Why Comedones Form and What You Can Do About It

Comedones About

and Health

Comedones, sometimes called “whiteheads” or “blackheads,” are small, skin-colored bumps that form when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria mix together and clog pores. These skin blemishes usually occur on the face, neck, chest, and back. Though often attributed to poor hygiene or simply a lack of care, the truth is that comedones can form for a variety of reasons and can affect anyone, no matter how well they care for their skin. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent and treat comedones before blemishes worsen and damage your skin.

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What Causes Comedones?

Comedones occur when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria clog the pores. The cause of these clogged pores can vary, with the most common being genetic predisposition. For acne-prone skin, the body produces an excess amount of oil, which, when combined with dead skin cells, can block the pore and lead to clogged pores, blackheads, and whiteheads. Other factors that can contribute to clogged pores include sweat, hormones, certain types of makeup, and certain medications.

What Can You Do About Comedones?

The best way to prevent and treat comedones is to practice good hygiene. Properly washing and moisturizing your face regularly can help keep skin clean and reduce the chances of comedones forming. For acne-prone skin, dermatologists recommend using products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help exfoliate the skin and keep pores clear. Additionally, using a face mask a few times a week can help unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and absorb excess oil.

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If at-home treatments aren’t working and comedones worsen, you may need to see a dermatologist for more intensive treatment. Your dermatologist may recommend medication or topical products that are designed for treating acne and comedonal acne. In more severe cases, oral medications, corticosteroid injections, or laser treatment may be needed to reduce inflammation and clear clogged pores.

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The Impact of Comedones on Your Health

Though it may seem like a cosmetic issue, comedones can actually have a significant impact on your overall health. When left untreated, comedones can lead to more severe forms of acne, such as cystic acne, which can cause damage to the skin and cause scarring. Additionally, having comedones and other forms of acne can lead to feelings of self-consciousness, anxiety, and stress, which in turn can lead to a decreased quality of life.

Thankfully, by following a few simple steps and talking to your doctor, you can reduce the severity of your comedones and improve your overall skin health.