Medical Definition of Comedo

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Comedo: The primary sign of acne, consisting of a widened hair follicle filled with keratin skin debris, bacteria, and sebum (oil). A comedo may be closed or open. A closed comedo (called a whitehead) has an obstructed opening to the skin and may rupture to cause a low-grade inflammatory skin reaction in the area. An open comedo (called a blackhead) has a wide opening to the skin and is capped with a blackened mass of skin debris.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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