Q:

How do I get rid of comedones?

A:

Quick Answer

Over-the-counter medications containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur can help get rid of comedones. In severe cases, a physician can prescribe topical medications that get rid of comedones, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Bacteria, dead skin cells and oil secretions block hair follicles and cause comedones. Although some people believe that dirt causes breakouts, acne has other triggers. Hormones can trigger the skin to increase sebum (oil) production and cause acne. Medications such as corticosteroids can also trigger breakouts.

Cleaning skin with warm water and mild soap can get rid of comedones. Some people benefit from using over-the-counter topical creams that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. According to Mayo Clinic, topical supplements containing alpha hydroxy acids can both unclog pores and improve the appearance of acne scars. In cases where comedones do not respond to over-the-counter aids, a physician may prescribe medications such as tretinoin and tazarotene. As an alternative, a physician may prescribe an antibiotic cream to destroy comedone-causing bacteria.

To prevent comedones, the face should be washed twice per day with a gentle cleanser. Removing makeup before sleeping also helps prevent clogged pores. Those who exercise benefit from showering after workouts, as showering removes excess oil and sweat.

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