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Closed Comedones (Whiteheads)

A comedo is a clogged hair follicle (pore) in the skin. Keratin (skin debris) combines with oil to block the follicle. A comedo can be open (blackhead) or closed by skin (whitehead), and occur with or without acne.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

Illustrations of types of acne lesions Click to enlarge

Three types of acne lesions in detail National Institutes of Health

About Whiteheads

The basic acne lesion, called the comedo (KOM-e-do), is simply an enlarged and plugged hair follicle. If the comedo stays beneath the skin, it is called a closed comedo and produces a white bump called a whitehead.

A comedo that reaches the surface of the skin and opens up is called an open comedo or blackhead because it looks black on the skin's surface. This black discoloration is due to changes in sebum as it is exposed to air. It is not due to dirt. Both whiteheads and blackheads may stay in the skin for a long time. NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Terms to know

Acne
A chronic disorder associated with an increase in sebum secretion. It is characterized by open comedones (blackheads) and closed comedones (whiteheads).
Acne Lesions
A pattern of blemishes in an area of skin resulting from the skin condition.
Bacteria
A large group of single-cell microorganisms. Some cause infections and disease in animals and humans. The singular of bacteria is bacterium.
Comedones
A comedo is a clogged hair follicle (pore) in the skin. A comedo can be open (blackhead) or closed by skin (whitehead), and occur with or without acne. The plural of comedo is comedones.
Hair Follicle
The hair follicle is a tube-shaped sheath that surrounds the part of the hair that is under the skin and nourishes the hair.
Microcomedones
A comedo is a clogged hair follicle (pore) in the skin. This small plug is called a microcomedo. If sebum continues to build up behind the plug, it can enlarge and form a visible comedo.
Open Comedones (Blackheads)
A comedo is a clogged hair follicle (pore) in the skin. A comedo can be open (blackhead) or closed by skin (whitehead). Being open to the air causes oxidization, which turns it black.
Pilosebaceous Unit
The structure consisting of hair, hair follicle, arrector pili muscle and sebaceous gland.
Pores in the Skin
A tiny opening in the skin.
Sebaceous Glands (Oil Glands)
Small glands located within the epidermis, and associated with the hair follicle, that produce and secrete an oily substance that lubricates the skin and hair.
Sebum (Oil)
An oily substance produced by certain glands in the skin.
Skin
The outer covering of the body that protects it from the environment.

Related conditions

Terms to know

Acne
A chronic disorder associated with an increase in sebum secretion. It is characterized by open comedones (bla...
Acne Lesions
A pattern of blemishes in an area of skin resulting from the skin condition....
Bacteria
A large group of single-cell microorganisms. Some cause infections and disease in animals and humans. The sin...
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