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Comedonal Acne

How to know that you have Comedonal Acne and ways to manage it

You might have heard about zits, pimples, pustules or acne but ”comedonal acne” is not the one that you hear often. Comedonal acne is often referred to as those tiny painless bumps appearing on your face.

Unlike pimples, comedonal acne is not inflammatory, so it does not cause redness or pain of any kind. However, the good news is that it is very common and simple to treat.

What to expect in the Horizon?

What is Comedonal Acne?

Comedone is the small, skin or dark-coloured acne papules on the face. Usually, they also show up on the cheek or chin. There are two common types of comedonal acne including blackheads or whiteheads.

Blackheads are the open comedones while whiteheads are the closed ones. You can identify them based on their sizes including:-

  • One that is visible is known as the micro-comedones
  • The larger ones which can be seen easily are called giant comedones
  • On the other hand, the whiteheads are called macro-comedones.

How to identify Comedonal Acne?

If you want to identify comedonal acne, then it is important to look for these details:-

Blackheads are open comedones. It occurs when melanin pigment, present in your sebum comes in contact with environmental factors. This sebum then oxidizes turning it into a dark colour.

Whiteheads, are close to the skin surface and are identified as small skin-colour dots which are bumpy on touching. Whiteheads are also considered the reason for making your skin look rough.

Comedonal acne can be identified also by mapping your face and marking the sites where the bumps are present. Comedones are usually located on the parts of your face with a high concentration of oil glands.

This means your T-Zone including nose, chin and forehead. Comedonal acne can also be caused due to fluctuations in hormones. So, if you notice those small bumps around your jawline then it's mostly due to periods.

What are the causes of Comedonal Acne?

Generally, Comedonal Acne is caused by the clogging of pores due to the collection of dead skin cells or sebum. Some daily lifestyle habits could increase the risk including:-

Products that make your skin Oily

External factors include pore-blocking products such as makeup, moisturizer or sunscreen could leave your skin feeling oily if not chosen the right one. This could be prevented by cleansing the face with oil-free and non-comedogenic products.

Hormonal Changes

Comedonal Acne could be caused due to hormonal changes that trigger the overproduction of oil. This overproduction could result in the collection of dead skin cells which fail to shed. This is why comedonal acne is common among teenagers because of the fluctuation of hormones.


Among smokers, comedonal acne is one of the most prevalent types. It has been found that chain smokers are more prone to having comedones. This is because smoking causes damaging effects on the dermal elastic tissue.


It has been found that people with a high-glycemic diet are more prone to having comedonal acne. Sugary foods or highly processed food items could cause the acne to flare up. The way to fix it is to replace your food items with healthy ones including veggies, brown rice or quinoa.


One of the main factors that can lead to acne is stress. It’s important to manage stress, the best way is to exercise which could increase the levels of endorphins. You get to sleep deeper and better as a result of this.

What are the ways to reduce and manage Comedonal Acne?

Adding Retinol to the skincare routine


The topical application of Retinol could help in speeding up cell turnover. For those with skin prone to acne, this is especially helpful as it helps prevent the formation of comedone acne.

Retinol being derived from Vitamin A helps in reducing skin inflammation by directly reducing the keratin proliferation in the follicle. Retinoids have higher concentrations of retinoic acid, the active molecule in it.

Cleansing your face with AHA/BHA wash

Cleansers packed with salicylic acid or glycolic acid can help exfoliate dead skin cells. This directly helps in loosening the clogged pores which reduces the chances of comedonal acne. It is recommended to use face wash or topical treatments packed with AHAs and BHAs.

Opt for Azelaic acid



The best way is to use serum packed with Azelaic acid as it is the best way to treat comedonal acne. It helps in soothing and exfoliating the skin which makes it a multitasking ingredient. The best-recommended percentage is 10% Azelaic acid, the most suitable for everyone.

Applying Matte Moisturizer

Matte moisturizers can aid in reducing comedonal acne by providing hydration without adding excess oil. These products typically contain non-comedogenic ingredients that won't clog pores, helping to maintain skin balance.

The matte finish also reduces shine, making it suitable for oily or acne-prone skin. This helps prevent the accumulation of sebum and dead skin cells, minimizing the risk of comedones and promoting clearer skin.

Take Aways

Open and closed comedones arise from pores obstructed by surplus sebum and buildup, resembling acne—albeit not the painful, red, inflamed kind. Consequently, remedies for acne, such as cleansing with salicylic acid and applying topical retinoid creams, are effective in addressing comedones as well.

P.S.:- Simplifying your skincare routine is the best way possible to reduce comedonal acne. The 4-step routine including cleaning, rejuvenating, targeting and nourishing could do it all.


Q. Is benzoyl peroxide good for comedonal acne?

Ans. Benzoyl peroxide is generally more effective in treating inflammatory acne rather than comedonal acne. Non-inflammatory spots such as open and closed comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) are the characteristics of comedonal acne. While benzoyl peroxide can have some efficacy in preventing and treating comedones by reducing bacteria and excess oil, other ingredients like salicylic acid or retinoids are often more specifically recommended for addressing comedonal acne.

Q. Does comedonal acne go away?

Ans. Comedonal acne can improve and, in many cases, resolve with proper skin care and treatment. Consistent use of topical agents like salicylic acid or retinoids, along with gentle cleansing and moisturizing, can help unclog pores and prevent further comedone formation. If concerns persist, consulting a dermatologist for personalized advice is advisable.

Q. How to treat comedonal acne?

Ans. Treat comedonal acne with salicylic acid for exfoliation, topical retinoids to prevent pore blockage and non-comedogenic products. Gently cleanse and avoid picking to minimize irritation.

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