. A foundation or moisturizer with a totally “clean” CosDNA rating, for example, might react with your skin to break you out, while a serum or blush riddled with fours and fives could end up working perfectly well with your skin. We know—it sucks that there’s no exact science.
Plus, it’s good to keep in mind that the site isn’t totally flawless. It is, first and foremost, a database, and it draws all of its ratings from the most massive, large-scale study ever conducted on the pore-clogging capabilities of different ingredients, which was tested on the inside of rabbit ears, rather than on humans (though their pores and oil glands have been shown to be pretty similar to ours). So there’s always going to be a margin of error in cosmetic testings.
Still, if you can’t figure out the mystery cause of your zits or sensitivities, CosDNA is an excellent place to start your investigation. Just plug in your current lineup of products, check for any red-flag ingredients, and start taking notes. Eventually, you’ll start to see a pattern of repeat offenders across your products, and you’ll know which ingredients to avoid next time you take a trip to the drugstore. We know it sounds like a lot of work, but in our book, 15 minutes of research is worth it for clear skin.