open and closed comedones

Open and Closed Comedones

Blackheads & Whiteheads

A clear understanding of comedones centers on an understanding of the anatomy & behavior of your pores. Your pores are openings for your sebaceous glands that produce skin oils. You also have other pores in your skin which are openings for sweat glands. It is your oil-producing pores that develop into your open and closed comedones.

Your pores are an extension of the outer surface of your skin. Your oil-producing pores therefore will also contain skin cells that shed off into the pores. These dead cells are called keratinocytes. Within your pores are also a number of bacteria. These bacteria form a normal part of your skin’s microbiome, and most of them are friendly.

When your pores begin to overproduce oils, some bacteria called p. acnes bacteria use your oils to feed upon. The by-products of the bacteria feeding on your oils are irritating and inflammatory to your skin. This is part of the reason why acne becomes so inflamed.

But not all of your pores will become inflamed. Your comedones are plugs of oils and dead skin, minus the inflammatory reaction which causes skin redness.


When a layer of skin forms over the pore, you will see this as a whitehead (or a closed comedone). It is a closed system where the skin drapes over a milky white plug of sebum and dead skin.

acne comedones

OPEN COMEDONES ( Blackheads)

An open comedone is called a blackhead. In this case, there is no skin covering the plug of oils and dead skin, therefore it is exposed to air. The air oxidizes the plug and it changes to a dark, sometimes black color. The appearance is that of small spots of dirt plugs in the pores. This is not true dirt stuck in the pores, but rather the oxidized gunk stuck within your pores.

To get rid of these comedones, a number of different options are available. Here we list for you the most effective options for comedone removal:


comedone extractions

A good old-fashioned professional steam and extraction. While this is a top-notch choice, a spa treatment by a beautician will not prevent the further formation of more comedones. They will return if you do not have a daily comedone-proof skincare routine.

A Melanopeel® MelanoFacial professional medical-grade facial is a more advanced option than the traditional treatment. Here, your clinic uses special oil and dead skin exfoliants for removing sebum and resurfacing keratinocytes.

melanopeel acne facial

A chemical peel with your physician containing ingredients specific for targeting sebum. Every professional Melanopeel® chemical peel will target sebum. But each patient comes with a specific skin type, skin needs, and skin condition. With our choices of 9 professional peels, our system will go beyond your comedone treatment and also specifically address your general skin health. Speak with your Melanopeel® clinic for these treatments.

Home chemical peels by Melanopeel®. These are invaluable for patients who need a stronger system of home care that goes beyond just cleansers, toners, and serums. Our home peels are safe for all skin colors.

Your daily cleansing, toning and skin treatments should all include products aimed at clear pores. What’s better, the entire Melanopeel® line is completely non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores.

Melanopeel skin care for blackheads & whiteheads:

We have compiled another excellent choice of proven comedone-proof and physician-recommended products for keeping your pores clear. Available only through your Melanopeel®-licenced physician:

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