What are Comedones?
Simply put, comedones are clogged hair follicles. They can be open or closed. Open comedones are more commonly known as “blackheads” — they are partially blocked pores, and they appear black because of melanin. Closed comedones are commonly known as “whiteheads” and they are the result of fully blocked pores. It is quite common to find closed comedones on foreheads.
Acne caused by comedones (comedonal acne) is fairly common, especially during puberty. Hormonal changes during puberty often cause more oily skin, in turn leading to blocked pores. However, such acne is not necessarily limited to the teenage years by any means, and it is not uncommon for adults to develop this as well.
How to Get Rid of Closed Comedones
People often try out topical retinoids for closed comedones. But many argue that these are better preventatives than cures, and that once you have closed comedones, one of the only effective ways to get rid of them seems to be extraction. (We have discussed that option in some detail below.)
Regardless though, if you are prone to getting closed comedones, at the very least, use of topical retinoid creams will indeed help with preventing their recurrence. So this is certainly something you should consider.
There has been some discussion on AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) vs. BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid), and whether either or both of these can help with closed comedones. A thread on reddit seems to have a vast majority of people seem to be of the opinion that AHA can actually help with opening up closed comedones.
Extraction of closed comedones is basically a mini-surgical procedure. And like any surgical procedure, no matter how small it is, this should be done by an expert. Your dermatologist or your esthetician is probably the best person to do this.
There are comedonal extractors on the market, and we have even come across articles which suggest using sterile sharp objects to try to do this yourself. However, we firmly believe that if performed incorrectly, and/or with some object you thought was sterile but was not, such attempts can lead to injuries, scars, worsened skin issues, inflamed pimples, or infections!! Why would you want to risk something like that? Just go to a specialist and get things done the right way – that is definitely what we’d recommend.