Probiotics in comedonal acne treatment

Have you heard that probiotics can decrease the number of comedonal acne injures? Let’s find out whether it is true.

Have you ever thought of your skin importance? Skin is an incredible organ, which protects you from damaging sun activity and environmental pollutions. Moreover, it has capability to regenerate. Your skin is incredibly elastic and flexible.

But your skin is almost defenseless against different kinds of disorders such as comedonal acne for example. They may lead to pimples, which can continue during adulthood; moreover they may cause even permanent scarring.

What are probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms, which are beneficial for our organism. There two types of probiotics that are commonly used: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria. But you also shouldn’t forget about particular types of yeasts and bacilli. Probiotics are usually consumed as an element of fermented foods with active live cultures, such as yogurt or as dietary supplements.

One of the most important probiotic bacteria functions is destroying bad bacteria. Besides, probiotics succeed in neutralizing the activity of acne-causing toxins. They create specific environment in your gut, which leads to pathological bacteria death.
So probiotics minimize core reason of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and other acne forms appearance. They limit the number of pathological bacteria and control acne-causing toxins overproduction.

So let’s move on to probiotics main advantages:

They allow the small intestine to provide healthy immunity, increase digestion and constrain yeasts. Probiotics are important for food digestion process, moreover they better minerals absorption.

They are a great advantage for large intestine, safe colon cleaning product which provides healthy liver function. Digestion and immunity improving is also definitely important function of probiotics, but the problem is that the amount of probiotics can be reduced by poor diet, stress and particular drugs.

So the thing you should pay attention to is not the total amount of bacteria but the balance of harmful and beneficial bacteria.

Are the probiotics and comedonal acne related?

The mechanism of acne appearance is the next: toxins create fecund environment in your skin for acne-causing bacteria to multiply. Be aware of the fact that toxins may also disturb the normal functioning of your organs. This may lead to overproduction of specific hormones, which causes the boost of sebum production. And the last one, as you probably guessed, may cause pores blocking and comedonal acne formation (including microcomedones, blackheads and whiteheads). So what we get is more comedonal acne, more bacteria which leads to more inflamed acne formation.

How do probiotics help to treat acne?

There are number of probiotics features which can help in dealing with acne pimples, preventing comedonal acne appearance and keeping your skin healthy. They are:

• bettering digestion
• increase immune system
• control of blood glucose
• support healthy liver function
• oxidative stress and mood
• tissue lipid content
• affecting systemic inflammation

Struggle against acne with the help of Probiotics

According to researches probiotics indeed are capable to reduce the growth of Proprionibacterium acnes bacteria. This bacteria leads to clogged pores inflammation and their transformation to inflamed acne. The effect is greater when use konjac glucomannan compounds.

But in order to get the full healing from acne, only probiotics aren’t enough. Pills and yogurt are really good but that’s not enough. You should seek healthy, acne-free lifestyle.

And probiotics are definitely a step towards your aim. So you should take more actions, for further information consult with your dermatologist.

How can tanning influence your comedones?

Even though tan has the ability to hide different skin problems caused by acne (discoloration, comedones, blackheads, breakouts), it can’t clear your acne.
However there is also a widespread thought that tan can cure acne. The question is whether it is really the truth?

Many of us can’t imagine their summer without lying out in the sun, trying to get such a popular golden tan. Besides, our tanning salons allow us to keep this fabulous golden tan during the whole year.

It is known, that sometimes skin injures are the result of sun activity. This leads to deallocation of free oxygen radicals. Next step is melanin pigment absorbs free radicals and gain brown color. That’s how it saves your skin from DNA injures.

So to make it clear, UV-A radiation leads to changes in skin color and long-lasting skin injures.

There is also another type of sun radiation – UV-B rays. Produced by sunlight, it causes instant skin injures. Even though it doesn’t leads to the immediate change of skin color, it activates the process of melanin production.

How does tanning worsen your comedonal acne?

Nowadays, many of us already aware of the fact that tanning doesn’t consider being safe or healthy. Even though tan has ability temporarily hide different skin problems caused by acne (discoloration, comedones, blackheads, breakouts), it can’t clear your acne. Moreover, heat and humidity influence sebaceous glands and thus you skin is at risk to become oilier and develop more comedonal acne (whiteheads and blackheads) and clogged pores. You may wonder why it should be a problem. Well, probably because more oil means more comedones and breakouts.

To make matter worse, it is known that many products for acne treatment cause photosensitivity. This means that your skin becomes more sensitive to the influence of ultraviolet rays (sunlight, light from tanning beds). So you are in danger to get skin injures, hard sunburns, skin aging and the worst skin cancer.

The truth of Tanning Bed and Comedones

American Academy of Dermatology claimed it wasn’t scientifically proved that tanning beds can lead to acne reduce. Moreover, they say that Tanning beds can actually be the reason of skin cancer.

According to the Nemours Foundation, tan can temporarily darken your skin and thus hide acne. But the truth is it can’t cure the acne.

The usage of sunscreen

The known fact is we should always have sunscreen during tanning. But what is important, this sunscreen should be oil-free. Due to the researches, oil sunscreens can cause pores blocking and further comedonal acne formation. So the best solution is noncomedogenic sunscreens, they can be applied in the tanning booth and worn during the whole day. Noncomedogenic sunscreens don’t cause pores clogging or blackheads and whiteheads appearance.

The compatibility of acne treatment and tanning

According to the Nemours Foundation, in case you have acne or in process of acne treatment, you shouldn’t use tanning booths. Anti-acne medications (antibiotics, tretinoin) are applied to make your skin clean. But they also make it more sensitive to UV rays. You may be in danger of getting skin peeling and redness thus please mind information above.

What about bacteria?

Have you heard about bacteria in the tanning booth? It was proved by the experts at the Johns Hopkins University that there are lots of bacteria in tanning salons, because they are used by many different people every day. And the problem is bacteria may lead to acne appearance or infection of non-inflamed comedones, in case of skin contact.

Moisturizer and Clogged Pores

It is common for people suffering from clogged pores to believe that moisturizing is not necessary, because the skin prone for pores blocking is already oily enough. As a matter of fact, pores clogging is stimulated by excess sebum, but one has to differentiate oil from moisture. Moisturizing problem skin is very important.

So why is moisturizing needed?

The thing is that skin care products fighting acne make skin dried out, which triggers epithelium to create even more sebum – a vicious circle! That’s why moisturizing is important. But buying a moisturizer of a decent quality is a thorough business.

How to choose a moisturizer for the skin prone to comedonal acne

Knowing the following rules will come in hand when choosing a moisturizer, such that it will bring maximum effect to your fight against comedonal acne:

1) Oils are heavy on the skin and cover it with a greasy layer. So you should generally stay away from creams, choosing something lighter and oil free, like lotions. They contain preferably water and bring softer and safer moisturizing for comedonal acne prone skin.

A perfect acne moisturizer won’t plug pores or create comedones – a property called non-comedogenic. It should also be hypoallergenic to avoid allergic reactions.

2) Avoid moisturizers with odors. Components used to perfume the product might cause poor reactions and eventually breakouts. You can find these aggravating chemicals (e.g. parabens) in the ingredients list: they often go just by «perfume» or «fragrance».

3) Nourishing your skin is an inseparable part of moisturizing it. So look for chemicals speeding cell formation and thus lessening inflammation. To such chemicals experts ascribe, among others, copper peptides, essential fatty acids and vitamins A and C.

4) Look for alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid in the ingredients list. Used to diminish thin lines and to decrease wrinkle appearance, these chemicals are also used in products fighting acne. By peeling off dead skin cells, they are effective in preventing blocked pores formation. Not only do they remove the impurities, but also smooth the skin, bettering complexion.

5) No one underestimates sun protection these days, but some people still mistakingly assume that sun can help reduce acne by drying out the skin. On the contrary, exposing problem skin to sunlight might provoke redness, inflammation and breakouts.

That is why try to pick a moisturizer with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more, which will prevent sun burning and acne exasperation.

Azelaic Acid as Blackheads and Whiteheads Treatment

Have you ever heard of Azelaic acid (also known as decarboxylic acid) which helps to treat blackheads and whiteheads? Providing some background information it should be mentioned that the track of Azelaic acid appeared in the l970s and firstly was used for dealing with hyperpigmentation of skin.

But unexpectedly it has been found out that Azelaic acid can be also used to decrease acne, which was proved by later studies. Good news also includes the fact that it works in the way oral tetracycline does but has no side effects the last one does. Nowadays, Azelaic acid known as an antimicrobial and advised to be applied to light and moderate acne forms, including comedonal (which is whiteheads and blackheads) and inflammatory acne. Used as an additional way of treatment.

How does it work

To begin with the scientists still don’t know the exact way of its influence, but it is considered to be antibacterial and also has anti-keratinizing functions. So the idea is that Azelaic acid decreases the production of keratin because the large quantity of the last one is the reason of blackheads and w hiteheads appearance due to the blockage of hair follicles.

It succeeds in dealing with acne forms, which were triggered by bacteria but it failed in dealing with other types.

As any other drug Azelaic acid has its own pluses and minuses, let’s take a look on those.

Advantages and Disadvantages

1. Azelaic acid is helpful during summer time thanks to the fact it’s not photosensitive and its good with patients who may suffer from retinoids.
2. Azelaic acid doesn’t lead to bacterial resistance.
3. It’s not dangerous to use Azelaic acid during long period of time in case acne remains active.
4. It also doesn’t affect skin or clothes by any discoloring contrary to benzoyl peroxide.
5. Especially good for people with dark skin due to its ability to decrease pigmentation.
7. And the most important Azelaic acid is extremely well accepted having only 5% of patients suffer from side effects. It’s absolutely non-toxic.

1) The terms of acne reaction during treatment usually slow, improvement might be seen approximately in a month. For better results the treatment should be continued for at least 6 months.
2) Those who have dark skin are at risk of having hypopigmentation(losing skin color) thus should be checking regularly.
3) Azelaic acid shouldn’t be used during lactating or pregnancy.
4) Another group of risk are those who has delicate skin or suffer from eczema, the treatment may cause dermatitis

Unwanted effects:

According to the data there have been no cases of dangerous side effects however there is a risk of getting skin irritation, erythema, stinging or burning.

How to use:

To treat comedones (blackheads, whiteheads) it is usually used as 20% cream and gel preparation applying to affected areas after skin cleaning once a day. In case of full acceptance can be used twice a day. The dose should be decreased to once in two days in case you have delicate or reactive skin, it’s highly recommended to give your skin chances to get adjust.

Pat attention to avoid eye contact!

Comedonal acne

Comedonal acne is one of the non-inflamed acne forms. Depending of the nature of comedones manifestations, comedonal acne can be mild, moderate or severe. The form is determined with the help of visual inspection including the number and structure of acne elements evaluation, sebum secretion, keratinization and keratosis processes level evaluation. In most cases, the appearance of comedonal acne does not involve the inflammatory process or pathogenic microflora development.


The main morphological elements are single comedones. Comedones can be open and closed depending on their formation. Open comedones appear in the case when sebum, dead skin cells and dirt accumulate in the pore at skin surface. As a result of sebum oxidization these clogs become darker and form a blackhead. Closed comedones are the small light-yellow nodules slightly protruding above the skin surface.

Closed comedo (or whitehead) forms due to the sebum and keratosis products accumulation deep into the hair follicle. As a result, sebum oxidization becomes impossible but favorable conditions for anaerobic pathogenic bacteria growth appear. This causes the development of inflammation and suppuration processes. As a rule, comedonal acne appears in people suffering seborrhea and various acne forms. Comedonal acne can also occur as a result of sun exposure and other physical factors.

As atrophy of sebaceous glands takes place, comedones transform into dense blackheads and cysts, resulting in hair follicles expansion. The skin thickens and becomes rough due to the elastic fibers amount decrease. A correct diagnosis is very important to determine an adequate treatment. Therapeutic methods used for papules, pustular and nodular-cystic formations are inappropriate for comedonal acne treatment.

Open and closed comedones

Micro-comedones are primary microscopic clusters of sebaceous glands secretion formed due to the hair follicle partial blockage. The blockage is caused by corneocytes (surface skin cells that constantly shed). Micro comedones are hardly visible on the surface of the skin.

Closed comedones (whiteheads) form due to the further sebum accumulation and its pressure on the clogged follicle. The main feature of closed comedo formation is nodules formation beneath the skin surface. Inflammatory processes are not very active, however favorable for anaerobic propionibacterium conditions cause superficial skin layers inflammations. Therefore, closed comedones are often called “time bomb”.

Open comedones (blackheads) form due to the continuous accumulation of sebum and corneocytes in the sebaceous gland leading to the hair follicle atrophy. The sebum becomes thick and over-saturated by korneocytes and can not be moved to the skin surface forming a dark plug. This plug is made of densely packed corneocytes (dead ckin cells), sebum (skin oil), propionic bacteria and staphylococcus.

Comedonal acne treatment

In the case of comedonal acne dermatologist usually recommend to remove cosmetics properly, stop using comedogenic skin care products and use comedolytic treatments like retinoids or Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids. The recommendations and algorithm of various acne forms treatment commonly include following medications: in the case of mild acne – topical retinoids, topical antibiotics, in case of moderate acne – topical retinoids and/or benzoyl peroxide. As an alternative means different products containing azelaic acid, AHAs and BHAs, benzoyl peroxide and hormonal therapy can be used.

Pore Strips to Remove Blackheads

What are pore strips?

Pore strips are your effective ally in strive against multiple blackheads while comedone extractor (remover) is helpful only in cases of single mature clogged pores and comedones. The appearance of used strips evidences their high efficiency.

Pore strips are means created for removing blocked pores, especially blackheads, on nose, forehead, cheeks and chin. One side of blackhead strip is covered with a film of glue. It binds accumulated debris, oils and sebum. When you remove dried out pore strip everything bound with glue (clogged pores content and blackheads) is removed as well.


Pore strips efficiency

Outcomes of pore strips application highly depend on your skin type and chosen manufacturer. Problematic skin and improper product can bring zero effect while good pore strips choice is claimed to cause removal of up to 80% of blackheads. In some cases this figure is even more impressive.

Pore strips are the best at comedones removing. Though, they can’t prevent repetitive appearance of blackheads. This should be handled with particular prevention measures: total hygiene, prescription and home blackhead treatments.

Application tips

One should not apply pore strips more often than once in 3 days. Recommended procedure frequency is once a week. Even though pore strips are simple in use, first application can go below expectations.

Application instruction:
– Clean areas affected with blocked pores and make sure you moisturized them properly;
– Soften your skin for better effect. You may get softer complexion by either putting wet and warm washcloth on your face or steaming or taking hot shower;
– Apply the strip over affected by blackheads area and smooth it thoroughly. Make sure there are no unglued spaces or air bubbles below the pore strip;
– Leave the strip till it totally dries. It usually takes 10-15 minutes;
– Take it off afterwards moving from sides to the middle of strip;
– Wash your face and apply disinfector;
– First application of pore stripes can be inefficient because of some mistakes you may make. The next procedure will have better results.


Unwanted effects

Normally, you will experience some undesirable effects after pore strips removal:
– Some glue can be left on the skin. Wash it away with water.
– Removal procedure can be painful. Be patient. Start from sides and process gradually to the middle.
– Skin might burn and ache after removing blackheads. It indicates that you have extremely sensitive skin. Stop using pore strips or be as careful as possible next time.
– Skin may itch after clogged pores cleansing. It is typical. Apply disinfector (e.g. benzoyl peroxide) and itchiness will vanish.

Follow listed recommendations to overcome your skin problems. Pore strips are the must in fight against clogged pores and blackheads.

Getting Rid of Blackheads

What products can help to get rid of blackheads?

Blackheads are provoked by pores clogging. Their “blackish” color is caused by the oxidization between air and oil (sebum) in a plugged pore and the melanin pigment from the dead epithelium cells.
To remove blackheads one should treat their cause – superfluous sebum (oil) and dead epithelium cells. That’s why to get rid of blackheads it is better to use health-and-beauty aids containing only natural components with no astringent effect. Usage of the harsh products can lead to skin defatting which causes excessive sebum production and pores blocking. On the other hand, cleansing products based on natural oils like jojoba or coconut oil succeed in skin cleaning and don’t block the pores because of their similarity with human natural oils.

Exfoliants for blackheads removal

To remove blackheads one should also apply gentle exfoliating mask or scrub on a daily basis. This helps to get rid of dead skin cells which clog the pores. Exfoliating requires carefulness since it can aggravate the blackheads problem. Scrubs for blackheads removal usually contain salicylic acid. They penetrate into the pores and eliminate blackheads by cleaning them.

Containing in scrubs microbeads are extremely good at dead cells removal but still they can fail to eliminate some obstinate blackheads.

Deep cleansing pore strips

Deep cleansing pore strips such as Biore are claimed to be useful in blackheads removal. Wash your face gently and steam beforehand. It will open the pores and provide better sticking for cleansing strips. Take strips and apply them over areas affected by the blackheads. In 15 min. when stripes will dry out take them away from sides to center.

Getting rid of blackheads with BHA products

Take advantage of BHA peels and products containing salicylic acid which penetrate into the pore and exfoliate it from inside removing debris and normalizing oil flow. Due to their anti-inflammatory characteristics BHA products lessen the redness of skin flaws while their antibacterial qualities help to get rid of blackheads and prevent new breakouts.

AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) can perform as complimentary means but they are not so efficient in blackheads fighting as salicylic acid. They can’t penetrate the pores’ inner layer and work only on the skin surface.

Products to avoid

Thus, it is better to employ merely oil-free and noncomedogenic skin care products. To prevent or get rid of blackheads one should avoid beauty aids containing the following components: alcohol, lanolin, isopropyl mystate, sodium laureth sulphate, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, parabens and mineral oil.

Necessary procedures

To get rid of the blackheads you should do the following procedures once or twice a week:
Dissolve a few drops of tea tree oil in container with boiling water and steam your face for approximately 5 minutes. This will open the pores and make your skin softer.
Apply clay mask to remove the oil from the clogged pore. Wait till mask components activate (takes from 10 min. to an hour). Wash it off with warm water and gently dry your skin.

Diet for blackheads removal

Healthy eating habits can help in getting rid of blackheads as well. Particular food choices can cut down oil secretion, increase skin moisture and help new epithelium cells to reproduce. Substitute cooked carbohydrates and fats for fresh fruits, vegetables and raw fats (avocadoes, olives, etc).

Make Up

Make sure your cosmetics don’t contain comedogenic ingredients and fats and won’t clog the pores. Avoid applying make-up on sweating face skin. Remove make-up remains with a cleanser every day. Your make up tools should be washed once a month with mild shampoo and dried in advance.

Prescription Alternatives for Blackheads Medication


Retinoids are claimed to be the best prescription medication for blackheads. Due to the recent medical research, being form of vitamin A retinoids enhance proper functioning of the skin cells and modify the pore shape to normalize oil flow and reduce probability of clogs occurrence. Among the most common and well-studied retinoids are tretinoin (component of such prescription medications as Retin-A, Renova, and  Avita), adapelene (component of prescription drug Differin) and tazarotene (component of prescription drug Tazorac). Named medications can be taken either combined with a BHA product or independently. Studies have shown that tretinoin and adapelene have good impact on pores performance and can be used as effective medication for blackheads and other breakouts. Vitamin A or retinol products are often employed for bleackheads treatment as well but they have no scientifically confirmed effect.

Hormone blockers, birth control pills, and isotretinoin

Such prescription medications as hormone blockers and particular birth-control pills can help in some complicated cases of oily skin by decreasing the levels of androgens that provoke extra oil secretion. Isotretinoin performs as drastic measure when nothing helped, though it finds rare use with doctors if talking about blackheads only.

Oral contraceptives

Progesterone and estrogen to be contained in birth control pills (i.e. Ortho Tri-Cyclen) are certain to reduce testosterone levels, and automatically to decrease the acne manifestations in women. Studies show that approximately 50 % of the lesions fade away. This type of prescription medication can treat a few types of acne.

Though, it is better not to smoke while using oral contraceptives to prevent yourself from heart diseases. Birth control pills have both positive and negative side effects when using them as blackheads medication, so you should consult your doctor before taking them.

Topical disinfectants are of little help

Topical disinfectants like benzoyl peroxide or topical antibiotics are not successful with blackheads removal due to the fact that their formation doesn’t involve bacteria.

Blackheads and open comedones

What are blackheads?

Blackheads or open comedones can be best described as yellow or blackish clogs or bumps on the skin surface. In medical practice they are termed “acne vulgaris”. Despite the widespread belief poor hygiene doesn’t necessarily lead to blackheads. In fact, they appear when excessively secreted oils amass in the sebaceous glands duct. Dark color of these plugs comes as a result of both oxidization induced by interaction between air and sebum in a clogged pore and melanin pigmentation from the dead epithelium cells.

How do open comedones appear?

Blackheads are often provoked by oily skin. Environmental contamination, dust fractions, makeup leftovers and dead epithelium cells tend to block the facial oil glands. Later all these interact with air and turn black. Though blackheads spoil the looks, gentle exfoliation is likely to clean the pores from clogs.


What causes blackheads?

Emergence of this genetic or hormonal disorder doesn’t depend on nation or sex. Normally, healthy pore secretes a certain amount of sebum which then freely moves through it and comes out onto the skin top layer. There it forms a thin protective coat all over the face. Needed oil amount is controlled by the hormones individually.
Otherwise, a mixture of epithelium cells and excessive sebum masses block the pore. Being exposed to air this combination oxidizes and becomes a blackhead.

How to remove blackheads?

There are some better ways of fighting the blackheads then avoiding oily or thick emollients and moisturizers. To list basic practical advice on blackheads treatment, following means should be mentioned:
1.Try using water-soluble cleansers instead of the solid soap. Soap components are likely to clog pores, while inflicted irritation can cause epithelium cells to come off too early and block the pore.
2.Employ gentle exfoliants to get rid of the superfluous skin cells on the face surface and clean the pore from inside (to advance its shape for better carrying capacity).
3.Apply AHA and BHA peels. BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) or salicylic acid as the most common used BHA is likely to affect the pore from inside and exfoliate its inner layer to unblock it and normalize the oil flow.
4.Excess oil should be absorbed. Suits only for oily skin because blackheads on dry skin have nothing to do with extra oil. In such cases clay masks and oil-absorbing papers may be of great help (they shouldn’t contain such irritating components as mint, peppermint, camphor, etc).