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What are the treatments for comedonal acne?

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Quick Answer

Comedonal acne is a milder form of acne typically treated with topical creams and gels, such as retinoids and antiseptics, according to WebMD. Often appearing in teenagers and young adults, comedonal acne is caused by overactive sebum production that blocks pores and results in whiteheads and blackheads.

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Full Answer

This type of acne most commonly appears on the forehead, cheeks and chin as small bumps, called comedones. American Family Physician states that effective topical treatments include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, glycolic acid and retinoids, such as tretinoin. All of these medicines are widely available over the counter in creams and lotions, except for the retinoids, which require a prescription. These medications work by unclogging pores, while benzoyl peroxide and azelaic acid also have an antibiotic effect on the bacteria that causes inflammation in blocked pores.

Comedonal acne frequently appears with inflammatory acne, meaning that the blocked pores become infected, states American Family Physician. The topical treatments work for both types of acne. WebMD explains that a doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic if the over-the-counter if the acne is severe.

Personal care products, such as hair gels and cosmetics, can aggravate acne by blocking pores, according to WebMD. Other triggers include hormonal fluctuation, such as a woman's menstrual cycle. However, greasy foods do not cause acne, nor does poor hygiene. Patients must avoid scrubbing their skin or using harsh astringents, which only damage the skin more and cause additional inflammation.

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