When we talk about acne, one of the common names that pop up is blackhead.
They are tiny but can give your skin a totally different look especially when they appear in groups. Just like every other type of acne, there are different things you can do to make blackheads disappear completely.
This week, in this article, I will explain what blackheads are, factors that cause them and how you can treat them. So, get settled. You are in for a very enlightening ride.
Let’s start at the beginning,
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads are little bumps that pop up when your hair follicles are clogged. They are called blackheads because they are always black or dark. The dark colour is as a result of the oxidized melanin they contain.
They are a type of acne but are the milder version. They usually appear on the face or neck but can also appear on the back, chests, arms and shoulders
What causes Blackheads?
There are different factors that trigger the growth of blackheads. They can be caused by hormonal changes, age, menstruation, birth control pills, pregnancy, etc.
Blackheads usually appear most during puberty. The hormonal changes within the body cause increased production of sebum. When your body produces excess skin cells, they can cause blackheads.
Blackheads can also be caused by excessive sweating, humidity, blocked skin pores or any action that open your hair follicles.
How do Blackheads form?
The first thing you need to understand is, the glands that produce sebum (sebaceous glands) are under your hair follicles which are in charge of hair growth. Your hair follicles are within your skin pores.
When your skin pores get clogged, dead skin cells in the pores come in contact with oxygen which causes oxidation. Usually, the clogged skin pores open and allow oxygen in. It is the mixture of oxygen and sebum or dead skin cells that causes blackheads.
Some people think it is caused by trapped dirt, but that isn’t true. Blackheads are not caused by clean or dirty skin.
What are the symptoms of Blackheads?
They appear as tiny black bumps on your skin.
They are non-inflammatory, that is, they do not get swollen or red or painful. With blackheads, you do not experience pain or discomfort like you would when you have pimples.
They are also usually smaller than pimples.
How can Blackheads be treated?
Below are some tips that can help you get rid of blackheads:
Wash your face regularly
You should make sure you wash your face in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. Doing this will prevent oil from building up and clogging skin pores. Ensure you use a very mild soap or gentle cleanser to wash to avoid skin irritations.
You should however not overdo the washing routine. Washing your face twice daily is enough. If you do this excessively, it can cause irritations on your skin, which will only worsen the blackheads.
Get a mild and gentle exfoliator
Using an exfoliator will reduce excess oil from your skin. However you want to make sure you get one that is mild and gentle, to prevent your skin from becoming too dry.
Though the aim is to reduce excess oil in your skin, you do not want to make your skin too dry. It will only trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
Also ensure your exfoliator has no fragrance and is suitable for sensitive skin. This would prevent irritations on your skin.
Be careful of the kind of makeup products you use
Make sure you buy only non-comedogenic products. Products tagged non-comedogenic do not clog your skin pores. They instead, prevent dead skin cells from building up in your skin. With them, your pores will stay open and clear.
You should also stay away from oil-based skincare or makeup products. The goal is to remove excess oil from your skin. Oily products would only worsen your skin condition.
Never squeeze or scrub your blackheads
No matter how tempted you are, do not squeeze your blackheads. It might irritate your skin and only worsen the problem.
Likewise, do not scrub. When you scrub, you remove the sebum which is not a good thing because then, your sebaceous glands would try harder to replace the sebum.
This will in turn lead to more blockages and might put you at the risk of inflammatory acne.
Get an anti-acne medication
These ingredients kill bacteria in your skin, dry up excess oil, and shed off dead skin cells.
Treat any underlying skin conditions first
If you can successfully treat them, you might even notice an improvement in the blackheads. And then, treating becomes easier.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Try to rest well. Give your body the rest it needs and stay away from anything stressful because stress can trigger the production of sebum.
Also try to exercise. It can help relieve stress.
Ensure you eat healthily too. You should know that what you eat affects your skin. Stick to a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Visit your dermatologist
If you notice that your symptoms are not getting better, then you need to see a dermatologist. Your doctor, after diagnosis, will give you anti-acne prescriptions that should work.
Blackheads, just like most types of acne can easily be treated.
So, whenever you notice one, there is absolutely no reason for you to worry. Get yourself a prescription from your dermatologist or get an anti-acne medication from a skincare store.
Also, be careful what you apply to your skin to avoid further skin irritations that might worsen your skin condition. If you can try out these tips, then blackheads would stop being a problem. Because in little or no time, they will be gone for good.