Comedonal Acne, Treatments to get rid of Comedones, Salicylic Acid, Pictures

Comedonal Acne

Comedonal acne is derived from the word comedo which means a clogged hair follicle “pore” in the skin. Just like all acne it’s the combination of oil and skin debris brings a result of comedonal acne but this time they block the follicle resulting to a black head appearance or bumpy skin near places with a slight amount of hair; mostly the chin and forehead. To understand Comedonal acne and the ways to treat the condition you need to understand what it is, what prompts it, the types of comedonal acne and ways to get rid of it?

What Is Comedonal Acne?

Comedonal acne occurs below the skin surface characterizes by open skin comedo or closed comedo skin features. The underlying mechanism is that the hair pores “follicle below the skin gets clogged with dead skin, hair, bacteria, oil and dirt which later evolve into the two types of Comedonal acne -open comedo “blackhead ” and closed comedo “whitehead.” I.e., it’s not a must for the pore to be entirely blocked; a partially blocked follicle is enough for the formation of this type of acne.

A condition like this can range from mild to severe “comedones” depending on some risk factor and sebum production. Comedones are an occurrence of resulting multiple bumps or papules with or without color on a specific area of the skin, making it seem crowded.

Types of Comedonal Acne

There are two types of comedonal acne- open and closed comedones.  These two types of acne determine whether you develop just bumps or blackhead.

Closed Comedonal “whitehead”- Appear when the pore opening is obstructed, and the skin cells, as well as a plug of oil, isn’t exposed to air.  Unlike open Comedo the filling doesn’t darken in color but appears to be as a bump on the skin; they look and feel bumpy and aren’t inflamed, neither Red nor do they hurt.

Open Comedonal “Blackheads” –Appear because of a plug of oil trapped within the hair follicle, and then the top cap which is exposed to the atmosphere is affected by air, thus darkening into a dark brown color a process known as surface pigmentation which isn’t related to dirt as some may think.

What Causes Comedones?

By now you have a crude idea of how comedones acne comes to appear; which is just like another acne, through increased sebum production, acne-causing bacteria but in the case of Comedones acne it also caused by cells lining in the sebaceous duct proliferate and especially debris blocking of the hair follicle and sebaceous.

Here are things that can lead to a Comedones Acne:

  • Smoking- smokers tend to get comedonal acne more than nonsmokers.
  • Inappropriate skin care and lack of hygiene
  • Overhydrated skin because of excess use of skin care products and or wrong moisturizer.
  • Oily skin also brings about comedonal acne
  • Imbalance and also an excess activity of some hormones, i.e., hormone 5-testosterone
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals that tend to clog the skin.
  • Excess chemical peels, laser based treatment and face scrubs.
  • Specific dietary like increases sugar or dairy food consumption. Particularly sugary or fatty foods.
  • It can also be generic, i.e., inherited
  • Regular skin picking, i.e., pimple picking which causes damage to the follicle
  • High humidity.

How to Deal With Comedonal Acne

There isn’t much difference between comedonal acne and the rest of acne. So expect the best ways of dealing with acne to be the same with comedonal acne. There are over-the-counter and prescribed medications, surgical treatments, creams and home remedy that can be used to combat Comedonal acne. Here are ways to deal with Comedonal acne both open heads and close heads;

In Office Treatments

It includes medication, surgical or chemical peels way, which are usually done under prescriptions or guided through by a dermatologist.

Use of Topical Agents

Treating acne with topical agents is very popular; they topical agents help control oil production in your skin, unclog the clogged pores and increases cell turn over.  Most of the agents are prescribed ointments, creams, or lotions which usually contain one or a combination of an ingredient like benzoyl peroxide, retinoid, etc.

Suitable topical agents include;

  • Retinoid such as adapalene isotretinoin, tretinoin,
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Sulfur
  • Azelaic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Salicylic acid

Removals and Extractors

These are just instruments used by dermatologist to treat blackheads. An example of one is round loop extract, used to remove the plug that triggered blackheads.

The dermatologist opens up the plug and then applies pressure thus removing the clog. The demerit of this mode of treatment is that it’s a temporary solution to treating comedonal acne.

Prescription Oral Medications

Over the counter medicines for can sometimes be unable to cope with comedones, so the doctor prescribes stronger oral medication that is better suited to treat the condition. They include;

  • Hormonal therapy
  • Spironolactone (Aldactone), sometimes used to control sebum production
  • Isotretinoin
  • Tretinoin (Retin-A)
  • Antibiotics can sometimes be used to improve the comedonal acne, but mostly when prescribed it’s to for acne inflammation.
  • Oral contraceptives- Some birth control pills can get rid of acne, but this isn’t a that popular in dealing with comedonal acne

Chemical Peel

Dermatologist uses chemical solutions that peel of the skin’s topmost layers, thus removing dead skin cells and clogs. It helps get rid of blackheads and whiteheads.


Surgery procedures to get rid of comedonal acne are only recommended if the condition seems to be persistent even after using other forms of treatment. Here are surgical procedures used for comedonal acne:

  • Microdermabrasion-The dermatologist uses an instrument with a rough surface to remove the topmost layer of the skin, thus removing clogged pores, blackheads, and whiteheads which also improves the skin by leaving it fresh and smooth.
  • Cryotherapy – The dermatologist applies liquid nitrogen to the comedones which then freezes them for removal.
  • Laser therapy-The dermatologist beams intense light to decrease oil production, removes the comedones acne and kill bacteria.

Home Remedies for Dealing with Comedonal Acne

If you have been dealing with acne, I know that it is not new that people use things at home to get rid of acne. These are pure forms of treatment that can help you free of the comedonal acne. Here are the best home remedies to get rid of comedonal acne;

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is prevalent in a variety of skin ailments. It not only helps with inflammation as well as infections but also reduces sebum production and calms the skin. All this are a plus when it comes to dealing with comedonal acne.

You can purchase it in drug stores and follow the instruction on the product which is to apply a small quantity to the affected area.

Exfoliating With Baking Soda

What exfoliation does is to remove dead skin and unclogs on skin pore which is an effective way of dealing with comedonal acne. Baking soda is a very effective scrubber/cleanser and is one of the best home remedies for exfoliation.


  • To make a scrubbing paste, mix water with baking soda
  • After that a paste has formed, gently scrub it on your face for 5-10 minutes- slow and steady will do the jog
  • Then wash off the baking soda paste with warm water

If done regularly you sure won’t have comedonal acne anymore- once a day is Ok.

Charcoal or clay masks

Charcoal and clay masks are getting more popular and accessible when it comes to skin care. What Charcoal or clay covers do to help with comedonal acne is it dries out trapped sebum in your pores gets rid of trapped dirt and skin cells.

Apple cider vinegar

Another regular acne remover is apple cider vinegar. In matters of dealing with comedonal, it dries out the pores thus reducing sebum in them, reduces inflammation and also act as antibacterial to bacteria causing acne.


  • Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces of warm water


  • Mix the two components together
  • Apply on your face on the affected area.
  • Wait for 15 to 25 minutes then watch off the mixture with warm water

If done regularly you sure won’t have comedonal acne anymore- once a day is Ok.

Facial steam

Facial steaming encourages the plugged pores to start opening up and also help reduce sebum and dirt in the follicles thus helping in getting rid of comedonal acne.


  • Boil some water
  • Put it in a bowl
  • Put your face and neck over the bowl but fur enough not to get burned and a towel to cover the steam from quickly escaping.

How to Prevent Comedones from Spreading

Preventing comedonal acne and its spread is simple but requires some discipline.

  • Don’t pop, squeeze or touch blackheads or whiteheads
  • Avoid touching your face during the day.
  • DO NOT use hair products on the skin
  • Avoid any oil-based skin care products on your neck and face

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