You might have noticed tiny but very pesky bumps appearing on areas like your chin. They don’t look like your typical blackheads, so what are they?
What are the bumps that appear on your chin?
These blemishes that leave your skin feeling rough and bumpy are called “closed comedones”. Unlike a pimple, they’re not red, inflamed or painful, and also not like a blackhead, they don’t look like it will be possible to “extract” them.
Closed comedones are formed when your hair follicle is trapped with a plug made up of dead skin cells and sebum. This “plug” occupies more space that’s what’s available in your follicle, which is why it swells and you see it as a bump on your chin.
Besides your skin type, the products you use can also aggravate the condition. Heavy creams and lotions that are oil-based may be nourishing for the skin, but if you don’t remove them thoroughly, can contribute to the formation of closed comedones. And if you notice them near your hairline, chances are it could be your hair products that are triggering these blemishes.
The difference between closed comedones and open comedones
The “problem” is that closed comedones aren’t easy to extract unlike open comedones (like blackheads!) and any attempt to forcefully get rid of them through extraction can rupture the wall of your follicles, causing bacteria to enter, and developing into inflamed pimples.
People with oily skin are usually more susceptible to closed comedones because the excessive sebum that they produce can accumulate and harden as plugs more easily. (Of course, this applies to people with combination skin who may have an oily chin.)
How to get rid of closed comedones that appear at your chin?
Before we get started, we have to mention that while we often notice closed comedones at the chin area, they may appear at other areas as well. The tips will apply to all types of closed comedones that you see.
1. Remove makeup thoroughly
Wearing makeup is not the problem; the problem arises when you don’t remove them thoroughly. Makeup, together with the sebum and impurities that cling to it as you go about your day, can easily clog your follicles, forming closed comedones. This is why many people with this type of blemish are likely to be guilty of a poor makeup removal routine.
While most of us would remove our makeup at the end of the day, it is important to make sure we have a thorough process. Typically oil cleansers work well to get rid of oil remnants from your face. Don’t forget to double-cleanse: that is, to wash your face again with a regular facial wash to get rid of any debris left behind from the makeup removal process. Double-cleansing is encouraged regardless of the format of makeup remover you use.
If you’re using a lip/eye makeup remover on your lip and eye makeup, soak a cotton pad with the product and rest it on areas that you’d like to cleanse for at least 20 seconds before gently wiping it off. The remover takes time to melt down your makeup, so you have to be patient.
2. Exfoliate regularly
Remember the plugs that clog your follicles are also made up of dead skin cells. We shed cells every day as part of the metabolic process and if exfoliation is not done, these dead skin cells accumulate as a layer on the surface of our skin, which doesn’t just clog our pores, but also cast a dull tone to our complexion. The layer of dead skin cells also prevents our skincare products from penetrating more deeply into our skin – think about how you’d be wasting all that investment!
For healthy skin, exfoliate at least once a week, with more attention paid to your T-zone. Pick an exfoliant that’s suitable for your skin type: if you have dry or sensitive skin, it is better for you to go for something that’s gentle, and opt for a (gentle) chemical exfoliant (they are usually formulated with acids) instead of a physical one (those that scrubs your skin with gritty bits).
3. Arrange for deep-cleansing facials
Professionals at facial studios have the right skills and tools to deeply cleanse our pores. If you want a deep-cleanse without worrying about inflammation and hurting your skin unnecessarily, go for regular facials. If closed comedones are a regular issue, point it out to your facialist and ask them for a deep-cleansing session that’s suitable for your skin type and condition.
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4. Moisturisation is important
You may be surprised, but adequate moisture keeps the oil-water balance of your skin in check. Making sure that your skin is moisturised will prevent your skin from overproducing sebum in order to lubricate a dehydrated skin surface. And we know overactive sebaceous glands always mean clogging of pores.
5. Resist squeezing the closed comedones
Finally, we have to remind you not to attempt to squeeze them. Unlike pimples and blackheads that are “open”, there’s no clear exit point for closed comedones, which means that you’ll need to forcefully break your skin for anything to be squeezed out. At the same time, there’s very little to be squeezed out from each comedo too, which means you’ll end up with a lot of wounds that open up the chance for inflammation and formation of pimples. So, word of caution: don’t even try!