Simply Speaking: Comedogenic

Cosmetics jargon simplified
"Keep things simple" has been one of our guiding principles. In keeping with our pursuit of demystifying (sorry, explaining) complex-sounding terms in simple terms, we take a look at "comedogenic". In our much-loved Q&A format!


What is the meaning of comedogenic?

"Comedo" is Latin for blackhead - dirt or fatty matter in a skin duct. "Genic" means "producing" or "favoring"- as in photogenic. 
Comedogenic therefore literally means "blackhead causing", and is conventionally accepted to be acne-causing, since clogged pores are an important cause of acne.


What are comedogenic and non-comedogenic ingredients? 

The average adult has around 5 million pores on his skin (one for each hair, which is all over the body, even if invisible). Ingredients that have the tendency to accumulate in the pores and jam them up are comedogenic. Ingredients that do not have this tendency are non-comedogenic. These are the two extremes, and there are lots of ingredients in between.


What happens when pores are blocked?

The skin is a very active organ within, although it looks calm on the outside. When pores clog, the natural excretion of sebum and dead cells from the skin reduces. This leads to, you guessed it - comedos! This build-up is a great place for bacteria to establish themselves, and when they do that, the skin responds with redness and swelling, which is what we see as acne or pimples.


So I should avoid comedogenic ingredients?

If you have very oily, acne-prone skin - yes. Otherwise I wouldn't worry too much about comedogenicity, provided I am regular with cleansing, moisturising and exfoliating my skin.


How do I know which ingredients are comedogenic?

There are lots of half-truths floating around, but two good lists can be found here and here. You can also ask us by sending us a mail at


I have acne-prone skin. What should I do?

This question needs a detailed answer and we promise to answer this for you soon. There are tons of resources out there but don't believe everything you read or see on advertisements! Understand the science behind things, and you will be able to choose smartly.


Cheers, Be Good!

About Plum

Plum GoodnessInspired by global best practices in safe natural cosmetics and beauty solutions, Plum is an exclusive, online-only beauty brand. At Plum, we bring together science and product expertise in a harmonious blend. And we give back to nature as much as we take. Designed in London and in the EU, all Plum products are 100% vegan and free of Parabens, DEP, DBP, Propylene Glycol, SLS, PABA, DEA and other harmful chemicals. Plum is available directly from Click here to explore our product range.


1 On-Site Comment
Tejaswini Singh
Tejaswini Singh

February 20, 2016

Hello Plum Goodness , I am a regular buyer of your green tea mattifying mosturizer …. This formulation has worked like a dream for me… I have seen bad skin days with all those acne coming up on my skin BUT VOILA !!!!!!!!!!!!!
WITH the use of THIS VERY PRODUCT """ GREEN TEA MATTIFYING MOSTURIZER"" , my skin feels like a dream…. All my acne is gone …literally VANISHED … I have a gorgeous skin now and after the results , I have been faithful to this mosturizer since 2 years now and wish to keep the relationship for a lifetime :)


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

How much is: