In this article, we’ll answer your most pressing questions about those pesky blackheads, including: “what are blackheads?“, “what causes them?” and “what do they look like?” Once you understand why you have blackheads and how they appear on your skin, you will be able to get rid of them easily and enjoy clear, healthy, and smooth skin.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are tiny, black bumps on the skin caused due to clogged hair follicles. They are also called open comedones and usually form on the face. However, you may find blackheads on the back, chest, arms, neck, and shoulders too. Much to your surprise, you can also get blackheads in your ears. But, we’ll talk about it in some other article.
A common misconception about blackheads is that they are formed because of trapped dirt. Many people even think dust or poor hygiene causes blackheads to be black. But that’s not true. Blackheads form when a hair follicle in the skin becomes clogged or plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Exposure to air is what causes this material to get oxidized and appear black.
What Do Blackheads Look Like?
You can easily spot them in the image given below. These small stubborn dark dots are enough to drive anyone crazy.
What Causes Them?
Knowing what causes blackheads is the first step in removing and preventing them.
Like we explained it under the heading ‘what are blackhead’ too, those annoying tiny dark dots form when a hair follicle in the skin becomes clogged. The excess oils and dead skin cells accumulate in the follicle’s opening, thus producing a bump, which is medically called a comedo.
If the skin over the bump opens, exposure to the air causes it to appear black, hence forming a blackhead. On the other hand, If the skin stays closed, it forms closed comedones or whiteheads.
Following are some of the more common causes and risk factors for blackheads.
- Your skin has sebaceous glands that produce and secrete sebum. The function of sebum is to help keep your skin flexible, nourished, and hydrated. However, when the oil glands become overactive, they produce excess oil, and that creates problems.
- Picking up the wrong products can also cause them. Use products that are non-comedogenic. These products contain ingredients that don’t clog the pores.
- Your epidermis is always making new skin cells and shedding old ones. As you grow old, your skin’s ability to replace the old cells with the new slows down, which can lead to pore-clogging.
- Hormonal changes are a major factor when it comes to blackheads. The change in hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, or the menstrual cycle causes more sebum production, which increases your chances of developing blackheads.
- Over-cleansing your skin or over-exfoliating it- both can cause blackheads. Cleaning or exfoliating works to eliminate blackheads, but too much is not good. If you over-do it, your skin will become dehydrated and dry. The oil glands will produce more oil to overcompensate it, thus clogging your pores and forming open comedones.
Facts/Tips About Blackheads
- Blackheads don’t appear in your palm, soles of your feet, or any other area that doesn’t have hair because, in order to get a blackhead, you first need a hair follicle.
- Squeezing and picking at blackheads can make your skin worse. Moreover, squeezing a blackhead can introduce dirt, oil, and bacteria from your hand into your pores and increase your chances of developing more blackheads.
- Avoid using skincare products that contain ingredients that irritate the skin, such as menthol, lemon, peppermint, lime, and eucalyptus. Products containing these ingredients can activate sebum (an oily substance found on the skin) production, hence making your problem worse.
- Using standard soap bars can dry out your facial skin. When your skin is overly dried, oil glands will increase the oil or sebum production to keep your skin hydrated. This can lead to pore-clogging, which in turn can cause more black bumps on your face.
- Wash your face twice each day, in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed to remove oil buildup. But don’t overwash your face as it can wipe away your skin’s natural oils, make your skin red or flaky, and even contribute to new open comedones.
- Don’t consider removing blackheads with a needle. Some websites may recommend it, but this can cause serious damage to your skin, or maybe permanent, if not done correctly. There are many good quality blackhead care products available. Kindly use them.
- You can also take help from an exfoliating product or mask. Both work well to remove dead skin cells from your face and reduce open comedones.
- The best solution is to visit a beautician or dermatologist, who will remove your big blackheads safely without any damage.
If you want our homemade blackhead remover recipe to eliminate those pesky blackheads from your skin super-fast, let us know in the comment section below.
You may also read: How to treat large open pores naturally?