acne acne overview

acne Acne is a common but often misunderstood form of acne.It does not have the inflamed papules and pustules characteristic of acne vulgaris (most common form of acne). Conversely, comedonal acne causes uneven skin, blackheads, and uninflamed blemishes.

Comedonal acne occurs when hair follicles become blocked with sebum (a waxy skin oil) and dead skin cells. A single bump is called acnewhile multiple bumps are called acne.

This article discusses what the different types of acne look like and what causes them. It also includes how to diagnose them and how to treat or prevent them.

acne acne symptoms

Comedonal acne does not look like typical acne. In fact, many people with acne breakouts don’t think they have acne.

This is because pimples are not as red or inflamed as typical pimples. They do not swell to excessive proportions or have pus. Instead, they develop into smaller, non-inflamed bumps called papules that can close or open.

Pimples are most commonly found on the forehead, chin, and jawline. They can also develop on the face, neck, shoulders, back or chest.

Symptoms range from mild (just a few odd blemishes) to severe (covering a large area of ​​skin). Acne can develop on its own or along with acne vulgaris.

If you try to poke a pimple, it can sometimes turn into a pimple, allowing bacteria to easily reach the broken tissue.

Types of

There are several types of comedones acne blemishes:

closed acne

Closed comedones, commonly called whiteheads, can vary in color from creamy to flesh-colored. They occur when oil plugs develop well below the opening (pore) of the hair follicle. They most commonly appear on the forehead, chin and cheeks.

Whiteheads do not hurt. They cannot “pop” because they do not contain pus or potential infection.

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open acne

Open comedones, or blackheads, occur when the oil plug is located near the opening of the pore.

Dark colors are not caused by dirt, but by a chemical reaction of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. When exposed to oxygen, the melanin in dead skin cells oxidizes and turns dark brown, causing blackheads.

If you were to extract blackheads, you would see that the top of the plug is black. However, the lower part is still creamy to yellow.

Blackheads usually form on the sides and bridge of the nose as well as on the chin, shoulders and back.


Closed comedones or whiteheads occur when the oil plug is located below the pore. Open comedones or blackheads form when the oil plug is close to the opening of the pore.

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small acne

Pimples are the smallest of all acne blemishes. These invisible pimples are the “seeds” that give rise to larger pimples. Pimples and inflamed pimples begin their lives with microcomedones.

Big pimples and big pimples

Large comedones are closed or open comedones that are larger than usual. They can range in diameter from one millimeter (0.04 in) to three millimeters (0.12 in). Usually, a large pimple is open because it is large enough to push into the opening of the pore.

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Giant comedones are blackheads ranging from a few millimeters to two centimeters (0.78 inches) in diameter. They usually appear as a single blackhead and mainly affect older adults.

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sun acne

Sun acne, also known as senile acne, is caused by prolonged exposure to excessive sun exposure. They can be small or large, open or closed.

Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause the skin to thicken and form pimples in swollen skin pores. This usually occurs around the eyes and on the nose, cheeks or forehead.

Sun acne occurs most often in people over the age of 60. However, they can begin to develop in their 40s and under extreme sun exposure.

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Favre-Racouchot syndrome is a sun-related disorder characterized by clusters of blackheads on sunburned skin. This usually occurs under the eyes and around the temples.

The truth about tanning and acne


acne with pilosebaceous glands units, including hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, a waxy oil that coats, moisturizes and protects the skin.

The pilosebaceous units are densely clustered on the face, neck, upper chest, shoulders and back. Excess keratin (a protein in skin, nails, and hair) combined with sebum can clog the openings of follicle pores.

risk factor

Like most types of acne, comedonal acne is especially common in prepubertal and teenage years. However, it can occur at almost every age, including adulthood.

Acne acne can sometimes be a sign of acne vulgaris, especially during adolescence. That being said, acne doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get breakouts. Other factors, including genetics, appear to have contributed.

Comedonal acne tends to run in families. If your parents or siblings have it, you’re more likely to have it too.

Puberty also contributes, as increased production of androgens (male hormones) puts the sebaceous glands into overdrive. The same can happen before a woman’s period starts, when hormone levels spike.

Comedonal acne can sometimes be caused or worsened by something you put on your face or skin. This includes oily skin care products or pomades. High humidity and air pollution can also play a role.

Causes and Risk Factors of Acne


Comedonal acne can often be diagnosed by appearance alone. If topical treatments to your skin do not improve, your healthcare provider may check you for other conditions. Examples of other situations include:

  • Keratosis pilaris (benign disease causing acne-like bumps)
  • fibrofolliculoma (benign or harmless tumors of hair follicles)
  • sebaceous hyperplasia (benign enlargement of sebaceous glands)
  • Basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer)

How to Diagnose Acne


Like other forms of acne, breakouts are not caused by lack of hygiene. Scrubing or washing your face more frequently is less likely to eliminate breakouts. Just as important as your daily skincare routine is, it won’t cure or prevent comedonal acne on its own.

However, there are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs that can help. These include:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Daphne (adapalene)
  • topical retinoic acid
  • Azelaic acid

If your acne is mild, you can treat it with topical over-the-counter medications. For more severe or persistent acne, consult a dermatologist.

It may take up to 12 weeks to see any improvement, whether you’re taking over-the-counter or prescription medications. Even if there is no immediate change, stick with it.

If you don’t see results within three to four months, talk to your healthcare provider. They may suggest considering stronger treatments.

How to Treat Acne


By adjusting the way you care for your skin, minor acne breakouts can be prevented or reduced. Here are some simple tips that may help prevent clogged pores:

  • Only wash twice a day. Cleaning acne-prone skin more frequently can cause irritation and dry and irritate the skin. Inflamed skin is more susceptible to infection, increasing the risk of acne breakouts.
  • Use non-comedogenic skin products. These are non-oily moisturizers, cleansers, and makeup designed to prevent clogged pores. Some are labeled as non-comedogenic, while others advertise themselves as anti-comedogenic.
  • Keep makeup brushes and applicators clean. Sebum and dead skin cells can accumulate on the bristles and pads. You can usually remove them with warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  • Remove makeup before bed. Sleeping with makeup residue can cause clogged pores. Use a fragrance-free, alcohol-free makeup remover to avoid irritation. Some are made with glycerin or aloe vera to help moisturize the skin.
  • Wash after strenuous activity. Don’t let sweat and oil get on your skin. Take a shower and instantly hydrate with a light, oil-free moisturizer.

If you do have blackheads or whiteheads, don’t squeeze it. You are more likely to damage your skin and cause blemishes. Sticky pore strips and clay masks can help extract tiny blackheads. Whiteheads should be left alone and treated topically.

How to Extract Blackheads


Comedonal acne occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oily sebum and dead skin cells. Closed comedones or whiteheads form just below the openings of your pores. Open comedones, or blackheads, form near the opening of the pores.

Pimples are especially common during the teenage years, but they can occur at any age. Hormonal changes may be a contributing factor. Oily skin care products and humidity can also make it worse.

Your doctor can help make the diagnosis and make sure your lump isn’t caused by another disorder. They may suggest topical medications, including salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. You can also help prevent acne by using non-comedogenic skin products, removing makeup at night, and washing your face twice a day.

VigorTip words

Acne acne may not be as noticeable or bothersome as other types of acne. However, you may still be concerned about it. It’s totally understandable, and it’s best to keep it under control while it’s still relatively mild.

Finally, you’ll want to treat your acne properly. Overtreatment can damage your skin just as much as undertreatment.

If left untreated, comedonal acne can develop into more severe breakouts that become harder to control. It may take time to realize the benefits of treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, please be patient and talk to your healthcare provider or dermatologist.

Coping and Living with Acne

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between comedonal acne and other types of acne?

    Comedogenic acne lesions (blackheads and whiteheads) do not involve inflammation, so they are not painful, red, or filled with pus. If they become infected with bacteria, they can develop into papules (red bumps) or pustules (pus-filled pimples), commonly called papules.

  • Why are blackheads black?

    Blackheads appear when excess oil and dead skin cells clog pores (hair follicles). Pores are open to the air; blackheads take on their unique color when oxygen interacts with melanin (the chemical responsible for skin, hair, and eye color).

  • What’s the best way to clear acne breakouts?

    The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the use of retinoid products to remove blackheads and whiteheads. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and work by reducing the accumulation of dead skin cells and helping prevent inflammation. Face washes that contain benzoyl peroxide can also help prevent bacteria on the skin from infecting acne.

  • How long does it take to get rid of pimples?

    After home treatment, blackheads or whiteheads can take six to eight weeks to clear. If they don’t, a dermatologist or aesthetician can do a procedure to extract stubborn acne and/or prescribe more potent acne medications than are available over the counter.