Still Breaking Out After 3 Months of ‘Clear Out’? You Could Have Closed Comedones.

There’s a reason why we have a moneyback guarantee on Clear Out.

The retinol-powered lotion is seriously effective at clearing clogged pores and keeping breakouts at bay. In fact, 98% of our customers see improvements in their skin after just one bottle – that's about three months of use.

But what about those of us who fall in the 2%?

If you see no difference despite continuously using Clear Out for three months, is it time to give up on it?

Not just yet!

It could be that you have closed comedones.

Closed come-uh-what?!

What Are Closed Comedones? 

At the root of all acne is a clogged pore, which happens when the hair follicles on your skin become blocked with oil and dead skin cells.  

A fancier, sciencier term for a clogged pore is comedo and the plural of it is comedones. 

There are two types of comedones:  

  • Open comedones are when the clogs pop out through the surface of the skin, forming dark-colored tips. That’s right, they’re what most of us know as blackheads!  
    Fun fact: The dark color is not a result of trapped dirt, but rather, of the melanin in dead skin cells oxidizing when exposed to air.  
  • Closed comedones are when the clogs stay under the skin, fill the hair follicles, and swell out to form small whitish or flesh-colored bumps. These are also known as whiteheads. 
    Fun fact: If you’re picturing white, pus-filled pimples, those are actually called pustules, not whiteheads. Real whiteheads are not red or inflamed, but they can become so! (more on this in our upcoming blog post) 

Do I Have Closed Comedones?  

Answer the questions below to help you identify if you have closed comedones: 

Does your skin feel rough and bumpy when you’re cleansing your face or applying products? 

If your answer is yes, are those bumps red and inflamed? 

If your answer is no, you most likely have closed comedones. 

I Have Closed Comedones! What Do I Do?  

The thing with closed comedones is that topical solutions (such as Clear Out) take time to work. This is because the clogs sit under your skin, which means products need to work extra hard to penetrate through.

But in the long run, retinol, which is a key ingredient in Clear Out, can help to not only clear off closed comedones, but prevent them from forming in the first place. 

For most acne treatments, we recommend committing to them for at least three months before deciding if they’re effective. If you have closed comedones, however, you may only notice changes after around five months when the stubborn and large clogs finally flush out. 

We understand the wait can be frustrating but we encourage you to be patient and stay consistent with your skincare routine so you can get through the full purge. 


Try this: Document your skin progress with selfies! Once a month, take photos of your face from the front, right, and left. Just make sure it’s not right before that time of the month 😉 While you may notice breakouts getting worse from the purge, you should also see smaller spots and fewer new ones around the five-to-six-month mark.  
Also, try not to stare in the mirror and obsess about every new zit and bump. Simply commit to your routine, take the selfies to track your monthly progress, and enjoy your life! 

Beyond committing to a nightly application of Clear Out, it helps to take note of the other products in your routine. Oily, heavy creams, makeup, and even hair products can be causing closed comedones. That’s why any acne-friendly routine should consist only of non-comedogenic products that will not clog pores.  

Real Reviews from Our Customers with Closed Comedones

“Clear Out is definitely helping – I’ve had many closed comedones for years and tried peels, antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, you name it. 

I did purge and still the larger comedones are purging but my skin texture is changing for the better and I haven’t touched any additional treatments in months. I look forward to seeing continued improvement!” – Caitlin F. 

“The process has been slow for me, but it seems to really be clearing out the closed comedones. I had some stubborn clogs that I could always see in some lights and they seem to be slowly disappearing one by one.” – Lisa P. 

“This was only my second month in using Clear Out and Lighten Up so I was going through the purge. It got rid of my main spots around my chin but I have purchased another set to get to the closed comedones and scarring. I really like the products. They are gentle on my skin, unlike other products which make my skin really red and dry. Now I am 5 months into using Clearly Basics and slowly my skin is clearing up. I feel happy I have a skin routine that works!” – Molly D.

Beyond committing to a nightly application of Clear Out, it helps to take note of the other products in your routine. Oily, heavy creams, makeup, and even hair products can be causing closed comedones. That’s why any acne-friendly routine should consist only of non-comedogenic products that will not clog pores.

Still not sure if you have closed comedones? Not seeing the results you were hoping for?

Let us know and we'll try our very best to help! Get in touch with us via Messenger chat or Instagram DM (@clearlybasics).

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

So, long time sufferer of acne. Started when I was 12 and I'm 28 now still battling it. I've tried all kinds of different things to try and get it under control and besides birth control, nothing has helped long term. I never want to take birth control ever again and I just happened upon this brand and decided well, why not try? To my amazement, it has helped more than anything else I've tried, I'd say it has improved my skin to the level it was at when I took BC. Of course I still get pimples every now and then, and tiny flare ups during PMS but my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I highly recommend this company. To those who are considering trying this out, be aware that during the first week or so your skin will go through a purge and your acne will appear to get worse at first. Stick with it! Once that phase is over is when your skin will begin improving. I do need to use it every night for it to be fully effective, but even when I do forget, the pimples don't get too out of control. I just can't say enough good things about this product. It has helped my confidence improve immensely and I definitely recommend trying it to those who have skin as finicky as mine.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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