How to identify and treat closed comedones

How to identify and treat closed comedones

Nobody likes to have closed comedones, especially if they are very visible. Despite this, do not be tempted to pull them out with your fingers as soon as they appear.

How to identify and treat closed comedones

Last update: 15 January, 2022

Closed comedones are one small cysts that appear on the skin, which are associated with acne, and they are difficult to treat. They look like bumps or lumps and correspond to clogged pores. They are also known as pimples or white dots.

Typically, closed comedones appear on the face or back. They give the skin an irregular and rough texture. These types of lesions are formed by the accumulation of dead cells and fat.

Closed comedones can often be treated with over-the-counter products.. Other times they require professional intervention. They affect people of all ages, but are most common in adolescents and adults with oily skin.

How are closed comedones?

Closed comedones, in their typical form, look like a bump on the surface of the skin. They have a white dot in the center, even though is not always like that. Some just look like lumps without any coloration.

When they have a diameter of less than 1 millimeter, they are called microcomedones. If they are larger, they are called macrocomedones.

Unlike pustules, which are other acne lesions, closed comedones are not surrounded by a reddened patch. What distinguishes them from the open ones is that here skin grows over the plug formed in the clogged pore. In the open ones, which are also called black spots, there is no skin covering, but they are exposed to the air.

Blackheads are open comedones, therefore they are in contact with the air through a hole.


closed comedones they form when a pore becomes clogged by the presence of dead skin cells and other debris. Thus, the sebum, which reaches the surface of the skin through the pores, begins to accumulate and hardens.

Sebum is a natural oily substance that lubricates the skin. When it builds up and hardens, due to a clogged pore, it creates the conditions for bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes.

Sometimes the skin responds to these bacteria by growing on the plug itself.. In this way, he makes a kind of airtight pocket that contains these microorganisms. Closed comedones form at this point.

In some cases, sebum production is accelerated and this makes a person more prone to developing this type of comedones. This acceleration occurs during adolescence, in smokers and in adults with oily skin.

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Other influencing factors are as follows:

  • Excessive washing of the skin.
  • Humidity in the environment.
  • Diet rich in sugars, dairy and fats.
  • Diet lacking in linoleate, a substance that is usually found in vegetable oils.
  • Hormonal changes prior to menstruation.
  • Application of moisturizers in excess.

Approaches to treat closed comedones

Treatment of closed comedones depends on the severity of the problem. However, the first thing to say is that it is not a good idea to remove them manually in front of the bathroom mirror. This can have several negative effects.

A poorly extracted comedone can end up irritated, infected and even form scars that are very difficult to eradicate. If you choose to remove them, it is best to go to a professional beautician or dermatologist.

Over-the-counter treatments

There are several over-the-counter products that can be effective to treat closed comedones, as long as the problem is mild. Among the most popular are the following:

  • Benzoyl peroxide: reduces yeast and bacteria on the surface of the skin, as well as inflammation.
  • Azelaic Acid: reduces the growth of bacteria in the follicles. It also relieves inflammation and restores the normal growth of skin cells.
  • Salicylic acid: Helps break down keratin. It slows down the rate at which cells within the follicles are shed.
  • Retinoids: regulate the natural exfoliation of the skin and increase collagen production. This reduces the number of dead cells and prevents the formation of closed comedones.
  • Glycolic Acid: It provides a natural exfoliation and this prevents the formation of comedones of all kinds.

Medicines to treat closed comedones

If there is a severe problem of closed comedones, the dermatologist will most likely opt for the use of some prescription medications. Hormonal therapy is usually indicated.

In difficult cases, isotretinoin or other similar drugs may be prescribed. However, this is usually the last option.

professional treatments

It is possible that in some cases the dermatologist recommend treatments such as microdermabrasion, mesotherapy, or chemical peels. These procedures are often effective in improving skin quality and preventing closed comedones.

Microdermabrasion treats some skin problems. It cannot always be applied and should be indicated by a professional.

an annoying problem

Ideally, any of the above measures should be complemented with a healthy diet.. Likewise, it is important that routine skin cleansing is done properly, without exaggeration and with the correct products.

Closed comedones are not a serious problem, although they are annoying. However, they can become a huge headache if they are treated in the wrong way.

The most appropriate thing is to prevent the appearance of these bumps through measures as simple as proper skin hygiene. It is also very important to do two exfoliations per week. Do not exaggerate in this, but do not neglect either.

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