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How to Get Rid of Pesky Subclinical Acne and Clogged Pores

If you want to get rid of pesky subclinical acne (the type of acne that is bubbling just under the surface of your skin), the protocol is actually simple.

Read on

If you are dealing with acne in any form, you are not alone. Upwards of 50 million Americans are affected by this common skin condition each year.

While acne might be closely related to the budding hormones of puberty, many adults deal with whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, and cystic acne (oh my!)

If you want to get rid of pesky subclinical acne (the type of acne that is bubbling just under the surface of your skin), the protocol is actually quite simple.

What is subclinical acne?

Medically speaking, “subclinical” refers to a condition that is not severe or advanced enough to show any signs or symptoms.  

Also known as comedonal acne, subclinical acne is superficial acne that is brewing just under the surface of the skin. This type of acne has yet to erupt into full-blown pimples (thus giving it the subclinical label).

If you have small, colorless, or red bumps just under the surface of your skin, you might have subclinical acne. This can cause the skin to feel and look uneven, and if left untreated, could eventually lead to a breakout. Simply put, subclinical acne is clogged pores (that may or may not develop into a pus-filled pimple). These are known as closed comedones.

What's the cause of subclinical acne?

The closed comedones that characterize subclinical acne become closed and clogged when dead skin cells and excess oil become trapped deep inside the hair follicle.

Subclinical acne can be caused by:

  • Poor skin hygiene
  • Excess oil production due to hormonal changes
  • Pore-clogging skin products

How do you treat subclinical acne?

Getting rid of subclinical acne is two-fold -- you’ve got to treat the closed pores, which would improve skin texture, and start preventive continuous treatment to prevent future breakouts.

Subclinical acne treatment:

#1 Up your cleansing game

The best thing you can do when treating subclinical acne is to prioritize the proper cleansing of your skin. If you wear any type of makeup, you might consider double-cleansing.  

Related: How to Properly Wash Your Face in 10 Steps

The cause of subclinical acne is trapped oil and dead skin cells. To combat that, cleanse your face twice daily using anti-acne cleansers that include ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are both efficient at the treatment of blackheads, whiteheads, and comedones. These products can penetrate deep into the skin to help dissolve and unclog pores. They both also kill acne-causing bacteria. Make sure to wash your face somewhere between 30-90 seconds to really let the product sink in (a 10-second splash around isn’t going to help much.)

#2 Add retinoids to your skin routine

A proven method of unclogging clogged pores is the use of retinoid products such as tretinoin. Retinoids use the power of increased skin cell turnover rates to push new skin cells to the surface. By doing so, trapped substances are pushed to the surface for the body to clear. What is left is clearer, happier pores.

The use of retinoids is a powerful tool to clear any stubborn clogged pores or active acne. Products like 0.1% tretinoin can be used as an acne treatment as well as an acne preventative.

Here at Strut, we offer a prescription compounded acne formula that utilizes the power of tretinoin, niacinamide, and clindamycin which all work together to help clear any stubborn clogged pores.

#3 Reduce oil production by moisturizing properly

As we know, clogged pores could be caused by excess oil. Our skin produces oil, secreted by the sebaceous glands, called sebum. Because the skin works in a feedback response to a stimulus, the skin could overcompensate the production of sebum if we over-wash the skin, use harsh or drying ingredients, or under moisturize.

This is why it’s important to proactively moisturize so the skin doesn’t feel the need to compensate and create excess oil. (Even if you have oily skin, you need to moisturize.)

Make sure your choice of cream, lotion, or facial oil is non-comedogenic. Comedogenic products clog the pores while non-comedogenic products do not.


Even when it looks as though the coast is clear - your previously clogged pores are unclogged and happy - you still need to follow a skin routine to prevent future clogged pores. Here are some dos and don’ts of subclinical acne prevention


  1. DO wear sunscreen.
  2. DO moisturize daily.
  3. DO remove your makeup before bed (always!).


  1. DON’T use any comedogenic products.
  2. DON’T stop cleansing even if your skin is clear.
  3. DON’T pick at any closed pore.

Strut Treats Subclinical Acne with Tretinoin

Here at we treat acne online and offer many prescription products that could help get rid of pesky subclinical acne or clogged pores.

Our compounded Strut Acne Formula includes three powerful prescription ingredients proven to improve acne and clogged pores. If you’d like to see if our Strut Acne Formula with Tretinoin, Niacinamide, and Clindamycin is right for you, book a free online consultation with our medical team today.  

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