Subclinical Acne Exposed (Causes & How to Get Rid of It)

Subclinical Acne Exposed (Causes & How to Get Rid of It)

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Subclinical acne, also known as comedonal acne, is those tiny bumps that can appear in different areas of the face. It most commonly appears on the forehead, but it can also show up on other parts of the skin. Most of the time, subclinical acne can be covered up by makeup. However, some cosmetics can cause irritation and allergic reactions. In this post, we are sharing information to help you know more about this kind of acne and how to treat it.

We are not doctors or related to any medical institution. We do not partake in any particular opinion. Also, we recommend that you get in touch with a licensed dermatologist if you have a serious skin condition, and to effectively treat subclinical acne.

If you’re interested in specific products to get rid of subclinical acne, check out our article about the best subclinical acne products. We have shared the best products available on the market to treat and get rid of subclinical acne.

Short Introduction to Subclinical Acne

Subclinical acne is a stage of acne that has yet to become full-blown. It is considered a precursor to regular acne. This kind of acne commonly appears on the forehead. The small bumps blend in with the skin and can look like mild nodules.

According to Michele Green, M.DOpens in a new tab.. of RealSelf, “Subclinical acne is superficial acne that is just below the skin. Also known as comedonal acne, hormones, genetics cause it, and clogged pores from dead skin, dirt, and bacteria.”

What Causes Subclinical Acne?


Scientists are not sure about how stress can cause acne to get worse, but there is a reason to believe that it can contribute to acne. A study that is published by the Journal Dermato-EndocrinologyOpens in a new tab. in 2017 suggests that sebocytes or the oil-producing cells contain stress receptors for hormones. It can increase the production of sebum when you are feeling stressed.

Poor Hygiene

Another cause of subclinical acne is poor hygiene. Failure to clean your face in the morning or at night, especially if you wear makeup, can lead to subclinical acne. It is vital to keep the face clean and moisturized to avoid acne breakout.

Skin Care Products

Using the wrong skin productsOpens in a new tab. can worsen the bumps and acne on your face. You need to be careful in using skincare products, especially if you have sensitive skin. Sunscreen is a product that can clog pores. You can use a moisturizer with SPF to protect your skin from the sun.

Unhealthy Diet

When it comes to treating acne, you also need to consider your diet. Processed foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar can boost insulin levels in the body. It can lead to a sudden acne breakout. Moreover, milk and dairy productsOpens in a new tab. can also result in subclinical acne.

✅ Video – Causes of Acne and Pimples

For more information about the many causes of acne, you can watch the video below.

Is Subclinical Acne Itchy?

Subclinical acne can also itch for time to time. The reason for this is that clogged pores caused dryness and irritation, which can result in itchiness. Avoid scratching your acne because while it may provide a short term relief, it can make acne symptoms to worsen. Avoid touching your face to prevent irritation.

Can Subclinical Acne Also Appear On the Cheeks?

Yes, subclinical acne can appear in various areas in the face like forehead, cheeks nose, and chin. Most of the time, they appear in clusters. The tiny bumps blend in with the skin and can look like small nodules.

How Long Does it Take for Subclinical Acne to Go Away?

Using both over prescription and over the counter products, it can take up to twelve weeks for you to see improvements on your skin. It is essential to stick to your treatment and face cleaning routine. After twelve weeks and there are still no results, you need to ask your dermatologist for another treatment option.

✅ Video – How I Cleared My Acne

Watch the video below for some tips and information about the best skin care routine that you can follow.

Why Does Subclinical Acne Breakout Occur?

A lot of factors like hormones, diet, and poor hygiene can trigger the breakout. Your skin type also contributes to acne breakouts. If you have oily skin, you are more likely to experience acne. You need to use the right skincare products prescribed by your dermatologist to avoid breakouts.

Can Subclinical Acne Be Treated?

Yes, it can you can get rid of subclinical acne. You can use skin care products or treatments. You can find a lot of skincare products on the market made to combat subclinical acne. However, you need to do some research before purchasing and using a product. Ask your dermatologist for the best option that you have.

How Do You Treat Subclinical Acne?

You should talk to your dermatologist about your acne concerns. They can provide you with the best advice and will prescribe the right medication or treatment to get rid of the stubborn subclinical acne on your face. Going to the dermatologist can be expensive, but if you want competent and fast subclinical acne treatment results, they are your best option.

How to Get Rid of Subclinical Acne

Take note that when it comes to getting rid of subclinical acne, it is vital to treat it right and to use the right products. Make it a habit to wash your face to avoid exposure to too much sunlight. According to Adarsh Vijay MudgilOpens in a new tab., M.D., the medical director of Mudgil Dermatology, “A good hygiene regimen is key” He says that washing the face at least twice a day with the use of a mild cleanser that is non-comedogenic can get rid of subclinical acne.

“At-home treatment for the earliest of clogged pores may include salicylic acid or beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), which can provide exfoliation while also helping to prevent and treat blocked pores,” says David LortscherOpens in a new tab., M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology. He adds that “The best treatment for comedones, whether or not they’re visible, is a retinoid. Tretinoin, a prescription retinoid, is the active ingredient in acne topicals such as Retin-A. These decrease the formation of microcomedones (or early blocked pores) by normalizing the life cycle of the cells that line the pore opening.”

The lesser the dead skin cells that are blocking your pores, the less build-up there will be. It leads to clear skin and less subclinical acne. On the other hand, you can also avoid potential side effects that come from harsh products by using home remedies. A healthy diet and drinking enough water can lead to clear skin. You can also make use of facial masks to achieve clear looking skin.

✅ Video – Tips to Clear Bumpy Skin Texture

Watch the video below for more tips and information on how to clear bumpy skin texture.

How to Clear Subclinical Acne on Forehead

Subclinical acne on the forehead caused by an oil called sebum that normally lubricates and protects the skin. There are times when the pores get clogged with dirt, dead skin cells, and excess oil. Bacteria grow inside and create swollen bumps.

To treat subclinical acne on the forehead, you need to have a good skincare routine. Wash your face twice a day using gentle facial products. It will remove excess oil from the skin. You can also use over the counter treatments that contain ingredients like salicylic acid.

You can use natural remediesOpens in a new tab. like aloe vera, green tea extract, and tea tree oil that are rich in antioxidants. If natural remedies fail, you can use prescription-strength acne treatments. Do not pop the acne on your forehead because it can cause irritation and can lead to infection and scarring.

✅ Video – Secret to Clearing Tiny Forehead Bumps

Here is a video that Anncy has shared. She talks about how she was able to get rid of the tiny bumps on her forehead. To find out how she did this and what treatment and products she has used, you can watch the video below.

What is the Best Toner for Subclinical Acne?

The toner is an essential part of your skincare routine. It should be applied right after cleansing the skin. If you have acne-prone skin or combination skin, choosing the right toner will help clear clogged pores and acne. Many kinds of toners sold on the market. So how can you find the one that is right for you? You need to determine the type of skin that you have. Also, check the label for the ingredients included in the toner.

According to Joshua Zeichner, M.DOpens in a new tab.., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, “People with oily skin should look for ingredients like salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that is soluble in oil and can help remove excess sebum from the face, as well as mandelic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, derived from almonds that have anti-microbial properties.”

He also said that it is ideal to use a toner that contains glycolic acid that can help in removing oil from the T-zone.

Is Salicylic Acid Good for Subclinical Acne?

Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). It is lipophilic, which means that it can be dissolved in oil and penetrate the pores. The salicylic acid helps in treating acne by exfoliating the skin, getting rid of dead skin cells that clog pores. You can purchase over the counter in 0.5%-2% concentrations.

According to Dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D “The cells in the lining of the hair follicles of people with acne tend to multiply quickly and stick to one another. Salicylic acid works by dissolving this cement that holds those sticky cells together in the clogged pores.”

Salicylic acid is anti-inflammatoryOpens in a new tab., keratolytic, which means that it helps exfoliate dead skin cells, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. It penetrates pores to loosen clogged follicles by breaking apart dead skin cells, softening them, and helping them slough off the skin.

It works best on blackheads and whiteheads, but it also provides some benefits in treating cystic acne. Internal sources like hormones and genes often cause cystic acne, so topical treatments are not always enough to treat this condition.

Can Benzoyl Peroxide Get Rid of Subclinical Acne?

Benzoyl peroxide is the first product that many people use when it comes to treating any acne. It is useful in clearing acne by minimizing acne-causing bacteriaOpens in a new tab. and cleaning the pores to get rid of dead skin cells and excess oils. It is found in many over-the-counter products and considered an active acne treatment ingredient.

This substance is known as an effective bacteria-reducer and is ideal if your acne is inflamed and red. Also, if you have whiteheads and zits, benzoyl peroxide is an excellent treatment. It treats and prevents subclinical acne by killing deep-seated bacteria and helps the pores exfoliate dead skin cells and excess oil.

Possible side effects include peeling and dryness. Dry skin is the common side effect of Benzoyl peroxide that a lot of users have experienced. It can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so you should wear sunscreen.

Does Tea Tree Oil Help Subclinical Acne?

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree, which is common in Australia. Aboriginal Australians use it as a traditional medicine for many centuries. But can it treat subclinical acne?

In 2006, studies showedOpens in a new tab. that tea tree oil has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help in treating inflammatory acne lesions like pimples.

In 2016, a study was madeOpens in a new tab. using a combination of tea tree oil and resveratrol to protect the skin from sun damage. The result shows that most participants have fewer bacteria and oil on their skin. They also have smaller pores, which can improve the acne condition.

In a study in 2017, participants apply tea tree oil on their faces every day for 12 weeks. As a result, the study concludedOpens in a new tab. that tea tree oil could improve mild to moderate acne without experiencing severe side effects.

Hence, tea tree oil can help improve the condition of subclinical acne, but there is no guarantee that it will cure and eliminate the skin problem.

✅ Video – How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne

Below is a video that talks about the uses of tea tree oil for acne. Find out about the benefits that it can provide by watching the video below.

Does Subclinical Acne Go Away?

Your lifestyle, stress, and hormonal changes can cause subclinical acne. So, does it go away? Yes, you can treat subclinical acne. Clogged pores cause these types of acne, so one of the best ways to improve your skin condition would be to upgrade your cleansing technique.

If you wash your face with just water, there’s still oil, makeup, and dirt clogging your pores. To remove such impurities, you need to use effective facial soap and wash. After that, you use a toner that helps remove any leftover oil and dirt on your face. It is essential to moisturize so that your skin stays hydrated at all times. Choose a light moisturizer that does not feel sticky when applied to your face.

It also helps that you stay away from makeup for a couple of days. Heavy powder and foundations can stick to your face and clog your pores. If you are not comfortable with going barefaced, you can use a lightweight facial powder that will cover impurities but still allow your face to breathe.

What Products to Use for Subclinical Acne

Salicylic Acid

You can use a cream that contains salicylic acid to treat subclinical acne. Salicylic acid is an anti-bacterial that comes from the willow bark. It exfoliates the pores and prevents acne breakouts.

Facial Cleanser

Facial cleansers are a great way to treat subclinical acne. Use a facial cleanser that suits your skin type. You also need to consider the sensitivity of your skin. Choose a facial cleanserOpens in a new tab. made to treat subclinical acne.


After washing your face, do not forget to apply moisturizerOpens in a new tab.. Opt for a moisturizer that will not clog your pores. Avoid using products that include heavy oil like shea butter or coconut oil as an ingredient. These kinds of oil can clog the pores and may result in acne.

Exfoliating Scrub

It is not enough to clean the face. You also need to exfoliate. Use an exfoliating scrubOpens in a new tab. that effectively removes dead skin cells and oil buildup on the skin. You can exfoliate once or twice a week to avoid acne breakout.

How to Avoid Subclinical Acne

Drink Water

Water is essential to keep healthy and clear skin. The cells are nourished and hydrated by water. Take note that dehydration can cause the skin to compensate by producing too much oil. You should drink eight to ten glasses of water a day.

Avoid Heavy Makeup

The urge to cover up the acne on your face is strong, but you should leave your skin as clean as possible. Avoid using heavy makeup and foundationOpens in a new tab. that can trap oil and dirt into the pores. Too much makeup can aggravate acne. You can opt for a light powder that will allow your skin to breathe and will not clog the pores. If you have subclinical acne, it will make the situation worse. Also, avoid using heavy makeup. Foundations can settle into the pores and can lead to acne. See to it that you let your skin breathe from time to time and go barefaced. Your skin will thank you for that.

Choose the Right Skin Care Product

Many skincare products are available on the market. However, you need to be careful when choosing the ones that you will use. Check out the ingredients to avoid any skin allergy and irritation. If you have sensitive skinOpens in a new tab., opt for mild skincare products that are gentle to the skin.

Eat Healthily

Be mindful of the foods that you eat. Certain foods can trigger acne. For instance, soy and dairy products can cause hormone imbalance and can lead to excess oil production and skin irritation. Eat healthy foodsOpens in a new tab. that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Do Not Pick Your Acne

Subclinical acne is not the typical acne that is reddish. They are smaller and are colored the same as your skin tone. Do not pick the acneOpens in a new tab. to avoid irritation. The bacteria that are present in your fingers can transfer to the acne and can worsen it. Avoid picking on your skin to prevent scarring and irritation. Popping the little bumps on your forehead will only make it worse and can lead to inflammation. If you want to clear away subclinical acne, you need to focus on your treatment and use the right skincare products.

How to Treat Subclinical Acne

The best way to treat subclinical acne is to wash your face regularly. The less dead skin cells blocking the pores, the less build-up there will be. As a result, you will have clearer skin. You also need to consider your skincare routine. Here are some ways on how you can treat subclinical acne.

Use Toner

Using a toner after cleansing your skin is essential. The reason for this is that the cleanser is only a part of the cleansing processOpens in a new tab. and not the end of it. The cleanser removes dirt and bacterial while the toner will help in purifying the skin. Use a toner that is gentle and dermatologically tested.

Choose the Right Facial Cleanser

The best way that you can clean your skin and remove dirt, bacteria and dead skin out of your pores would be to choose the right facial cleanser that works for your skin type. See to it that you use a face wash that will get rid of the makeup that you have applied on your face without leaving your skin irritated and dry.

Wear Sunscreen

Protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage your face and cause early signs of aging. Make sure that you wear sunscreen every time you go out. It is most especially true if you are using treatment products on your face. Some products can cause irritation whey exposed to too much sunlight. Apply the right amount of sunscreen to make sure that your skin is always protected.

Use Home Remedies

There are a lot of home remediesOpens in a new tab. that can help in treating subclinical acne. You can use tea tree oil, garlic, aloe vera, and honey. If you research online, you can find a lot of home remedy ingredients that are tested and proven to work by a lot of users. On the other hand, you need to be careful in using home remedies because it can irritate.

Visit Your Dermatologist

The best way to treat acne is to talk to your dermatologist for the best products that you can use. There are many over the counter products that you can purchase. Still, you should ask for professional advice so you can use the one that suits your skin type and will effectively remove subclinical acne with fewer side effects possible.

✅ Video – Choosing The Right Acne Treatment for Teens

If you area teen and is having doubts about choosing the right acne treatment to treat subclinical acne, the video below provides tips and information on how to select the proper treatment for teens. Click the play button for more details.

How to Use Garlic for Subclinical Acne

For many centuries, garlic has been used medicinally. Some researches show how garlic can be useful when it comes to treating various medical conditions.

According to studiesOpens in a new tab., garlic is rich in antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-fungal properties which come from allicin. Allicin kills bacteria that cause acne and can also reduce inflammation, swelling, and improve blood circulation. These enable the skin to receive nutrients.

According to Dr. Philippa LoweOpens in a new tab., dermatologist, and Simple Skincare expert, “There are several plant extracts that have anti-microbial properties, including Allicin. However, not only is it probably not enough to cure a spot, but when garlic is rubbed directly on the acne spot, it can lead to a plant dermatitis and even blistering. It is much better to stick to a formulated spot gel, like Simple Spotless Skin Rapid Action Spot Zapper, for a quick fix of an inflamed spot. In essence, this may include some plant extract anti-microbials such as eucalyptus oil but at a tested and safe level.”

Here are a few home remedies using garlic that you can use at home to treat subclinical acne. Take caution in applying garlic on your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin because it can irritate. There is no guarantee that these remedies will work. If you are having doubts, you can always get in touch with your dermatologist for some advice.

Garlic for Topical Use

Puree three to four cloves of garlicOpens in a new tab. and directly apply it to the affected area on your face. Leave it for a few minutes, rinse with water and pat dry. A word of caution: Remove the garlic immediately if you feel and burn or itch on your skin.

✅ Video – Using Garlic to Treat Acne

The video below is shared by a user to treat her acne problem. The ingredients include garlic and tomatoes. Watch the video to find out how to do the mixture.

Raw Garlic Juice

For this remedyOpens in a new tab., you need to mash five grated garlic cloves and let them sit for ten minutes. Using a thin cloth, squeeze the juice from the mashed cloves and dab it on the affected areas. Leave it on your skin for ten minutes and rinse with water

Garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar

It is a simple remedy that you can do. Mix one spoon of apple cider vinegar with one spoon of water. Mash five grated cloves and let it sit for ten minutes. Using a thin cloth, squeeze the juice from the mashed cloves and mix it with apple cider and water. Apply it directly to the affected areas on your face and let it sit for ten minutes before rinsing with water.

✅ Video – Get Rid of Pimple Scars with Garlic and ACV

Here is a step-by-step instruction video on how to use garlic and apple cider vinegar to get rid of subclinical acne.

How Do I Stop Acne On My Forehead

To avoid acne on your forehead or in any area of your face, you need to have good skincare. Wash your face twice a day using a gentle and effective cleanser. The cleanser will help remove excess oil from your skin. You can also try using products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Choose a product that suits your skin type.

Can You Pop A Subclinical Acne?

Avoid poping subclinical acne or any acne. Take note that subclinical acne is just congested pores, and poping the acne will cause the skin to tear. It can lead to scarring and irritation. As tempting as it may be, avoid picking or popping your acne at all costs.

✅ Video – Why You Shouldn’t Pop Your Pimples

Here is a video that talks about why you should avoid popping your pimples. To learn more about the video, push the play button below.

Final Thoughts

Subclinical acne is another kind of acne that affects a lot of people. If you are suffering from this kind of acne, you should consult your dermatologist for the ideal treatment or medication that you can use. Many things need to be considered in treating subclinical acne-like skin type, the severity of the acne, and the proper remedy. You should consult a licensed dermatologist for the best treatment.

The End

We hope that we have shared useful information that you can add to your research about subclinical acne. If you have further questions and concerns, you can visit your dermatologist and talk about the best subclinical acne treatment that will work for your skin type. Thank you for reading!

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