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Clear Comedonal Acne: 5 Summer Steps for Fall-Ready Skin

Comedonal Acne on teen girl

As summer heats up and adolescents enjoy their break, it’s also the perfect time to start prepping their skin for the upcoming school year. June is Acne Awareness Month, and at Valley Skin Institute, we’re focusing on comedonal acne, a common skin concern for many teenagers.

What is Comedonal Acne?

Comedonal acne is a type of non-inflammatory acne that primarily features blackheads and whiteheads. These are caused by clogged hair follicles filled with excess oil and dead skin cells. Unlike inflammatory acne, comedonal acne doesn’t typically involve bacteria or the painful, red bumps associated with pimples and cysts.

Key Characteristics of Comedonal Acne:

  • Non-inflammatory: Comedonal acne usually doesn’t involve redness, swelling, or pain like other types of acne.
  • Whiteheads and Blackheads: This type of acne is characterized by whiteheads (closed comedones) and blackheads (open comedones). Whiteheads are small bumps with a white top, and blackheads are small, dark spots on the skin’s surface.
  • Clogged Pores: Comedonal acne forms when hair follicles (pores) get blocked by oil, dead skin cells, and sometimes bacteria. These blockages are what you see as whiteheads and blackheads.
  • Common on Face and Forehead: It typically appears on areas of the skin where oil glands are more active, like the forehead, nose, and chin, but it can also occur on the chest and back.
  • Can Be Persistent: While it may be less painful, comedonal acne can be persistent and recurring, requiring ongoing treatment.
  • Triggered by Oily Skin and Hormones: Factors like excess oil production, hormonal changes (especially during puberty), and sometimes certain skincare products can trigger or worsen comedonal acne.
  • Not Always Linked to Hygiene: Keeping the skin clean can help manage comedonal acne, but its occurrence isn’t necessarily due to poor hygiene. It’s more about how your skin naturally behaves and reacts.

Why Summer is Ideal for Starting a Good Skin Routine

The summer break offers a relaxed schedule, giving teenagers time to establish a consistent skincare routine without the daily rush of school activities. Here’s why a good routine can make a difference:

  1. Consistency is Key: Regular care helps prevent the buildup of oil and dead skin cells, reducing the risk of clogged pores.
  2. Prepping for the Fall: A few months of dedicated skincare can result in clearer skin, boosting confidence as school resumes.
  3. Adapting to Seasonal Changes: Skin can react to the summer heat and humidity, making it an optimal time to address specific needs like increased oil production.

Steps to a Summer Skin Routine

1) Choose the Right Acne Cleanser

  • Benzoyl Peroxide is the ingredient that fights acne by killing bacteria and clearing pores. It is available in various strengths. Over-the-counter products typically contain 2.5% to 5% benzoyl peroxide, while medical-grade products contain a higher concentration, providing more potency and effectiveness.
  • Check out our Fig BENZOYL PEROXIDE 10% ACNE WASH, on special this June! This soap-free cleanser calms and softens skin, and the micronized benzoyl peroxide does not leave a white chalky residue. It’s also free from paraben, oil, and fragrance. Click here for more info.

2) Cleanse Gently but Thoroughly

  • Wet your face with warm water, apply a small amount of the cleanser, and gently massage it for 10-15 seconds. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

3) Exfoliate Regularly

  • Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells and prevent pores from becoming clogged. Choose gentle, non-abrasive exfoliants.

4) Hydrate and Protect

  • Despite the summer heat, moisturizing is crucial. Choose non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) moisturizers. Also, protect your skin with a broad-spectrum SPF to avoid UV damage, which can worsen acne scars.

5) Consider a Professional Deep Clean

  • HydraFacial is a popular noninvasive treatment that combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration, and antioxidant protection in one seamless process. For comedonal acne, it can help maintain a clear complexion and prevent future breakouts.

Advanced Treatments for Persistent Acne and Scarring

For those dealing with more severe types of acne or lingering acne scars, professional treatments can offer significant results:

  • Microneedling: This procedure involves using fine needles to create micro-injuries on the skin, promoting collagen production and skin renewal. Remarkable improvements in skin texture and the appearance of acne scars can be seen in as little as four treatments. 
  • Appointments for Severe Acne: If you’re battling cystic or other severe forms of acne, consult a dermatologist for help. Customized treatments can be more effective than over-the-counter options. You can request an appointment at Valley Skin Institute here.


Embracing a solid skincare routine over the summer helps manage comedonal acne and sets up adolescents for clearer, healthier skin. From effective daily cleansers to professional treatments like microneedling and HydraFacial, there are various ways to support skin health.

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Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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