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Understanding Closed Comedones: What Are They and How Do They Form?


Skincare is a journey, and along the way, you may encounter various skin concerns, including closed comedones. Often mistaken for blackheads, these tiny bumps on the skin have their own distinct characteristics and reasons for formation. In this blog post, we'll delve into what closed comedones are and explore the factors that contribute to their occurrence.

What Are Closed Comedones?

Closed comedones, also known as whiteheads, are a type of acne lesion that manifests as small, flesh-colored bumps on the skin. Unlike blackheads, which have an open pore allowing for oxidation and a dark appearance, closed comedones remain closed at the surface. They are essentially blocked hair follicles filled with a combination of sebum, dead skin cells, and other debris.

How Do They Form?

Understanding the formation of closed comedones involves looking at the intricate processes occurring within our skin:

Excess Sebum Production:

  • The sebaceous glands in our skin produce sebum, an oil that helps keep the skin moisturized. Sometimes, these glands may produce an excess of sebum, leading to a higher likelihood of pore blockages.

  • As our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells, they can mix with excess sebum. If the shedding process is not optimal or if there's an overproduction of skin cells, they can accumulate and contribute to pore blockages.

  • The presence of the acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, can exacerbate the situation. When trapped within a closed comedone, these bacteria can lead to inflammation and the formation of red or swollen pimples.

  • Hormonal changes, especially during puberty, menstruation, or pregnancy, can impact sebum production. Fluctuations in hormones can contribute to an environment conducive to the formation of closed comedones.

  • Certain cosmetic or skincare products with comedogenic ingredients may contribute to the clogging of pores, leading to closed comedones. It's essential to choose products that are non-comedogenic and suitable for your skin type.

  • Genetics play a role in skin tendencies. If your family has a history of acne or closed comedones, you may be more prone to developing them as well.

Prevention and Treatment:

Preventing and treating closed comedones involves adopting a comprehensive skincare routine:

Gentle Cleansing:

  • Regular and gentle cleansing helps remove excess sebum and dead skin cells, preventing pore blockages.

  • Incorporating exfoliants, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), can promote the shedding of dead skin cells and prevent their accumulation.

  • Opt for skincare and cosmetic products labeled as non-comedogenic to minimize the risk of pore blockages.

  • For individuals with hormonal influences contributing to closed comedones, consulting a healthcare professional for hormonal management strategies may be beneficial.


Closed comedones are a common skincare concern, but with the right knowledge and skincare practices, they can be effectively managed. By understanding the factors that contribute to their formation and adopting a proactive skincare routine, you can embark on a journey to clearer and healthier skin. Remember, skincare is a personalized experience, so it's essential to tailor your routine to the unique needs of your skin.

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