Comedones: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Comedones are small flesh-colored papules which are usually found on the forehead and chin. These papules are seen when a person is dealing with acne breakouts and it makes our skin bumpy and uneven. This can develop in anyone, but most common in adolescents.

In this article, we will discuss various causes, symptoms, and the various treatments available for it.

What is comedonal acne?

There are many types of acne and comedonal acne is characterized by small fleshy papules which reduce the smoothness of our skin and make it uneven. It is non-inflammatory and thus does not contain pus or bacterial infection. Its lesions are small and are not tender to touch.

The appearance of this acne is slightly different from inflammatory acne because it involves the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.


Blackheads are open comedones whereas whiteheads are closed ones. Some might not be visible to the naked eye, so these are called microcomedones while some might be larger than normal blackheads and whiteheads, called macrocomedones. 

What causes comedonal acne?

Comedones are formed when excess oil and dead skin cells block the sebaceous glands, leading to bumps and uneven skin. There are many other factors too, which can lead to comedonal acne, like excessive testosterone production, leads to increase in synthesis of oil in  the skin and usage of harsh chemicals and dyes on the skin cause this condition.

People who smoke are more likely to suffer from comedonal acne and those who consume excess milk or sugar, can also have this type of acne.


It is very important to prevent comedonal acne and various lifestyle changes along with proper treatment can help in preventing comedonal acne.

Skin care products like oil free face washes, cleansers work very well in removing dirt and oil present in the skin. Oil free Moisturisers and lotions should also be used to hydrate the skin and keep it fresh and glowing.

Following good skin care tips and avoiding some bad habits is helpful in long term prevention of comedonal acne and inflamed pimples. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are also important for keeping the skin young and preventing acne breakouts.

Comedones treatment

The key methods to treat or stop such acne breakout is to work on the actual cause behind such condition, that is to reduce the excess sebum production by the sebaceous glands. So, before going for a treatment or medication, one should consult a dermatologist and prevent pricking of any kind of pimples.

Topical treatments

Topical treatments are directly applied on the skin to reduce sebum secretion and unclog existing  comedones. Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinoids, sulphur are some of the options available that can be used. 

Wearing sunscreen during this treatment is highly necessary as these remove the top more layer of the skin, thus increasing the risk of sun damage. 

Surgical treatments

If these tropical treatments are not working efficiently, then the dermatologist may recommend some surgical methods to permanently prevent them from coming back. These include microdermabrasion, cryotherapy and electrosurgery.

Natural remedies

Various natural methods are being discovered to treat all types of acne and it is seen that because of their anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant effects these remedies are highly beneficial. 

There are many natural home remedies available for the treatment of comedonal acne:

  • Tea tree oil is used for treating many skin related problems and it helps in preventing inflammation in the skin. It reduces the excess sebum and dirt present in the skin and makes the skin surface smooth and clean.
  • Witch hazel acts as a natural astringent and helps in balancing the moisture present in the skin. It removes the trapped dirt, microbes and dead skin materials.
  • Charcoal or clay masks have proved highly efficient in treating comedonal acne because it helps in drying the excess sebum present in clog pores and helps in getting rid of excess trapped dirt and dead skin cells. 

    Comedone extractors are even used to get rid of blackheads. It is used to remove the dirt and skin plugs that eventually leads to comedonal acne.

    Comedonal acne cannot be treated on its own, so a proper medical advice is required and one should prefer using medically reviewed treatments available in the market.

    It's important to note that comedonal acne requires long term treatment and management, so one should remain patient and  do as directed by the dermatologist.


    1. How to get rid of comedones naturally?

    We can get rid of these by various natural methods and remedies. Using tea tree oil, witch hazel, honey, aloe vera, etc, at our homes only, helps in removing the excess sebum, dirt, and microbes present in the skin.

    2. Does exfoliating help closed comedones?

    Using chemical exfoliators for treating closed comedones on the forehead is a very good solution because these exfoliators remove the dead skin cells and sebum present in the skin, thus clearing the closed comedones.

    3. Do comedones go away?

    Closed comedones can go away on their own without much treatment but, most of the time they don't, and proper treatment is required for treating this condition. 

    4. How do I reduce comedones from the face?

    Maintaining a proper skincare routine, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can help in preventing the occurrence of blackheads and whiteheads on the face. 

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