A clear, spotless face is something that we all desire! But, despite your conscious efforts, do you find white or black tiny papules developing on your skin often?
Scroll down to find out.
What Is Comedonal Acne?
Comedones are nothing but clogged hair follicle pores with skin debris (keratin) and sebum in your skin. While the open comedones form blackheads, closed comedones form whiteheads that appear as skin-colored acne papules.
What Does Comedonal Acne Look Like?
Comedonal acne is characterised by small white or flesh-colored dots. They make the skin appear rough and uneven.
Types Of Comedonal Acne
1. Closed Comedones
These are creamy white or flesh-toned papules which occur when the sebum plugs develop beneath the openings of your hair follicles. These whiteheads are not painful lesions.
2. Open Comedones
When the sebum plugs occur near the pore openings of hair follicles, it leads to the formation of blackheads or open comedones. The dead skin cells trapped in open comedones contain melanin, which gets oxidized and turns into dark brown color, forming a blackhead.
These are comedones at their early stage, which are often invisible to your naked eye. Microcomedones are indeed the seeds from which larger comedones or inflamed pimples emerge in lateral stages.
4. Macrocomedones Or Giant Comedones
These are either blackheads or whiteheads which are unusually large. Macrocomedones can range from 1-3 mm in diameter. These are common in older adults.
5. Solar Comedones
Also known as senile comedones, solar comedones can be open or closed comedones which are formed due to inflammation caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.
“If a cluster of blackheads forms on a sun-damaged skin, especially around the temples and under eyes, then it is known as Favre-Racouchot syndrome . This is common in men between 40-60 years of age,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
A single lesion of comedonal acne is called ‘comedo’, which is derived from the Latin word ‘comedere’. It means ‘to eat up or consume’.
Symptoms Of Comedonal Acne
- Bumpy skin
- Non-inflamed blemishes can range from mild to severe (papules covering larger areas of skin)
“While comedones usually appear on your forehead, chin, and nose, you may also find them on temples, under your eyes, neck, chest or back,” says Dr. Zeel.
What Causes Closed Comedones?
As per Ayurveda, the balance in your bodily doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha reflects in your health. Any imbalance occurring in your doshas can manifest in the form of skin-related disorders.
“According to Ayurveda’s tridosha theory, comedones are Kapha-Vata dushti, triggered by Pitta dosha,” says Dr. Zeel.
Aggravated Pitta dosha causes an increase in the levels of heat in your body, which in turn triggers Kapha secretion in the form of sebum. The increase in Vata dosha dries up the secreted sebum with dead skin cells trapped in, resulting in the formation of comedonal plugs in your skin pores.
Other factors which increase the risk of closed comedonal acne by increasing dosha imbalance include:
- Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, etc. in women
- High dairy, trans fats, and sugar consumption
- High humidity
- Popping comedones
- Using unsuitable skincare products
How To Treat Comedonal Acne?
1. Ayurvedic Ingredients
Identify your elevated doshas by answering a simple questionnaire and opt for dosha-specific Ayurvedic remedies to deal with comedonal acne effectively:
A. Lodhra (Symlocos Racemosus)
It balances the elevated levels of Pitta and Kapha. Apply a face pack made of lodhra powder twice a week. This helps in controlling the sebum secretion and inflammation in your skin.
B. Vacha (Acorus Calamus)
It balances the elevated Kapha and Vata doshas. Applying Vacha paste on your comedonal acne once a week helps to heal the blemishes and moisturizes your skin greatly.
C. Dhanyak (Coriandrum Sativum)
It balances all three doshas in elevated states. Add a pinch of turmeric to a small cup of coriander juice and apply it on your comedonal acne. Leave it for 15-20 minutes and then wash it off. Coriander not only prevents acne on your skin but also improves your skin texture and produces a natural glow.
D. Chandan (Santalum Album)
It pacifies elevated Pitta and Kapha doshas. Applying sandalwood face pack on alternative days controls the recurrence of comedonal acne. It calms down your skin and keeps the sebum levels in control.
E. Ushir (Vetiveria Zizanioides)
It pacifies elevated Pitta and Vata doshas. Apply a face pack made of usheera powder at least once a week. This helps to clear the accumulated skin debris in pores and controls inflammation in your skin.
F. Jatiphala (Myristica Fragrans)
It balances elevated Kapha and Vata doshas. Applying the fine paste of jatiphala regularly can help you lighten the dark spots caused by comedones on your skin.
“Herbs such as guduchi, manjistha, anantmool, sariva, etc. can be prescribed as internal medication to deal with comedonal acne. Your Ayurvedic doctor may prescribe the formulations and dosages based on your Prakriti and severity of condition,” says Dr. Zeel.
2. Home Remedies
A. Facial Steam
Steaming your face regularly aids in opening up the tightly closed comedones on your skin. Further, the warm steam loosens up the hard plugs formed by sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells, making it easier for you to remove them by gently scrubbing and cleansing.
B. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix apple cider vinegar and warm water in equal amounts and apply it all over your face. Leave it for 5 minutes and then rinse it off with normal water. Apple cider vinegar exfoliates your skin and absorbs excess oils.
Apply lemon juice directly to the comedones using a cotton ball. Leave it for 10 minutes and then wash it off with water. It reduces the uncontrolled sebum production in your skin and helps to clear your skin pores.
Vedix Tip: Avoid going out in the sun for at least 2-3 hours after applying lemon to your skin to prevent sun damage.
Apply a thin coat of honey across your face. Leave it until it dries up and peel it off gently. Then, wash your face with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser. Honey works as a clarifying agent and helps to open up and unclog the closed comedones.
E. Tea Tree Oil
Add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil to your moisturizer and use it daily. Tea tree oil reduces inflammation and controls the sebum production in your skin.
G. Witch Hazel
Apply witch hazel at least twice a day after cleansing or steaming. This helps to open up the closed comedones and eliminates the trapped skin debris and oils.
Witch hazel also balances the moisture levels in your skin.
3. Other Topical Treatments
Below are some of the OTC  and prescription-based topical medications that help you treat comedonal acne.
- Azelaic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Differin (adapalene)
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Topical retinoids
You can opt for OTC drugs when you have mild comedones. However, consult your dermatologist to seek treatment for severe or persistent comedonal acne.
Tips To Prevent Comedonal Acne
1. Never let sweat and excessive oils stay on your skin for a longer time. Wash your face or take a shower every time you engage in strenuous activities. Later, you can rehydrate your skin with a dosha-balancing moisturizer.
2. Ensure you wash your face twice a day - morning and night, to keep your skin free from dirt and oils. But, do not overdo it as it can cause irritation and result in dryness.
3. Avoid sleeping with makeup on your face. This may reduce the blockage of your skin pores. Also, opt for non-alcoholic and fragrance make-up removal to cleanse your face before bedtime. It’s always better to go for herbal make-up removers that are infused with aloe vera.
4. Clean your make-up applicators, brushes, and pads regularly using warm soapy water. This avoids accumulation of dirt, dead skin cells, and sebum in them.
5. Always prefer using non-comedogenic skincare products and cosmetics that prevent the blockage of your skin pores.
How Long Does It Take For Comedonal Acne To Go Away?
Upon a consistent skincare regimen suitable for your skin type along with topical treatments, you may see an improvement in your comedonal acne condition within 12 weeks. However, it is recommended to stick to your regimen even though you do not find a remarkable difference in your skin initially.
Can You Pop Closed Comedones?
Dr. Zeel highly recommends avoiding squeezing or popping the closed comedones on your face. Because it may allow bacteria to easily access the broken skin tissue, that can further lead to the development of acne pimples on your face.
Consult your doctor before using any of the herbs and chemicals on your skin mentioned in this article.
The Last Word
Dr. Zeel says that along with topical treatments, your diet and lifestyle factors also play a prominent role in controlling comedones. She recommends avoiding foods that can cause inflammation such as trans fats, dairy, sugars, and other processed foods. Instead, you need to increase the intake of plant-based diets that are rich in antioxidants. Also, stick to a regular exercise regimen, yoga, and meditation to keep your doshas in balance.Know Your Dosha Now
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