Comedonal acne

Comedonal acne

comedonal acne treatment

What is comedonal acne?

Comedonal acne is usually unknown to the general public. You probably know more about whiteheads or blackheads. Comedonal acne is more commonly used in medical terms. If you have been suffering from regular comedones, you need to know that this is not a condition which is affected by poor hygiene. First, before we discuss the aspects about these pimples, you need to understand how and why there is a buildup of them on your face.

Comedones, or blackheads, are yellowish or blackish bump or plug on the skin. This is a very common condition and you would find that these pimples are classified as acne vulgaris. The reason why there is a buildup of closed comedones on the skin is related to the entrapment of oil in the sebaceous glands on the skin. They are made up of keratin and modified sebum, secreted from the sebaceous glands, and they darken as they oxidize with time. Basically, clogged comedones are just like your acne and removing them is not a difficult task.

Blackheads vs whiteheads

Comedones, or comedonal acne, are formed when the skin pores get clogged by dirt, other cells, tiny hair or bacteria. These comedones are usually of two types and the more common ones of them are known as blackheads. The less common example of comedones is the whiteheads and the reason behind them being so lies in the fact that there is no opening in these them. Due to the absence of an opening, there are no chances of oxidization and this removes the chances of any kind of discoloration of the them. The comedonal acne is a special condition and it is treated like any other acne vulgaris condition. It is considered to be non-inflammatory acne and it is mainly made up of blackheads. The skin usually turns bumpy and may feel like a sandpaper. There are some simple steps for treating comedonal acne and you can follow them to get rid of it completely.

Comedonal acne treatments

The comedonal acne treatment is not hard and since this is considered to be a mild form of acne, you can follow some simple steps to get rid of the condition. For mild to moderate forms you might start using a comedone extractor to get rid of blackheads. It is just a metal loop on a stick, usually the size of a pencil. The loop is pressed over a blackhead, and the stick pulled. The comedone is gently extracted. Comedone extractors are a hygienic alternative to remove blackheads with your fingernails. These extractors are meant to take out the blackheads that are stuck in your skin. The process and way of using these extractors to remove blackheads is quite simple and you would find that they do a great job of freeing up your skin.

For those suffering from severe forms many tried and tested treatments that are now available. Read on to discover the most effective comedonal acne treatments.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Mild acne outbreaks are often treated with a Benzoyl Peroxide lotion.  It penetrates deep inside pores to reduce the formation of acne bacteria, and inhibits the chemical processes that cause the hair follicles to plug. Some even recommend Benzoyl Peroxide for its peeling effects. Benzoyl Peroxide is often paired with an antibiotic for a superior combined effect to get rid of comedonal acne.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter treatments for acne. It’s a keratolytic, which means it encourages skin peeling.  Applied directly onto the skin, salicylic acid enters the hair follicle and acts as an exfoliant, causing dead skin cells to shed (and hence keeping pores blockage free).  Typically bought as a lotion or cream, salicylic acid is usually applied one a daily. However, it needs to be used constantly, otherwise the effects will fade. It also has a drying effect, so it usually used with a non-comedogenic moisturizer.


Tretinoin is sold under many brand names, including Renova and Retin-A.  It’s a form of Vitamin A that helps remove the blocked follicle goo that causes whiteheads and blackheads by increasing skin cell production rate.  This process can, however, irritate the skin, sometimes even causing blistering.  Also, some users complain of dryness and increases susceptibility towards sunburns – for this reason, Tretinoin is prescription only, so you’ll have to go see your doctor

Tretinoin does have a bonus – it reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and crows feet.


Isotretinoin is only used for the most severe outbreaks of pustular acne. It’s a big hitter, and is often the treatment of last choice.  Like Tretinoin, it’s a form of Vitamin A and is used over the course of four to six months.  The most common brand names are Accutane and Roaccutane

Isotretinoin reduces sebum production and the size of oil glands, and encourages exfoliation of dead skin cells from hair follicles. The dramatically reduced sebum production means that acne bacteria finds it harder to flourish.  Isotretinoin also reduces the rate at which skin cells are produce inside ports, thus reducing clogging. For most suffers, Isotretinoin has a permanent effect.

This comedonal acne treatment, however, can have some very serious side effects.  We’re talking about everything from dry, cracked lips to birth defects in pregnant women. The potentially-dangerous side effects means that only consultant dermatologists can prescribe it.

Resorcinol and Sulfur

Usually found together, Resorcinol and Sulfur are a popular over-the-counter comedonal acne treatment.  Resorcinol is a skin-peeling agent that causes blackhead and whiteheads to flake and break apart. When combined, the two ingredients supress sebum production.

Common brands include Clearasil Stick and Rezamin Acne Treatment Lotion

Acne antibiotics

Antibiotics inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria.  When prescribed orally, antibiotics can cause upset stomachs and intestinal problems. Common oral antibiotics for treating acne include tretracycline, doxycycline and minocycline.

Acne bacteria (Propionebacterium acnes) thrives on sebum, irritating sebaceous glands, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads.  Minocycline acts against this bacteria, thus reducing the appearance of comedones.