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Comedonal Acne: Signs and How to Treat
Comedonal acne is a common form of acne that most guys will deal with at some point. Find out the signs of comedonal acne and the best ways to treat it.
If you’ve ever struggled with blackheads and whiteheads, then you’ve had comedonal acne. This type of acne develops when hair follicles in the skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, resulting in lesions known as comedones.
Comedones can be either open or closed. Open comedones are called blackheads, while closed comedones are called whiteheads. There are also some large comedones that appear as skin-colored bumps on the surface of the skin.
Unlike pustules and papules, comedones aren’t red and inflamed—yet. If you don’t act swiftly to treat them, they may develop into painful, red bumps that are difficult to treat.
Here are three things you need to know to identify and treat your comedonal acne:
- Comedonal acne is a type of noninflammatory acne that includes whiteheads and blackheads.
- The best way to treat comedonal acne is by using a Salicylic Acid-based treatment.
- A regular skin care system is key to preventing comedonal acne.
Signs of Comedonal Acne
The first step to treating any type of acne effectively is by identifying the specific type of acne you’re dealing with. Comedones such as whiteheads and blackheads are considered milder forms of acne, appearing most often on the nose, chin and forehead.
Closed Comedones—Closed comedones (whiteheads) appear in the form of white bumps on the skin. This white substance is a combination of oil and dead skin cells that hasn’t been exposed to the air.
Open Comedones—Open comedones (blackheads) are identifiable by their tiny black dots that appear to fill the pores of our skin. The black debris you see isn’t dirt, but rather a buildup of oil and dead skin cells that has turned black after being exposed to air.
Macrocomedones—A less common type of closed comedone, macrocomedones look like large blackheads. Also known as giant comedones, they typically have a diameter of 2-3 mm or larger and may prove more difficult to treat compared to regular-sized whiteheads and blackheads.
Treatments for Comedonal Acne
Fortunately, comedonal acne is much easier to treat compared to more severe forms of acne, such as painful cysts and nodules (aka, cystic acne). With the right acne treatment products and a few key ingredients, getting rid of blackheads and whiteheads can be relatively fast and simple.
Salicylic Acid—One of the best ways to treat comedonal acne is by using Salicylic Acid to zap blackheads and whiteheads fast. Salicylic Acid is a particularly powerful acne-fighting ingredient due to its natural exfoliating abilities and comedolytic (comedone-inhibiting) properties.
Although it doesn’t hurt to include this ingredient in your facial wash, Salicylic Acid is most effective in an acne cream that you leave on your skin. This gives the ingredient time to sink into the skin and work its magic.
Retinoids—Retinoids are used for more than just combating fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids such as tretinoin have also been shown to have comedolytic properties, making them yet another effective acne treatment option. According to a 2017 study published in Dermatology and Therapy, retinoids are also a relatively underutilized acne treatment option, with only 58 percent of dermatologists prescribing them for acne patients (see claim: “…a recent study of prescribing practices from 2012 to 2014 indicated that dermatologists prescribed retinoids just 58.8% of the time.”)
Exfoliation—If you don’t already use a facial scrub, now is a good time to start. Exfoliating regularly (once or twice a week) will prevent dead skin cell buildup that leads to clogged hair follicles and comedonal acne.
Speaking of exfoliation, getting a regular facial or microdermabrasion treatment may be worth considering as well. Although research is still relatively scarce, a 2001 study published in Dermatologic Surgery found that microdermabrasion was safe and effective at treating acne lesions in patients (see claim: “The use of microdermabrasion in this pilot study appeared to produce a positive effect on the improvement of acne.”)
A Foolproof System for Treating Comedonal Acne
Although comedonal acne isn’t the worst type of acne in the world, it can still lead to frustration and long-lasting acne scars. To get rid of your comedones and keep them at bay, you need to use the right skin care system at the right frequency.
Tiege Hanley’s Acne Treatment System makes it super simple for guys to get rid of their stubborn comedonal acne. If you haven’t tried it yet, check it out and let us know what you think!