Comedonal might sound like a big word… but it really is not.
The truth is many people go through comedonal acne and do not even know. It is very common.
Comedonal acne is different from the typical pimples we have. They appear in the form of comedones (bumps on the skin).
Comedones are skin-coloured, small bumps that usually appear on the forehead or chin of those who have them, preventing the skin from appearing smooth or even.
When you have comedones on your skin, you have comedonal acne.
What causes Comedonal acne?
Comedones form on your skin as a result of excess oil and dead skin cell which block your hair follicles and skin pores.
Your skin normally shed dead skin cells but sometimes, the dead skin cells can get trapped within the hair follicles. When the dead skin cells get combined with natural oils in your pores (sebum), a plug forms which blocks the opening of your hair follicle.
Factors that trigger the formation of comedonal acne include
- Overly hydrated skin caused by humid weather conditions or moisturizing too much
- Skin contact with certain chemicals like oily pomades, dyes, propylene glycol, isopropyl myristate, etc.
- Hormonal imbalance
- Consuming foods like milk products, foods with high sugar and fat content, etc.
- Ruptured or injured follicles caused by squeezing pimples, using chemical peels, washing your skin abrasively, etc.
Types of comedonal acne
There are six different kinds of comedones that can form on the surface. They include:
Yeah, whiteheads are a type of comedonal acne. They are also known as closed comedones.
They occur when the plug forms way beneath the opening of your hair follicle. They are usually not painful, and they range in colour, from a flesh-toned colour to creamy white.
They normally appear on the chin, forehead, and cheeks.
Blackheads are also a kind of comedonal acne. They are also known as open comedones.
They occur when the oil plug forms near the opening of the hair follicle. It usually has a dark colour. This is not caused by dirt. It is caused by a chemical reaction in a skin pigment called melanin.
Melanin is responsible for skin colour. When exposed to oxygen, the melanin in the dead skin cells oxidize and turn a dark-brown colour which results in blackheads.
They type of comedones are usually very small. In fact, they are the smallest of all acne blemishes.
Microcomedones are not visible to the naked eye and can lead to larger comedones or even inflamed acne. The truth is, every pimple (inflamed acne) or comedone you ever had, began as a microcomedo.
This kind can be either opened or closed and they are usually larger than other comedones. However, most times, they are often open comedones since they are usually large enough to push to the opening of a pore.
They usually range in size from 1 millimeter to 3 millimeters in diameter.
These are the biggest kinds of comedonal acne.
They are usually blackheads and they range in size from several millimeters to two centimeters in diameter.
Instead of numerous bumps popping out on your skin, giant comedones occur as single blackheads. Basically, one will have one huge giant blackhead on their face.
This comedone affects older adults more.
Solar comedones are also called senile comedones.
They are caused by excessive exposure to sunlight over a long period of time. They can be open or closed, small or large.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause your skin to thicken and develop swollen skin pores. This usually occurs around the eyes, forehead, nose, and cheeks.
Solar comedones mostly occur in people older than 60 years but can begin to develop when one is in their 40’s if there is extreme exposure to sunlight.
How to treat comedonal acne
First, you need to know that comedonal acne is not normally caused by a lack of hygiene. So, washing your face or exfoliating might not help in treating comedonal acne (even though it is advisable to do these, to avoid other forms of acne).
Your daily skincare alone cannot do the trick, you also need the help of any of these:
These are treatment options that are applied directly to your skin to reduce excess sebum in your skin and to unclog the existing comedones.
On days you use products with any of these ingredients, make sure to wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. These ingredients are very active and can make your skin vulnerable to sunburn.
Sometimes, topical treatment might not do the trick. If that occurs, you need to see your doctor or dermatologist for a prescription that will clear the comedones once and for all.
Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or other medications that help to reduce the production of sebum and unclog your pores.
Things do not have to get this far but it still is a treatment option.
This type of treatment is necessary for recurring comedones or severe comedonal outbreaks
You can also try out home remedies like:
a. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is a natural astringent that helps to balance your skin’s moisture. It also helps to open closed comedones which can help remove the plug trapped under the surface of your skin.
b. Clay or charcoal masks
Clay or charcoal masks work better than other masks when it comes to comedonal acne. They help to dry out the trapped sebum in your pores.
They also help to get rid of trapped dirt and dead skin cells. This makes removing blackhead easier.
Here are some lifestyle changes you need to make to help comedonal acne heal and prevent it from popping up again:
- Use non-comedogenic products (both skincare and makeup) i.e products that do not clog your skin pores.
- Always wear sunscreen
- Clean your makeup brushes and applicators after every use.
- Always remove your makeup before bed.
- Make sure you wash up after a strenuous activity.
- Follow your skincare routine strictly.
- Avoid foods rich in sugar, diary, and fat.
Comedonal acne, just like every other type of acne can be treated.
If you notice you have comedonal acne, you should try out any of the treatments I listed out and make the necessary lifestyle changes.
If you have any questions or you need any help, leave a comment and let’s talk.