Understanding Comedonal Acne and How to Treat It

Comedonal acne is a pattern of acne, a non-inflammatory type, in which lesions present as comedones. When oil or dead skin cells clog a hair follicle, it causes the development of small bumps, which characterizes it. It typically occurs on the face (forehead, chin, and jawline). But they can also form on the neck, shoulders, chest and back.

Blackheads are open comedones that have a black color because of the surface pigment melanin.

On the other hand, Whiteheads are closed comedones that appear as small white or flesh-colored dots which occur when the hair follicle is completely blocked.

Several factors such as genetics, hormones, chemicals & dyes in products, diet, and smoking influence the development of comedones. This type of acne is also more common in individuals with oily skin.

Although inflammation is not typically associated with comedonal acne, it can still be frustrating and difficult to treat.

There are several treatment options available for comedonal acne, including:

Topical agents:

  • Topical retinoids
  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Azelaic acid

Oral medications:

  • Hormonal therapy
  • Isotretinoin

Surgical treatments:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrosurgery
  • Microdermabrasion

We can prevent or reduce comedonal acne outbreaks by changing the way we care for our skin. The following are some tips that may help prevent pore blockage:

  • Washing your face twice a day – use mild soap and water
  • Use skin products that will not clog the pores – use non-comedogenic moisturizers, cleansers, and cosmetics.
  • Regularly clean your make-up brushes and applicators – oil and dead skin cells can build-up on the bristles and pads. You may wash them using warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  • Remove your makeup off before sleeping – one may use fragrance-free, non-alcohol makeup remover to avoid irritation.
  • Wash after strenuous activity – perspiration and oil may stay on the skin.

It pays to be informed

Talk to your healthcare provider or a licensed skin care professional if you have any questions about your acne or which treatment is best for you.

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