Aesthetics Daily – Small bumps on the skin caused by clogged hair follicles are called blackheads. They have a generally very small dark or black surface. Blackheads are a mild form of acne that usually forms on the face, especially the chin and nose. It can also appear on the chest, back, shoulders, arms, and neck.
Because of their dark color, blackheads are easily visible on the skin. They are slightly raised although they are painless and not inflamed like pimples. This occurs because the bacteria that attack the blockage in the hair follicles cause redness and inflammation.
Blackheads are different from whiteheads. A clogged pore that stays open is called blackheads while a pore that closes is called whiteheads. Another difference, blackheads are less irritated whereas whiteheads can be inflamed and irritated. This irritation is associated with whiteheads as the result of clogged pores due to the proliferation of acne bacteria.
Blackheads made of oxidized melanin tend to appear when hormones cause an increase in sebum production by glands under the skin.
What Causes Blackheads?
Clogged hair follicles in the skin can cause blackeads. Dead skin cells and excess oil collect in the follicle holes, resulting in dark bumps. If the skin over the bumps opens, exposure to the air causes the blockage to appear black. Conversely, if the skin does not open, whiteheads are formed.
Blackheads, which are acne vulgaris, are caused by an overproduction of oil glands. Usually, this occurs during hormonal shifts such as puberty, pregnancy and menstruation. Blackheads can also occur when dead skin cells are not exfoliated regularly.
Age and hormonal change are important factors that trigger blackheads. Like other symptoms of acne, blackheads most often occur during puberty when changes in hormone levels trigger a spike in sebum production.
During adolescence both boys and girls experience higher levels of androgens. Androgens, which are male sex hormones, trigger greater sebum secretion and a higher turnover of skin cells around puberty.
How To Treat Blackheads?
To reduce blackheads, avoid skin care products made of oil and alcohol. Also, avoid squeezing or rubbing blackheads as that can actually make them worse.
1. Over-the-counter treatment
You can use over-the-counter (OTC) products without a doctor’s prescription. OTC treatments come in many forms such as gels, creams, serums and dressings. Blackheads are most often treated with products containing salicylic acid, resorcinol, and benzoyl peroxide.
2. Prescription drugs
If OTC products don’t work, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication. Medicines that contain AHA, BHA, retonoid, and vitamin A work to prevent clogging of pores and promote faster skin cell turnover.
3. Laser and light therapy
This treatment uses small beams of light that decrease oil production and kill acne-causing bacteria. Reaching just below the skin surface, laser and light treatments can treat blackheads and acne without damaging the top layer of skin. However, this treatment is usually used to treat inflammatory acne conditions.
Microdermabrasion is a minimally abrasive treatment that works with a microparticle or diamond-tipped wand to scrub the superficial layers of dry dead skin cells.
5. Chemical peels
This treatment uses a chemical solution that is applied to the skin. Over time, the layers of skin will peel off to reveal smoother, rejuvenated skin. Although this treatment can be used for blackheads, it is usually more effective at improving skin texture.
6. Pore strips
Instantly, the pore strip removes dirt and oil from your pores. This is a much better way than trying to remove blackheads with your fingers. Pore strips can reduce clogged pores and improve the appearance of pores if used weekly.
How To Prevent Blackheads?
1. Use oil-free products
Any product that contains oil can trigger blackheads. Choose cosmetic products such as lotions, makeup, and sunscreens that are non-comedogenic so that your skin problem doesn’t get worse.
2. Use an exfoliating product
Scrubs and exfoliating masks remove dead skin cells from your face. However, make sure that you use an exfoliating product that doesn’t irritate your skin. Choose a soft exfoliator such as rice flour or baking soda. Baking soda scrubs are great for cleaning deep pores because they are water soluble, so there is no possibility of exfoliating the skin.
3. Wash your face regularly
To get rid of oil buildup, wash your face regularly when you wake up and before going to bed. Washing your face more than twice a day can irritate your skin, strip your face of natural oils, and can lead to excess oil production.
Use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t irritate and redden the skin. Some cleansers may have antibacterial properties that kill acne-causing bacteria.
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