Let’s go step-by-step shall we?
Firstly, What Causes Comedonal Acne?
Comedonal acne is caused when the sebaceous ducts are blocked with dirt, debris, and sebum. While anyone can get comedonal acne at any point in time, certain factors increase the risk:
- Dairy (such as yogurt, milk, and cheese) consumption may cause acne.
- Diet with a high glycemic index/glycemic load may aggravate acne. Consuming foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat (such as baked goodies, junk food, and aerated drinks) may cause breakouts.
- Some believe over hydration may also cause acne. Your skin may get overhydrated due to humid conditions or from excessive use of moisturizers.
- Smoking may also cause acne and breakouts
- Using excessive makeup, oily skin care products, and hair pomades may cause acne.
- Genetics may also be a factor behind comedonal acne. If it runs in your family, you are most likely to get it.
- Squeezing the existing comedones and excess use of abrasive skin products (such as scrub and chemical peels) may also aggravate your condition and cause comedonal acne.
How Do You Identify Comedonal Acne?
Mentioned below are a few tips to identify Comedonal Acne:
- They look like small fleshy bumps. The affected area feels uneven and bumpy.
- Blackheads will have a tip that appears dark brown or black. You will commonly see them on your nose.
- Whiteheads look like small whitish or flesh-colored dots on your skin.
Types of Comedonal Acne
There are several types of comedonal acne blemishes:
- Closed Comedones - Closed comedones, commonly referred to as whiteheads, range in color from creamy white to flesh-toned. They occur when the oil plug develops well beneath the opening (pore) of the hair follicle and appear most often on the forehead, chin, and cheeks. Whiteheads are not painful and they cannot be "popped" since they do not contain pus or an underlying infection.
- Open Comedones - Open comedones, or blackheads, occur when the oil plug is situated near the opening of a pore. The dark color isn't caused by dirt but rather a chemical reaction in melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of skin. When exposed to oxygen, the melanin in dead skin cells oxidizes and turns a dark-brown color, resulting in a blackhead.
- Microcomedones - Microcomedones are the smallest of all acne blemishes. These comedones, invisible to the naked eye, are the "seeds" from which larger comedones emerge. Every comedone and inflamed pimple begins its life as a microcomedo.
- Macrocomedones and Giant Comedones - Macrocomedones are either closed or open comedones that are larger than usual. They can range from 1 millimeter (0.04 inches) to 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) in diameter. More often than not, a macrocomedo will be open, since it will be large enough to push to the opening of a pore.
- Solar Comedones - Solar comedones, also called senile comedones, are caused by excessive sun exposure over a long period of time. They may be small or large, open or closed.
- Chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause the skin to thicken and papules to develop in swollen skin pores (especially around the eyes and on the nose, cheeks, or forehead)
What Natural Remedies Are Available?
Natural treatments are increasingly being investigated for all types of acne, including comedones. However, these aren’t a replacement for your healthcare provider-approved treatment plan.
- Witch haze - Witch hazel acts as a natural astringent to help balance your skin’s moisture. It has the added benefit of opening closed comedones. This can help remove trapped dirt and other debris. You can use witch hazel in place of your usual astringent up to twice a day.
- Charcoal or clay masks - With comedonal acne, charcoal and clay masks work better than other formulations because they help dry out trapped sebum in your pores. They can even help get rid of trapped dirt and skin cells, making blackhead removal easier.
- Facial Steam - A good steam can open up the pores and clear comedonal acne. This is the reason why your salon facials use steam between scrubbing and massaging the face.
- Apple cider vinegar H3 Apple cider vinegar is quite acidic and has the ability to dry the skin. It can remove the oiliness, clogged pores, and associated comedones. Mix apple cider vinegar with warm water and apply it all over the face. Repeat a few times till you see the desired results.
- Tea tree oil - In alternative medicine, tea tree oil is used for a variety of skin ailments. It’s touted for helping with inflammation, as well as infections. Tea tree oil may help comedonal acne by reducing sebum and calming the skin. You’ll likely be able to find moisturizers and spot treatments containing the oil at your local drugstore.
- Lemon juice - Lemon juice is also acidic and works to dry out the skin and soak up excess oils. It also contains antibacterial compounds and helps reduce inflammation. Lemon juice can be used undiluted or diluted with equal parts water. In either case, it can be applied directly to the affected area of the body using a cotton pad or clean fingers and left on for 20 minutes.
- Honey - Honey has powerful antibacterial properties. Its sticky, thick quality also means it smothers pores and stays in place, allowing it to seep deep into the skin. It can be used by heating a tablespoon of honey in the microwave for 15 seconds or until it is slightly warm to the touch. After the skin has been cleaned, the warmed honey can be applied directly and left on for 15 minutes.
Ways to Prevent Comedonal Acne from Occurring in the first place?
While stress and greasy foods may make existing acne symptoms worse, they are not known to be the cause. In addition, aggressive or excessive cleaning can intensify symptoms and increase the chances of developing whiteheads.
- Wash your face for at least 30 seconds at a time, using gentle circular motions. No harsh scrubbing!
- Follow up with witch hazel or an OTC toner.
- Let your moisturizer dry before applying sunscreen and makeup.
- Wash your face after working out in the middle of the day.
- Never sleep with makeup on, as this can trap more oil in your pores.
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