Blackheads: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments
A blackhead or an open comedo is a wide opening on your skin with a darkened/blackened mass of skin debris that covers the opening.
Regardless of their name, a few blackheads can be of yellowish color. Comedones are widened hair follicles that are loaded with oil (sebum), skin debris (keratin squamae), and bacteria.
Closed comedones are whiteheads, whereas open comedones are blackheads. The plural of “comedo” is comedomes”.
Whiteheads are also called milia. These are hard, white, and small bumps. Whiteheads are stubborn and difficult to treat. For best skin-care treatment, a well-formulated BHA product should be used one or two times a day.
Blackheads are tiny bumps that show up on your skin because of clogged pores (hair follicles). The bumps which appear on the skin are called “blackheads” because of their black and dark surface. Blackheads are considered to be a mild type of acne that generally forms on the face; however, they can also show up on the back, neck, shoulders, chest, and arms.
Blackheads are considered the first phase of acne. Blackheads can form into pimples, which are otherwise called pustules or papules.
Blackheads and acne generally develop after the beginning of puberty, when the levels of hormone upsurge and reach the skin. Certain hormones activate the sebaceous glands, which then result in the overproduction of sebum.
Sebum is intended to grease up the skin and hair and it usually drains out of the pores and opens on the surface. At times when the sebum is blocked, the bacteria begin to gather. If the development of sebum and bacteria gets no way to open to the skin surface it is called a whitehead. A blackhead develops when the pore opens to the surface and allows air to enter.
Sebum holds in melanin, which is a pigment. It is the substance that gives skin its color. When exposed to the air, Melanin turns dark (oxidizes). That is the reason blackheads are dark. The dark color does not signify dirtiness, and scrubbing does not help in removing them.
Several circumstances and conditions can cause blackheads, or even make them worse, for example, the utilization of makeup and tropical oils.
Blackheads can occur on any skin type, but generally, they occur on oily skin.
Symptoms of blackheads
Blackheads are easily spotted on the skin due to their dark color. They are somewhat raised, but they do not cause pain because they are not aggravated like pimples. Pimples form on the skin when bacteria occupy the blockage in the pore (hair follicle), causing inflammation and redness.
Causes of Blackheads
Blackheads are normally created by the overproduction of oil, which has a tendency to occur when people reach the puberty stage.
Spikes in hormone production can bring about high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It’s a hormone that actuates hyperactivity in the oil glands, which results in the clogging of pores.
Here are some factors which can increase the chances of developing acne and blackheads;
- Production of excessive body oil
- Development of the p. acne bacteria (propionibacterium acnes) on skin
- Irritation of the pore (hair follicles) when dead cells of the skin do not shed on a regular basis
- Experiencing hormonal changes which causes an increase in oil generation amid teenage years, during menstruation, or when taking pills for birth control
- Take certain medications, for example, lithium, androgens, and corticosteroids.
Some individuals believe that whatever you drink or eat can affect acne. Dairy items and foods for instance carbohydrates which increase the blood sugar levels might play a part in activating acne, yet the researchers are not convinced that there is a strong association. Also, stress does not affect blackhead occurrence directly. However, anxiety and stress can cause individuals to pick at their acne and blackheads, which might irritate the skin.
Common places of blackhead occurrence
Blackheads are most likely to occur on your face, particularly on the nose and on the sides of the nose. But also people tend to get blackheads in places like ears, back, shoulders. Blackheads and whiteheads can form almost anywhere, where there is a pore ( hair follicle).
Getting rid of blackheads:
The key factor that helps in getting rid of blackheads is to unplug the pores and dislodge their development. While people find it tempting to squeeze them, it is not what doctors recommend! Our fingers have dirt and oil on them which can result in further breakouts. Instead, let us look at some product ingredients to look out for.
Look for exfoliators, cleansers, and acne products that contain glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid, or a combination of all these. Products which include all these ingredients loosen up the dead cells which can get clotted in the hair follicles. These ingredients can actually help in unplugging the follicles. These are chemical exfoliators and are different from grainy exfoliators. They work in a regular and effective way without causing irritation on your face.
Also can one use products like pore strips? They should be used in a gentle way and avoid using them around the eye area and do not use it on an everyday basis.
Treatment options for blackheads
Adapalene is a third-era topical retinoid, utilized predominantly as a part of the treatment of mellow to direct skin inflammation. Numerous patients with blackheads have experienced great results.
Numerous acne/skin inflammation solutions are available at medical stores and grocery markets without a prescription. Such medications are available in gel, pad, and cream form and are applied directly onto the skin. The medications contain ingredients, for example, resorcinol, salicylic corrosive, and benzoyl peroxide. They help in drying excess of the oil, kill bacteria and force the skin to shed the dead skin cells.
On the off chance that this does not work, the specialists might suggest other drugs. Medications that contain vitamin A, for instance; adapalene, tretinoin, and tazarotene keep the plugs from forming in your hair follicles and promote more fast turnover of skin cells. These medications are applied directly to your skin. Your doctor might likewise prescribe another kind of topical prescription that contains antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide. This kind of medicine may be especially useful if you have pimples or acne blisters/cysts in addition to blackheads.
Contraceptives have frequently been utilized for the treatment of clogged pores (blackheads) and pimple inflammation (acne), regularly with great results.
Oily hair touching your face skin can spread contamination/infection and at times energize the spread of clogged pores (blackheads) and pimple inflammation (acne). Keep your hair away from your face as it might reduce the occurrence of blackheads.
Cleaning the skin
Clean your face with a decent cleaning agent/cleanser, preferably, one used for oily skin, for example, a salicylic acid cleanser. Don’t wash the affected area more than two times a day, else you may aggravate the skin and make the symptoms even worse.
Other treatments for blackheads and acne are;
Chemical peels help in removing the clogs and disposes of dead skin cells that add to blackheads. During the peeling process, a strong chemical solution is then applied to the skin. Over time, the top layers of your skin peel off, uncovering the smoother skin underneath. Mild peels are accessible over-the-counter, while the stronger peels are either performed by dermatologists or skincare professionals.
Dermatologists, who are skincare doctors, utilize an uncommon instrument called a “round loop extractor” in order to remove the plugs which cause blackheads to occur. A little opening is then made in the plug; to remove the clog, the specialist applies pressure using the extractor.
Laser and Light Therapy
Laser and light treatments use very tiny beams of sharp light for lessening the oil production or for killing the bacteria. Both lasers and the light beams reach beneath the skin surface to treat acne and blackheads without harming the top layers of the skin.
During microdermabrasion, specialists utilize a special kind of instrument that has a rough surface for sanding out the topmost layers of your skin. Sanding the skin helps in removing the clogs which cause blackheads to occur.
Home remedies for blackhead and whitehead treatment
Obsessively scrubbing your face is not a very good way for getting rid of the blackheads as it is going to make it even worse. Scrubbing dries out the skin which results in more production of oil and then one trouble will lead to another… The cycle goes on!
- Steam your face
For about one or two minutes steam your face and then you will have to use a natural exfoliator for scrubbing off the white and blackheads gently. This is the simplest and best home remedy.
- Take honey, salt, and lemon in equal quantities and mix them together making a scrub. You can also add yogurt to this mixture. Then very gently massage, using this scrub, onto the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse it off and pat dry.
- A mixture made of lemon juice and honey is considered one of the popular blackhead removers.
- Mint toothpaste is considered very helpful in clearing blackheads. All you need to do is apply some onto your nose and leave it for some time until it’s dry. Then using a wet washcloth to wipe it off.
- Take gram flour (besan) and crushed almonds and prepare a scrub to exfoliate the affected area. This is also a popularly used home remedy.
- Tea Bags
Empty a used tea bag; rub it onto the area where whiteheads are visible. Do this at least twice a week.
- Apply aloe vera juice to the affected area. This will soothe and heal the area.
- A slow but very effective way to get rid of your blackheads is to wash the affected area using saltwater on a daily basis. This will gradually help in eliminating the excess oil in that area.
- Apply milk to the area where you have white or blackheads and gently scrub them using a towel. This may help in eliminating them.
- Turmeric is considered a great healing ingredient. Make a mixture using mint juice and turmeric and apply it to the affected area.
- Ground cinnamon or groundnut oil can help in removing blackheads and also will prevent future growth.
- Mix baking soda with some water. Leave this on for 15 to 20 minutes then wash it off.
- Make a mixture of rose water and oatmeal powder. Apply it on your skin and leave it for 20 minutes. This surely helps!
- Strawberry leaves when applied to the blackhead can be very helpful. The alkalinity helps in reducing the swelling and cleanses the blocked pores.
- Tomatoes can also help. They have a natural antiseptic property that dries up the blackheads. Take a small tomato, peel it and then mash it. Before going to bed apply it over your blackheads. Leave it on overnight. Then in the morning wash it with clean water.
- For preventing blackheads from occurring, eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Include a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruits in your diet. This will help to keep your skin fresh and healthy, also preventing skin problems from occurring like whiteheads and blackheads.
- Take three tablespoons of yogurt and oatmeal two tablespoons. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice and olive oil to it. Mix them together, making a smooth paste. Apply it onto your face and leave for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
- Take fresh fenugreek leaves, add some water to them and make a paste. At night apply this on your face. Using warm water, wash it in the morning.
- Take a towel and dip it into warm water. Squeeze the towel to remove access water. Lie down with your face up and put this towel on the face. This helps in opening the pores. Do it for ten minutes every day.
- Keep your hands off of your face
If you are in a habit of resting your head on your hands or you sleep with your hands up to your face, the dirt and oils transfer from your hands to your face. Avoid such habits!
- Check your phone
When we use the phone, the oil from our skin transfers onto the phone, and that oil then transfers back to our skin. Take a closer look at your phone and we can bet you will see oil on it. Clean your phone every time you use it daily.
- Drink lots of water.
- If your whiteheads or blackheads do not disappear after two months, you need to visit a dermatologist.
- Use makeup and foundation creams that are oil-free.
- Never sleep with your makeup on.
- Once in a week change your pillow cover.
- Eat healthy goods which include fresh fruits and green vegetables, especially those which are rich in vitamin A and E.
- Keep the skin moisturized.
- Use exfoliating masks and scrubs to remove the dead skin cells. Make sure the product you use does not irritate your skin.
Never pop the blackheads or whiteheads with your hands; as it might take a form of a pimple. Also, refrain from exposing your skin too much to the sun.
The best products to use for blackheads and whiteheads treatment are;
- Biore: Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser
This cleanser helps in warming up immediately when you apply it to damp skin. This helps in opening up the pores and cleans them effectively. It contains salicylic acid which is the best ingredient for acne-fighting. It can be used on daily basis.
This is a daily face wash for clearing the blackheads from your skin. This is recommended for oily skin types. It exfoliates your skin and the natural oil fighter; tea tree oil helps in reducing the production of sebum.
This cleanser contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid which exfoliates and silicone dioxide which absorbs oil and it also has pore-tightening ingredients. You can leave it on your skin for about 5-10 minutes and then rinse it off.
It contains salicylic acid and has proven to give remove blackheads from the skin.
This cleansing tool vibrates as it cleans. This also contains salicylic acid. The vibrating helps to loosen up the development of dead skin cells and oil in the pores.
This helps in exfoliating your skin. It contains salicylic acid and gets deep down into the pores of your skin.
- Neutrogena: Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub
This also contains salicylic acid and scrubbing beads which exfoliate the skin.
- Noxzema: Triple Clean Acne Blackhead Facial Cleanser
This is another product that has salicylic acid. It is good for combination to oily skin.
Take care of your skin and keep it clean!