Blackheads. The dreaded black spots that seem to appear and dot the nose, cheeks, and other visible areas of our face. This mild type of acne is characteristic by the dark or black surface that covers your pores. Along with your face, they sometimes can also appear on your arms, neck, back, chest and shoulders. They are considered one of the most common skincare concerns. So, what are blackheads and how can you remove them?
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are clogged pores that have a signature black or dark covering. They are a mild form of acne and are most commonly found on the face. They appear as small bumps with an open top that has accumulated dirt or grime from the surrounding environment.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads are caused when a clog or plug develops at the opening of the pores on your skin. The pores contain sebaceas glands that produce oil. The oil that is produced in the sebaceous gland is called sebum. Sebum plays a key role in keeping your skin soft and hair healthy. However, dead skin cells may collect at the openings of the skin follicles creating a bump. If the bump stays closed, the bump is referred to as a white head. On the other hand, if it opens up the exposure to air turns it black. These are called blackheads.
What factors impact blackheads?
Certain factors increase your chances of developing acne and blackheads. Some of these are genetic, some are dietary, and some are the outcome of your environment.
- Your body produces too much oil.
- You have a build-up of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria on your skin.
- Your hair follicles are irritated with dead skin that accumulates.
- Certain drugs such as corticosteroids, androgens, or lithium can increase your sensitivity to blackheads.
- Hormonal changes impact the oil production particularly in teenage years, during menstruation, and on birth control.
In addition, some studies have found that dairy products and foods increase blood sugar levels. These may play a part in triggering acne. While this has been mostly anecdotal evidence, many people swear by it.
What can you do to treat blackheads?
Blackheads can be treated with ingredients including salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, Vitamin A derivatives and resorcinol. They are available in cream, gel, and pad form that can be applied directly to the skin. The way these medications work is by killing bacteria, drying excess oil, and causing the skin to shed dead skin cells. These ingredients are available in our Activita and Clarifier skincare range.
Alternative ways to treat blackheads that can be achieved in a salon include:
- Medifacial Microdermabrasion
- Chemical peels
- Laser and light therapy
- Manual removal
- Enzyme Treatments such as Clarifier ENZY Dissolving Treatment
Here are some of our top recommendations for at home skincare products to include in your beauty routine to eliminate blackheads. If you want to learn more about the 5 home care tips for cleaning pores, make sure to check out our other blog post.