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Maturation Arrest Acne

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Maturation arrest acne is a term you do not hear very often. This type of acne looks like small pebbles under the skin. While it is usually non-inflammatory, it is inflammatory for certain individuals. It’s not visible from far away. However, when you observe your skin closely or pull it tight, you can see the small pebbles.

The cause of this acne is closed comedones or whiteheads. These whiteheads give the skin the pebbled appearance. Oil and dead skin cells accumulate inside the pore and create a blockage. The blockage also stops bacteria from getting in. That's why there is no inflammation. Without inflammation, the body is unable to discard the accumulated oil and cells from the pours. As a result, the acne doesn’t heal and results in permanent pebbles on your skin.

In a general acne life-cycle, the comedones mature into blackheads, which have been oxidized. But here, the maturation process is stopped or arrested. Instead, the accumulations get trapped and the pebbles continue to grow. These “pebbles” can be EXTREMELY difficult to extract, making this a really frustrating type of acne, and one of the most difficult to treat. Patience and consistency is KEY.


  • Dull sluggish appearance

  • Majority of lesions are congestion/blackheads but a few pimples/pustules may be present

  • Excessive oil

  • Pebbly appearance when the skin is stretched

  • Skin is generally not sensitive or reactive to products


  • Dehydrated skin

  • Hormonal Imbalances (a rise in testosterone levels)

  • Pore clogging ingredients in topical products, including: Isopropyl Myristate and Algae Extract

  • Tobacco

  • Omega fatty acid deficiency

  • Excessive inflammation, possibly from diet or by extreme exercising


  • Exfoliate! Use AHAs and Retinols specifically

  • Check cosmetics and hair care products for acne causing ingredients

  • Add anti-inflammatory foods and supplements to your diet

  • Balance your hormones

  • Manage stress

  • Receive professional services every 2 weeks, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels (the two treatments combined is preferred).

  • Remove sugar, salt, carbs, seafood, seaweed, dairy, organ meats, and peanuts from your diet. See our acne blog for a suggested diet.



  • Clarifying Cleanser

  • Respiratory Solution

  • Repair Serum

  • Hydrotant Gel (if very oily/during the summer, this can be used as your daytime moisturizer)

  • Harmony Crème (if very oily/during the summer, this can be used in the evening instead)

  • Z-Plus


  • Cranberry Foamer (double cleanse)

  • 5% Glycolic Solution (possibly 10% for some)

  • Retinoxyl Elixir

  • Clarifying Serum (spot treatment)

  • Glucana Creme or Harmony Creme (if not used during the day)


  • Cranberry Scrub (1 time per week)

  • Cranberry Peel (1 time per week)

  • Clarifying or Purifying Masque (1-2 times per week, after scrub or peel)


  • My Skin Buddy

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