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What are Comedones?


Comedones are the blocked hair follicle (pore) that are present in the skin. Comedones are small or can be big depending on the skin condition. They are often present on the forehead, chin and nasolabial fold. A long term inflammatory situation which includes comedones and pimples is called acne.

Types of Comedones

  • Blackheads; are open comedones filled with surface melanin that’s why they appear black in color.
  • Whiteheads; are closed comedones which follicle is entirely blocked.
  • Microcomedones; tiny comedones which are not visible with naked eye.
  • Macrocomedones; are visible facial comedones with diameter having 2-3 mm.
  • Cyst; is a jumbo comedo which has clear blackheads opening in the skin.
  • Solar Comedones; are the result of sun damage. They frequently occur at chin and cheeks of the older people.

What causes comedones?

The increase in sebum production due to rapid increment of sebaceous duct around cells give rise to Comedones. There are various factors which ensures the production of comedones on skin. Some of the factors are: side effects of cosmetic products, oily skin, hereditary and improper diet.

The major factors triggering the development of comedones are:

  • Hyper active male sex hormone 5-testosterone within the skin cells.
  • Reduction of linoleate – the salt present in linoleic acid, essential fatty acid.
  • Acne bacteria creating free fatty acids form sebum.
  • Too much hydration in skin, oily and greasy skin.
  • Reaction of certain chemicals present in the cosmetic products and chemically created face wash products.
  • Smoking; people with excessive smoking habit tend to have comedones more than average person.
  • Improper diet; consumption of oily food, too much dairy products.

What is Comedonal Acne?

The series of comedones lesions frequently formed on the skin (chin and forehead mostly) is called comedonal acne. Infection may cause inflammation and forms the pus. The amount of comedones and infection classifies the acne.


What is the treatment of comedonal acne?

Comedonal acne can be treated with certain change in everyday activity such as:

  • Reduce or stop the usage of chemically created cosmetic products.
  • Use oil-free products on skin.
  • Wash your face twice (morning and evening) with mild soap.
  • Quit Smoking
  • Have low sugar, dairy products and fat.

You can opt for comedolytic topical medications. Use it on the affected area. Some of the best topical agents are Benzoyl Peroxide, Azelaic acid, Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, Retinoids (tretinoin, adapalene, isotretinoin). Always consult a doctor before using them.

Some oral medications to reduce comedonal acne are Hormonal therapy and Isotretinoin. Antibiotics are used to treat inflammatory comedonal acne.

In the worst case surgical treatments are require to completely get rid of persistent comedones:

  • Electrosurgery
  • Cryotherapy
  • Microdermabrasion

Remember it’s not magic or miracle. The treatment may take months to give you best results. In worse case, it can go up to 3 months or more. But be patience, you will get the best results.

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