There are two main types of acne lesions, inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Non-inflammatory acne refers to whiteheads and blackheads, also known as closed comedones and open comedones. Comedones are oil producing hair follicles that get filled with debris, dead skin cells, excess oil, or other impurities to develop into visible lesions. Along with papules and pustules, these lesions are called papulopustular acne. The most severe form of non-inflammatory acne is called nodular acne.
Open comedones, or blackheads, form when a plug develops from oil and dead skin cells in a hair follicle. As the plug dilates and enlarges, the hair follicle pore remains open, exposing a black plug, hence the term blackhead. While it is commonly thought that the black part is dirt inside the pore, this is not the case. The black part is actually oil inside the pore that turns black when exposed to outside air. Blackheads are small, last a long time, and cannot be washed away.
Closed comedones, or whiteheads, form when the same process occurs but the hair follicle remains closed or is very narrow. Because the excess oil in the clogged pore is not exposed to outside air, it remains white. The trapped sebum and bacteria remain below the skin, causing an infection in the area. This appears as either a whitehead or a pink bump on the surface of the skin due to inflammation.
The key to dealing with non-inflammatory acne is cleanliness and balance. This doesn’t sapping the skin of moisture, which only leads to increased sebaceous gland activity and over-production of pore-clogging. Instead it means eliminating debris, excess oil, dead skin cells while promoting moisture balance. A great way to restore optimum moisture balance in the skin is with an oil-free moisturizer, like Cosmedica Hyaluronic Acid Serum.