Closed comedones are those white or skin-colored bumps that don’t have a collection of pus on top, and they are seemingly headless and can’t be popped.
Getting rid of closed comedones is relatively easy. All you need to do is pay extra attention to your skincare routine, especially your exfoliating habits.
In this article, I will explain exactly what closed comedones are, how long they typically last, and of course, how to get rid of closed comedones.
Before we jump in, here are the…
5 Best Products To Get Rid Of Closed Comedones
NB: All products are explained below in more detail + links for where to buy them from.
The Ordinary – Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%
This potent product by The Ordinary is a treatment intended to be done once every week or two weeks, and it has a high content of exfoliating acids that tackle multiple skin concerns.
It contains 30% alpha-hydroxy acid that works to exfoliate the surface of your skin and gently dissolve the adherens junctions or “glue” that holds dead skin cells together.
Additionally, the 2% BHA is a supreme ingredient that travels deeper into the pores and clears out all the gunk, oil, and bacteria stuck in there.
This will be extremely effective if you are dealing with blackheads, whiteheads, and even moderate to severe acne.
Paula’s Choice – Regular Strength 2% Salicylic Acid
If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you might have noticed how I never fail to recommend this particular product for all acne-related skin concerns, including mild acne types such as blackheads and whiteheads.
The Regular Strength 2% Salicylic acid solution is perfect for oily skin types that deal with mild to moderate and even severe acne breakouts. It has a nice and light texture, isn’t heavy on the skin, and is generally well tolerated by all skin types.
The Ordinary – Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
This toning solution by The Ordinary is an excellent introduction to glycolic acid as it contains a mild percentage of glycolic acid, doesn’t irritate the skin, and it absorbs quickly without leaving the surface of the skin feeling sticky.
Paula’s Choice – 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
This one is the best glycolic acid product for sensitive skin types as it comes in a gel formulation, it contains 8% glycolic acid, and it is also enriched with other soothing and antioxidant ingredients such as chamomile and green tea.
Besides being super effective for skin concerns such as premature lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, and dryness, glycolic acid is an amazing ingredient that will help exfoliate the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and make way for the accumulated sebum to flow out freely.
Acne.org – 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Treatment
This is an excellent benzoyl peroxide treatment at an excellent price given that the packaging contains 8fl oz (236ml) of gel that goes on to the skin smoothly and absorbs relatively quickly.
It contains 2.5% of benzoyl peroxide, which has shown through various studies to be super effective even when compared to 10% benzoyl peroxide minus the irritation that the 10% would most probably cause.
Acne.org recommends this product to be used twice a day (which in my opinion, is a lot more than you need). However, when I suffered from severe acne on my face, I was only using it once in the evening, and I still had amazing results.
So, make sure not to overdo this product as benzoyl peroxide can easily work against you and cause unwanted irritation on the skin if not used properly.
Don’t ignore what your skin is trying to tell you when you are using benzoyl peroxide.
If you feel your skin is getting irritated, simply give it a break for a few days and get back to it once your skin is calmed.
The package says that by using it by the Acne.org regimen, this would last you for 1-2 months, but I can assure you that this package will last you well over six months and still deliver excellent results if you use it adequately.
What Are Closed Comedones?
Closed comedones are the little bumps you sometimes notice on the skin’s surface that don’t look red and inflamed like your typical pimple, and they are also painless.
They are just bumps on the surface of your skin that form when a plug of skin cells and oil becomes trapped within the hair follicle. This plug fills the pore and causes it to swell and create that bump you see on the skin.
This is a lot different than open comedones (or blackheads) because in open comedones, the oil plug is exposed to the air, and it becomes black through an action known as oxidation.
Closed comedones can happen anywhere on the skin; however, they most commonly show up on the face, neck, chest, and back, or pretty much areas where we tend to use heavier and more occlusive products like moisturizers, balms, oils, etc.
Can You Pop Closed Comedones?
Popping closed comedones is a bad idea for several reasons.
First, you may cause the bacteria from underneath to invade or rupture the wall of the follicle. This can lead to potential inflammation that will manifest on the skin as a red, inflamed pimple.
This may also cause bacteria to spread, and that tiny bump that you barely noticed before may become a very obvious bump everyone can now see.
There is also always the risk of scarring.
Let’s say you’ve tried to pop the closed comedone, and it didn’t work for you, but instead, it formed an inflamed pustule that might spread and become bigger and stay longer.
Once it goes away on its own, it might leave a permanent scar behind that is surely not worth the risk of trying to pop it in the first place.
Or even worse – you decide to pop it again because you can now see the head and accidentally cut the skin while doing so.
This will definitely leave a depression in the skin that will become a visible and permanent scar.
How Long Do Closed Comedones Last?
Closed comedones won’t go away on their own, and you will be wasting your time if you are waiting for this to happen.
Instead, what you can do is get adequate treatment for your skin type and particular skin concern and start treating the area.
What Is The Best Treatment For Closed Comedones?
Here are some simple and easy methods to deal with closed comedones and prevent future ones from forming:
Don’t use heavy and occlusive products
Products like oils, balms and very heavy moisturizers could be causing this problem for you, especially if you have oily skin, however, dry skin types are not an exception and they can also develop closed comedones.
Try to figure out what you changed in your skincare routine when you first started noticing closed comedones. It doesn’t necessarily mean that what you are using directly on the face that’s causing the problem.
This may easily be hair and beard products, too.
Use gentle exfoliants
Exfoliating ingredients such as glycolic acid may help with closed comedones because this particular ingredient works to remove the bonds that hold dead skin cells on the surface layer of the skin.
By doing this, exfoliating acid may open up the blockage caused by the layer of skin and allow sebum to freely flow out of the follicle.
On the other hand, salicylic acid is another exfoliating ingredient that can go into the deeper layers of the skin and remove the gunk stuck inside the pore, therefore, dissolve the blockage that’s causing the bumps on your skin.
Try benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is the gold-standard ingredient if you want to tackle the pesky acne-causing bacteria, Cutibacterium acnes.
Benzoyl peroxide works by inhibiting and destroying the overgrowth of bacteria inside the pores and it also works to unclog the pores, much like salicylic acid.
Benzoyl peroxide is most often found in a cream or gel formulation on its own. However, it can also be combined with chemical exfoliating acids for a stronger and more efficient treatment.
That being said, you should never mix or layer benzoyl peroxide with or on top of any chemical exfoliant when they come in two separate products.
Still, it is totally fine to use them together when they are combined in the same product because the concentration is usually weaker like this.
Over-the-counter retinoid might also help
Over-the-counter retinoids like adapalene (Differin) is a derivative of vitamin A and it helps speed up cellular turnover.
When this is achieved, the skin cells (particularly the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface) shed more quickly, which prevents them from potentially clogging your pores.
Additionally, retinoids will give you smoother and younger-looking skin; however, they don’t come without their own risks.
Therefore, if you opt for something like this, make sure to give your skin time to slowly adapt to it by using it once or twice a week initially and always follow it up with high SPF in the morning, even on cloudy days.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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