How Can I Get Rid of Comedonal Acne Without Squeezing?

I've noticed that with comedonal acne, the plugs have to be manually removed. I have tried AHAs, BHAs, etc. and they don't dissolve the gunk inside. With Tazorac (using for 8 weeks), the plugs are pushed up to the surface and then with a squeeze they finally come out or sometimes they get inflamed first. I know squeezing is bad and can leave scarring so is there anyway to remove the plugs without doing so? Very rarely will they come off by themselves with dead skin as I wash my face.

Doctor Answers 8

Manually removal of comedonal acne

If you have lesions that need to be manually removed I would recommend letting your dermatologist do it to minimize your risk of scarring. Retinoids, such Tazorac, should prevent you from forming new lesions. If your Tazorac is not working, perhaps your dermatologist can increase the strength.

Manually removal of comedonal acne

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If you have lesions that need to be manually removed I would recommend letting your dermatologist do it to minimize your risk of scarring. Retinoids, such Tazorac, should prevent you from forming new lesions. If your Tazorac is not working, perhaps your dermatologist can increase the strength.

Acne Treatment

Hello and thank you for your question.  There are a variety of acne treatments available including topical and oral antibiotics, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.  You may also want to consider a treatment called Photodynamic Therapy with BLU light.

Photodynamic Therapy is a revolutionary procedure that safely and effectively treats acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, sun damage and actinic keratosis (precancerous skin lesions).

The treatment process for this procedure involves two steps. The first step involves the application of a clear, photosensitizing agent known as Levulan also known as D-Aminolevulinic Acid. This topical solution is then activated with a specific light source. Red light, blue light or intense pulsed light (IPL), are the primary wavelengths of light that are used. This is a highly precise procedure that only targets the affected cells.

Most patients require a minimum of three or more treatments that are spaced 3-4 weeks apart. You can expect to see noticeable results after each subsequent treatment. The texture and tone of your skin will be significantly improved following treatment. Large pores will also be minimized and the appearance of acne and acne scars will be reduced.

I recommend a consultation with an experienced physician first, best of luck to you.  

Acne Treatment

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hello and thank you for your question.  There are a variety of acne treatments available including topical and oral antibiotics, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.  You may also want to consider a treatment called Photodynamic Therapy with BLU light.

Photodynamic Therapy is a revolutionary procedure that safely and effectively treats acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, sun damage and actinic keratosis (precancerous skin lesions).

The treatment process for this procedure involves two steps. The first step involves the application of a clear, photosensitizing agent known as Levulan also known as D-Aminolevulinic Acid. This topical solution is then activated with a specific light source. Red light, blue light or intense pulsed light (IPL), are the primary wavelengths of light that are used. This is a highly precise procedure that only targets the affected cells.

Most patients require a minimum of three or more treatments that are spaced 3-4 weeks apart. You can expect to see noticeable results after each subsequent treatment. The texture and tone of your skin will be significantly improved following treatment. Large pores will also be minimized and the appearance of acne and acne scars will be reduced.

I recommend a consultation with an experienced physician first, best of luck to you.  

Getting rid of comedonal acne

Yes, even on topical retinoids, some comedonal acne lesions are hard to get rid of. Physically removing them (aka acne surgery or extraction) can be very effective--but you may want to have a professional such as your dermatologist or a licensed esthetician remove them for you rather than squeezing them yourself. Once removed, continued use of retinoids will prevent formation of these stubborn lesions.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Getting rid of comedonal acne

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Yes, even on topical retinoids, some comedonal acne lesions are hard to get rid of. Physically removing them (aka acne surgery or extraction) can be very effective--but you may want to have a professional such as your dermatologist or a licensed esthetician remove them for you rather than squeezing them yourself. Once removed, continued use of retinoids will prevent formation of these stubborn lesions.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

Combination treatment

Retinoid medications (Retin-A, Tazorac and Differin) combined with chemical peels that are able to penetrate the pores (SAHA) are the best way to deal with this frustrating problem.  All treatments are likely long term, however, because there is no cure for comedonal acne (unless it goes away on it's own!)

Victoria W. Serralta, MD
Arlington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Combination treatment

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Retinoid medications (Retin-A, Tazorac and Differin) combined with chemical peels that are able to penetrate the pores (SAHA) are the best way to deal with this frustrating problem.  All treatments are likely long term, however, because there is no cure for comedonal acne (unless it goes away on it's own!)

Victoria W. Serralta, MD
Arlington Dermatologic Surgeon

Comedonal acne (blackheads/whiteheads) treatment

Comedonal acne can be treated with topical creams - retinoids work best. There are many new creams that combine a retinoid with another agent that helps with acne, such as benzoyl peroxide or clindamycin. Acne surgery also works well. Ask you dermatologists, since acne surgery usually isn't covered by your insurance.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

Comedonal acne (blackheads/whiteheads) treatment

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Comedonal acne can be treated with topical creams - retinoids work best. There are many new creams that combine a retinoid with another agent that helps with acne, such as benzoyl peroxide or clindamycin. Acne surgery also works well. Ask you dermatologists, since acne surgery usually isn't covered by your insurance.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

Keep up with the Tazorac

Retinoids are your answer.  Also, the use of the Claisonic PoreBaby will help clean the pores better but gently.  Also a microdermabrasion with water (JETPEEL) will help nicely.  Every other week a mild chemical peel (Jessner's solution) can be used to expedite the entire process.  DO NOT pick!

Laura E. Skellchock, MD (in memoriam)
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Keep up with the Tazorac

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Retinoids are your answer.  Also, the use of the Claisonic PoreBaby will help clean the pores better but gently.  Also a microdermabrasion with water (JETPEEL) will help nicely.  Every other week a mild chemical peel (Jessner's solution) can be used to expedite the entire process.  DO NOT pick!

Laura E. Skellchock, MD (in memoriam)
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon

Comedonal acne

Ask your dermatologist about superficial TCA peels with or without extractions. They work wonders. Also topical prescription retinoids can help.

Jacqueline Calkin, MD
Sacramento Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Comedonal acne

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Ask your dermatologist about superficial TCA peels with or without extractions. They work wonders. Also topical prescription retinoids can help.

Jacqueline Calkin, MD
Sacramento Dermatologic Surgeon

Getting rid of comedonal acne

Comedonal acne is a relatively mild form of acne that involves little or no inflammation. Comedones are usually classified as either blackheads or whiteheads, and they should never, ever be picked! I might suggest you see about getting a Clarisonic. Some of my comedonal acne patients have found that using this device (and they have a head specifically targeting acne!) helps clear their pores and they don't pick at their faces as much. Plus, products are actually driven deeper with these devices and you use less product. If the Tazorac isn't strong enough, your dermatologist might suggest another prescription be used in conjunction with it. But please don't pick your face anymore!
 

Getting rid of comedonal acne

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Comedonal acne is a relatively mild form of acne that involves little or no inflammation. Comedones are usually classified as either blackheads or whiteheads, and they should never, ever be picked! I might suggest you see about getting a Clarisonic. Some of my comedonal acne patients have found that using this device (and they have a head specifically targeting acne!) helps clear their pores and they don't pick at their faces as much. Plus, products are actually driven deeper with these devices and you use less product. If the Tazorac isn't strong enough, your dermatologist might suggest another prescription be used in conjunction with it. But please don't pick your face anymore!
 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.