LifestyleUnderstanding and dealing with closed comedones: the role of skincare and hygiene

Understanding and dealing with closed comedones: the role of skincare and hygiene

Closed comedones are a common problem.
Closed comedones are a common problem.
Images source: © Getty Images | Konstantin Postumitenko

11:33 AM EST, February 11, 2024

Skin issues can cause discomfort and reduce self-confidence. As a result, most aim to quickly resolve these problems. Comedones are one such skin ailment. While they aren't painful or prominent, most would prefer not to deal with them. Below is all you need to know about this issue.

Understanding comedones

Comedones are bothersome skin abnormalities primarily found in the T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin. They appear less often on the cheeks. These comedones are nothing more than blocked sebaceous gland openings where sebum accumulates and cannot escape. It’s worth noting that there are two types of comedones: closed and open - both of which are easily distinguishable.

Distinguishing between open and closed comedones

Differentiating open from closed comedones is quite simple. The former have open tops. When in contact with air, the trapped sebum oxidizes and changes its color. Hence, open comedones appear as minuscule black or brown dots. Since they exist on the skin surface, they are easier to remove mechanically. However, this removal method is not advisable for use at home, particularly for problematic skin conditions.

Conversely, closed comedones reside slightly deeper beneath the skin, forming millimeter-sized lumps akin to fine grains, which can have white tips. These comedones may trigger more significant inflammatory conditions, although that is not frequently observed.

Causes of closed comedones

Closed comedones are results of excessive sebum production. Teenagers experiencing hormonal imbalances tend to encounter this issue more often. However, adults with oily skin also face acne and other skin abnormalities. In most cases, the emergence of comedones can be attributed to inadequate skincare and the use of inappropriate products. Hygiene is crucial—touching your face frequently with bacteria-laden hands can cause comedones. Other contributing factors include an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

Dealing with closed comedones

Importantly, closed comedones should not be removed mechanically as this could cause injury due to their deep location in the skin. A beautician may perform the removal, although few specialists prefer this method. The primary approach to combat closed comedones involves choosing skincare products suited for your specific needs and maintaining proper skin care.

Starting with hygiene, refrain from touching your face throughout the day. It's also advisable to use disposable non-woven towels for drying your face to prevent bacteria build-up that often occurs with moist regular towels. Additionally, regularly wash your pillowcase.

Two-stage facial cleansing, particularly when wearing makeup, should be included in your daily routine. Begin by removing makeup with oil, followed by cleansing with a foam or gel. Regular exfoliation, preferably with an enzymatic peel once a week, will remove dead skin and help normalize sebum production.

The trial-and-error method is often used when selecting cosmetics for closed comedones. What works for one person may not for another. Ensure the products you choose don't block pores.

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