The role of microcomedones in acne: Moving from a description to treatment target?

Li Xie, Michael R. Hamblin, Dan Ling Zheng, Xiang Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A major factor in the pathogenesis of acne is ductal hyperproliferation in the pilosebaceous glands. This takes the form of invisible microcomedones and leads to the subsequent formation of both inflammatory and non-inflammatory clinical lesions. Microcomedones are the initial stage in the cyclical development of acne, so called comedogenesis. Microcomedones can be detected using cyanoacrylate skin surface stripping, electron microscopy, reflection confocal microscopy and other techniques. It has been proposed that the density and the size of microcomedones are positively correlated with acne severity. Thus, the purpose of this review is to summarize the root causes of acne, and suggest that treatment of microcomedones could, at least in part, resolve acne lesions and prevent relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalJDDG - Journal of the German Society of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Acne vulgaris
  • Cutibacterium acnes
  • Microcomedones
  • ductal hyperproliferation
  • pilosebaceous glands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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