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Closed comedones: Causes and treatment of comedonal acne

If you have blemish-prone skin, you may notice skin-coloured bumps beneath your skin from time to time. Referred to in the dermatological world as closed comedones, they can be hard to treat if you don’t understand what’s causing them. Here we reveal the causes, treatments and methods of prevention.

Causes

Closed comedones are formed when bacteria, oil and dead skin cells build up in the hair follicle. They appear as white or skin-coloured bumps that build beneath the surface and are generally called white heads – even though they don’t have a head, as such. These are different to open comedones (otherwise known as black heads) which turn black when the debris inside is oxidised by oxygen in the air.

Prevention

As closed comedones are caused by a build-up of bacteria and dead skin cells, you can prevent them by cleansing the skin in the morning and evening with a product such as La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel. This specifically formulated facial wash lifts dirt, grime and sebum away from the surface of the skin without disrupting its delicate balance.

Follow this with Effaclar’s Clarifying Lotion, a micro-exfoliant astringent toner with Lipo-Hydroxy Acid that’s suitable for sensitive skin prone to oiliness and blemishes. Sweep it across the face with a cotton pad to eliminate any excess oil and further unblock the pores. Alternatively, you can also use a serum or treatment that contains salicylic acid to ensure your pores are clear.

Treatments

While cleansing and toning your skin is a great way to prevent closed comedones from appearing, pre-existing closed comedones should be treated with a dedicated product such as Effaclar Duo+. This dual-action daily gel moisturiser has a non-comedogenic formula that reduces the appearance of blemishes while hydrating the skin for up to 24 hours and controlling shine.

It does this with a few key ingredients: niacinamide, lipo-hydroxy acid and salicylic acid , and zinc PCA. The formula reduces the appearance of blemishes and blocked pores, controls sebum and mattifies the skin. Glycerine also adds much-needed hydration to keep the skin’s natural barrier function working well.

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