Treating and Preventing Comedones
Comedones are a common skin problem that plagues millions of people worldwide. Informally known as blackheads and whiteheads, comedones can be split into two categories: closed comedones (whiteheads) and open comedones (blackheads). While both conditions have some unique requirements, there are some simple techniques that will help prevent and treat both closed and open comedones.
Hygiene and Prevention
Face washing is the most important, and simplest, tip to clearer skin. Once a day washing with a gentle facial soap, like Cetaphil, is affordable (about $0.70 an ounce) and very effective. It is manufactured by Galderma Laboratories, the maker of the best-selling prescription acne product Differin, so you can trust that it is formulated to work. However, there certainly are other brands of soap that you may find effective. Trial and error can be an effective means to find quality skin care products.
Salicylic acid is your first and most basic tool to fight troubling comedones. It is the active ingredient in most over-the-counter acne medication. Most major brands are about the same, so simply buy the one that feels the best on your skin. As was the case with soap, trial and error is fine, just do not spend too much money. Remember that the active ingredient is the same for the most expensive products and the bargain basement ones.
For the most stubborn blackheads and whiteheads, Retin A (a compound similar to vitamin A) provides very robust care. Retin A causes your skin cells to turnover faster. In other words, dead skin cells are expelled faster, preventing them from clogging pores and causing blackheads. And, as is a reoccurring theme in this article, be price-conscious when picking out the product. The skin care industry preys on insecure people with overpriced product that is no different than the basic bargain ones.
Whatever you do, do not pick, squeeze, or pop comedones! You will leave your skin red and inflamed and, to add insult to injury, the clogged pore will probably not be totally extracted. Your best bet is to leave it alone, but if you must remove it, use the proper instruments to minimize any damage to the surrounding skin. The best tool to use is a stainless steel blackhead extractor. Using these instruments help prevent inflammation and also more fully removed the pore plug. Just be sure to properly sanitize the instrument before and after use to minimize the chances of spreading bacteria.
After the plug of sebum is extracted from the pore, it is best to treat the empty pore with a mild soap or cleansing cream. Choose a product that soothes and kills bacteria. This will serve the dual purpose of eliminating redness as well preventing future comedones.
With these simple steps, you can be well on your way to a healthy, clear complexion.