We all know what acne is, sadly. It`s that nasty skin condition that sticks like unwanted mud on your favorite shoes. And the more you try to get rid of it, the worse it spreads. But there is another type of acne. Less messy but just as annoying: comedones acne. A more used and known term, blackheads or bumpy skin.
Comedonal acne is a more common form of acne but less understood. Instead of the inflamed, nasty freaking pimples ( aka F acne ), comedonal acne causes bumpy skin, blackheads and non-inflamed blemishes. This happens when a hair follicle is blocked by the skin’s natural oil or sebum. One bump is called a comedo while multiple bumps are called comedones.
Comedones don’t look like regular acne. You won’t be running around with Mount Vesuvius on your forehead. They develop as small, non-inflamed bumps that can be closed or opened and just as annoying.
Comedones are most on the forehead, chin, and jawline but could develop anywhere on the face, neck, shoulders, back or chest. Symptoms can range from mild, with just a few blemishes or severe, covering a large area of the skin.
As if this didn’t suck enough already, comedones can sometimes get inflamed when you try to pop them, providing bacteria easy access to broken tissue.
Types of nastiness
Closed comedones – also known as whiteheads. This happens when a skin oil plug develops beneath the pore of a hair follicle. The resulted bump is not painful and ranges in color from creamy-white to flesh-toned. Whiteheads most often appear on the forehead, chin, and cheeks.
*Note to self and all ma’ girls: whiteheads cannot be poped since there is no pus or underlying infection. Stop trying!
I could post a picture of comedones but that would be just gross. Have a kitty instead.
Open comedones – or blackheads. This occurs when the skin oil plug is located near the opening of a pore. The dark color isn’t caused by dirt. So scrubbing your face to pieces won’t help. Melanin is a substance responsible for skin tanning in the sun. Now, when exposed to oxygen, the melanin in the dead skin cells that are mixed with the oil plug turns a dark-brown color, resulting in a blackhead. You can pop the hell out of these. You know you want to.
How to treat this sucker?
Like any other form of acne, comedones aren’t caused by a lack of hygiene, so it’s not because we are filthy. Scrubbing the skin or washing your face more frequently is unlikely to resolve3 an outbreak. As important as daily skincare is, it cannot cure or prevent comedonal acne. Fortunately, there are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications that can help. Ask the pharmacist for salicylic acid, Differin, azelaic acid or similar.
Whether you use an OTC or prescription product, it may take up to 12 weeks before you see any improvement. Stick with it, even if there are no immediate changes. Also, mind your skincare routine.