Still Breaking Out After 3 Months of ‘Clear Out’? You Could Have Closed Comedones.

There’s a reason why we have a moneyback guarantee on Clear Out.

The retinol-powered lotion is seriously effective at clearing clogged pores and keeping breakouts at bay. In fact, 98% of our customers see improvements in their skin after just one bottle – that's about three months of use.

But what about those of us who fall in the 2%?

If you see no difference despite continuously using Clear Out for three months, is it time to give up on it?

Not just yet!

It could be that you have closed comedones.

Closed come-uh-what?!

What Are Closed Comedones? 

At the root of all acne is a clogged pore, which happens when the hair follicles on your skin become blocked with oil and dead skin cells.  

A fancier, sciencier term for a clogged pore is comedo and the plural of it is comedones. 

There are two types of comedones:  

  • Open comedones are when the clogs pop out through the surface of the skin, forming dark-colored tips. That’s right, they’re what most of us know as blackheads!  
    Fun fact: The dark color is not a result of trapped dirt, but rather, of the melanin in dead skin cells oxidizing when exposed to air.  
  • Closed comedones are when the clogs stay under the skin, fill the hair follicles, and swell out to form small whitish or flesh-colored bumps. These are also known as whiteheads. 
    Fun fact: If you’re picturing white, pus-filled pimples, those are actually called pustules, not whiteheads. Real whiteheads are not red or inflamed, but they can become so! (more on this in our upcoming blog post) 

Do I Have Closed Comedones?  

Answer the questions below to help you identify if you have closed comedones: 

Does your skin feel rough and bumpy when you’re cleansing your face or applying products? 

If your answer is yes, are those bumps red and inflamed? 

If your answer is no, you most likely have closed comedones. 

I Have Closed Comedones! What Do I Do?  

The thing with closed comedones is that topical solutions (such as Clear Out) take time to work. This is because the clogs sit under your skin, which means products need to work extra hard to penetrate through.

But in the long run, retinol, which is a key ingredient in Clear Out, can help to not only clear off closed comedones, but prevent them from forming in the first place. 

For most acne treatments, we recommend committing to them for at least three months before deciding if they’re effective. If you have closed comedones, however, you may only notice changes after around five months when the stubborn and large clogs finally flush out. 

We understand the wait can be frustrating but we encourage you to be patient and stay consistent with your skincare routine so you can get through the full purge. 


Try this: Document your skin progress with selfies! Once a month, take photos of your face from the front, right, and left. Just make sure it’s not right before that time of the month 😉 While you may notice breakouts getting worse from the purge, you should also see smaller spots and fewer new ones around the five-to-six-month mark.  
Also, try not to stare in the mirror and obsess about every new zit and bump. Simply commit to your routine, take the selfies to track your monthly progress, and enjoy your life! 

Beyond committing to a nightly application of Clear Out, it helps to take note of the other products in your routine. Oily, heavy creams, makeup, and even hair products can be causing closed comedones. That’s why any acne-friendly routine should consist only of non-comedogenic products that will not clog pores.  

Real Reviews from Our Customers with Closed Comedones

“Clear Out is definitely helping – I’ve had many closed comedones for years and tried peels, antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, you name it. 

I did purge and still the larger comedones are purging but my skin texture is changing for the better and I haven’t touched any additional treatments in months. I look forward to seeing continued improvement!” – Caitlin F. 

“The process has been slow for me, but it seems to really be clearing out the closed comedones. I had some stubborn clogs that I could always see in some lights and they seem to be slowly disappearing one by one.” – Lisa P. 

“This was only my second month in using Clear Out and Lighten Up so I was going through the purge. It got rid of my main spots around my chin but I have purchased another set to get to the closed comedones and scarring. I really like the products. They are gentle on my skin, unlike other products which make my skin really red and dry. Now I am 5 months into using Clearly Basics and slowly my skin is clearing up. I feel happy I have a skin routine that works!” – Molly D.

Beyond committing to a nightly application of Clear Out, it helps to take note of the other products in your routine. Oily, heavy creams, makeup, and even hair products can be causing closed comedones. That’s why any acne-friendly routine should consist only of non-comedogenic products that will not clog pores.

Still not sure if you have closed comedones? Not seeing the results you were hoping for?

Let us know and we'll try our very best to help! Get in touch with us via Messenger chat or Instagram DM (@clearlybasics).

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.

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