What are blackheads?
Blackheads are tiny, black lesions on the skin that most commonly form on the face and neck. They are a characteristic of mild acne, however, they might arise without other acne symptoms. They include an oxidised form of melanin, a dark pigment produced by skin cells.
When the opening of a hair follicle (pore) becomes clogged with dead skin cells and oil, a blackhead occurs. A comedo is a hump caused by an obstruction. When the comedo opens, the clog is exposed to the air, where it oxidises, darkens, and creates a blackhead. It becomes a whitehead if the comedo remains closed.
Blackheads are most commonly found on the face, but they may also be found on other regions of the body, such as the thighs, buttocks, and armpits. Comedones are a form of comedone. Comedones form when dead skin cells and an oily, protective material known as sebum clog the pores of the skin.
The top of the blackhead, which can be seen on the skin's surface, is dark in colour. Hair develops from hair follicles in the pores, while sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, lay beneath. When these pores get clogged, the dead skin cells in the open pore react with the oxygen in the air, becoming black and generating a blackhead. This is sometimes associated with trapped dirt, however, the formation of blackheads has nothing to do with skin cleanliness.
Causes of blackheads
Blackhead outbreaks on the inner thighs are frequently caused by a combination of factors, including
- Dead skin
- Friction and chafing caused by tight-fitting trousers and leggings can also play a role.
Blackheads can be aggravated by a number of circumstances.
Age and hormonal changes play a significant role. Blackheads, like other acne signs, are most frequent throughout adolescence, when hormone levels fluctuate and sebum production increases. They can, however, emerge at any age.
Around puberty, androgen, the male sex hormone, causes increased sebum excretion and skin cell turnover. During adolescence, both males and females have greater amounts of androgens. Hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy, and the use of birth control pills can also cause blackheads in women after adolescence.
Blackheads are caused by the body's overproduction of skin cells.
Other factors involve:
- excessive sweating, shaving, and other actions that open the hair follicles by blocking or concealing pores with cosmetics and clothes
- Some health disorders, such as stress, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and premenstrual syndrome, are aggravated by excessive humidity and grease in the near environment (PMS)
- Some steroid-based treatments, such as corticosteroids, are used to promote fast skin cell turnover.
Symptoms of blackheads
The tiny, dark lesion that gives blackheads its name is the predominant symptom. Blackheads are a sign of acne, but because they are formed by open pores, they vary from other acne lesions in several respects. Blackheads do not cause inflammation. This implies they are not infectious and will not cause the same amount of pain and anguish as pimples and pustules.
Although blackheads have a raised surface, they are not as deep as pimples. In certain individuals, the change in look produced by blackheads can cause embarrassment and social or psychological problems.
Some Do’s and Dont’s for blackheads
Do’s for blackheads
- Non-comedogenic products that do not clog pores should be used instead to maintain pores free and open and decrease dead skin buildup.
- Use of Prescription treatments
- Other skin conditions, such as eczema or rosacea, might make it more difficult to remove blackheads. If the issue is addressed before the acne, the blackheads may improve.
Don’ts for blackheads
- Even use a metal blackhead remover, blackhead removal strips, blackhead removal creams and avoid squeezing blackheads because this can irritate the skin and make the condition worse.
- This may exacerbate the situation. Sebum is removed with scrubbing.
- As a result, the sebaceous glands work harder to replenish the sebum, resulting in additional blockages and an increased risk of inflammatory acne.
- If used incorrectly, blackhead removal strips, masks, and vacuums can irritate and harm the skin.
- Oil-based cosmetics and skincare products should be avoided.
Treating and preventing blackheads on the legs
Blackheads can be treated using over-the-counter drugs. These may include the following:
- Salicylic acid
- Azelaic acid
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives)
If you can't get rid of your blackheads using over-the-counter treatments, your doctor may suggest:
- Prescription-strength retinoids:
- Oral antibiotics
- Chemical peels
- Laser skin resurfacing
Blackhead home remedies (how to remove blackheads):
- A few home methods can help you get rid of blackheads:
- Tea tree oil has the ability to inhibit or stop germs from growing.
- Apply a small amount of tea tree oil on your blackheads with a cotton swab.
- Sugar or salt scrubs: Sugar and salt scrubs remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin by scratching them away (exfoliating).
- Wet your face, add a salt or sugar scrub to the afflicted regions, and massage your skin for up to 30 seconds in tiny, circular strokes. When you're done, rinse your face with water.
- Green tea leaves, when wet, can aid in the reduction of oil production in the skin. Green tea is an antioxidant as well. Massage dried green tea leaves with water.
- Mix dry green tea leaves with water and massage the wet leaves on your skin in small, circular strokes for up to 30 seconds.
Although blackheads are much more frequent on the face, they could also appear on the legs, buttocks, and armpits. Blackheads on your legs and other locations are treated and prevented in the same way. They concentrate on:
- Bathing on a regular basis
- exfoliating your skin
- wearing clean clothes
- avoiding tight-fitting clothing
Consult your healthcare practitioner or a dermatologist if you have other symptoms, such as painful, pea-sized lumps or tunnels beneath the skin linking these lumps.