In vivo study of comedone reformation

Using a microscopy technique researchers were able to “watch” what happened to a comedone a week after it was removed.

Previous research has shown that comedones have a cyclical nature, either forming into inflammatory acne, re-appearing, or resolving.

Based on clinical experience, this cycle was estimated to take between 2-6 weeks. However, no studies had been done that provided direct evidence for this timeline.

A week after the comedone was extracted the skin appeared to resolve – to the naked eye. Under a microscope, however, researchers found that dead skin cells and sebum were already beginning to accumulate and reform the comedone.

This highlights the importance of continuing acne treatment even after the skin looks like it has cleared. This may also provide evidence for the use of acne treatments over the entire face or affected area instead of spot treating.

Further research with this technique could show how acne treatments prevent this comedone reformation, if there is individual variation on this reformation, what changes in the skin cells is causing the excess build up, and how long a lesion needs to be treated before the pore returns to normal.

Study finds link between sleep times and sebum production of women’s skin

This paper found a correlation between the time that female subjects went to sleep and how much sebum their skin produced.

A slight increase in sebum production was seen the later they went to sleep. As well, sleeping less was correlated with a slight decrease in sebum production. This relationship wasn’t seen in the male participants of the study.

They also found a correlation between levels of free testosterone and 5α-reductase (an enzyme that converts testosterone in to dihydrotestosterone – a more active form).

Curiously this correlation was, again, only significant for women – despite men having 10 times more free testosterone than women. The researchers think that there may be a maximum threshold for how much testosterone can influence sebum production. There’s also research indicating that the sebaceous gland’s sensitivity to testosterone varies among individuals as well.

While the study’s sample size was quite small, and it’s completely possible this isn’t reproducible, due to random chance or some other variable…there is newer research describing a pathway between inflammation and sebum production – which may be what’s at play here.