This might come across as something surprising, but in addition to all the types of acne that exist, comedones also happen to be one of them. If you don’t know what comedone is, then allow us to explain it in detail.
Generally, comedones are one of the various types of acne. These are tiny in shape and either dark in appearance or flesh-coloured. Dermatologists characterise a blackhead or whitehead instead of pimples in simpler terms.
Comedones appear on the face, usually causing the skin to look bumpy and uneven. Since this can affect almost anyone, it is better to stay safe and read more about the preventive measures and options you could go for if you are suffering from comedones.
Before we jump into the depth of this article, it is crucial to understand that, unlike the painful, red, and inflamed acne, comedones are the total opposite. They are non-painful pimples that develop over the hair follicles.
Comedones are filled with oil, bacteria, and accumulated dead skin, making a bump on your skin. Therefore, it is essential to distinguish and identify them accordingly to opt for the skincare routine that will efficiently help you get rid of them.
In this article, we will learn how to identify comedones, the effective ways to avoid them, what skincare changes you need to make in your routine, and many more.
Closed Comedones and Identification
Comedones are painless pimples consisting of oil, dirt, and dead skin trapped in a hair follicle. Once this happens, the strand tends to become swollen, making a bump on your skin. That bump is a comedone.
However, there are two types of comedones:
- Open Comedones
- Closed Comedones
An open comedone is the one exposed to air. Thus, all the sebum oil dirt gets into the open follicle and combines with the skin cells and forms a plug. This plug oxidises with the air. After the oxidation has taken place, the plug’s colour turns black, creating a blackhead.
A closed comedone is a comedone that does not come in contact with air. Hence they are covered with a white head. These whiteheads are also known as milia and can appear yellow as well as hard upon touch.
Typically stated, comedone acne is non-inflammatory. These lesions don’t contain any bacteria or pus that can trigger acne. They are not red or tender while touching.
Further classification of comedones is the following way stated:
- Giant Comedones: Giant comedones are a type of cyst. Such comedones have a large lesion with an opening similar to a blackhead.
- Macro Comedones: Macro comedones are close comedones larger than 2-3 millilitres.
- Micro Comedones: Micro comedones are incredibly tiny in appearance. These small comedones are usually not visible.
- Solar Comedones: Solar comedones are a result of damage inflicted due to the sun’s rays. These comedones are in adults, primarily on the cheeks.
Anyone going through comedone acne can be affected by various types all at once. On the other hand, people affected by inflammatory acne can also be victims of comedones apart from the vast red and tender blemishes.
Causes of Comedones
Before we discover the ways to eliminate comedones and make one’s skin smooth and even again, it is vital to know its causes.
In most cases, comedones happen due to trapped hair follicles. Dead skin also gets trapped in these follicles. Therefore, a plug forms when these combine with the natural oils in the sebum (pores).
Adults with oily skin are primarily victims of comedones. But it is also common in people who tend to smoke. Other reasons include:
- Having a high consumption of dairy.
- Living in environments that have high levels of humidity.
- Skin treatments such as chemical peels and laser therapy.
- Injury of the follicle by picking or popping comedones.
While both white and blackheads happen due to blocked hair follicles, the main culprit is the excess oil when it comes to the development of comedones.
Ways to Eliminate Comedones
Now that we have discussed all the pointers, it is fair to reveal some tips to eliminate comedones that are nothing more than a hassle.
Following are some of the ways to get rid of comedones entirely:
Even though natural remedies are entering the treatment lines, it is better to talk to your healthcare adviser first to treat any type of acne and comedones.
When it comes to comedonal acne, charcoal and clay masks work the best compared to any other options. The reason being is that they aid in drying out trapped sebum in the pores. In addition to that, they help make blackhead removal easier.
More natural remedies include the use of witch hazel and tea tree oil.
In cases of topical treatment, one can directly apply the cream to the skin to control the excess sebum and unclog comedones. Options include:
- Glycolic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Benzoyl Peroxide
Wear sunscreen (with an SPF of 30 or more) while wearing these products. Since these are potent treatments, they can damage the outer layer of the skin, making it vulnerable to sunburns.
Even though natural remedies or topical treatments may help you clear up comedones reasonably, medications are also available.
You must talk to your dermatologist in detail before trying options such as:
- Oral contraceptives
- Isotretinoin (Accutane)
As for topical treatments, there is a risk of sunburn, so it is vital to wear sunscreen and prevent further skin damage.
You might have to undergo surgery if topical treatments, medications, and natural remedies fail to eliminate those comedones. The doctor will make small incisions using a small blade or needle during this surgery.
Microdermabrasion is also a popular surgery option used to treat closed comedones. A machine will blow tiny crystals into the comedone area during this surgery. This makes it easier for comedones to open up, thus making it even easier to remove.
However, your doctor will recommend the better option.
It is significant to note that even though comedonal acne is not inflammatory or causes redness, it can be uncomfortable to deal with it.
Since it can be challenging to treat comedones, it is better to reach out to a professional doctor so that they can help you opt for a better treatment option. Patience is also crucial while dealing with acne, as it takes time for the treatment to show its effects.
One must also note that comedonal acne requires long term management and treatment to improve over time. Thus, if you haven’t been able to do anything for your comedonal acne, then reach out to a dermatologist immediately.