a woman examining her blackheads in the mirror

Did You Know that Blackheads Are a Type of Acne

What are blackheads?

Acne with blackheads is a kind of acne (acne vulgaris). They're open lumps on the skin that get clogged up with dead skin and oil. The black spots appear to be caused by an irregular light reflection off the clogged follicle, but they are actually caused by an uneven light reflection off the obstructed follicle.

Blackheads aren't the same as pimples. Small, painful, discoloured lumps with a thick, white-yellow fluid (pus) at the tip are known as pimples. Blackheads are more common in teenagers and young adults who are going through hormonal changes. Many adults, however, suffer from acne well into their 20s, 30s, and beyond. As adults, some people get blackheads for the first time.

What are the effects of blackheads on the skin?

Blackheads are most likely to form on your face, particularly your nose and chin, but also on your cheeks, neck, back, and chest. Oil glands (sebaceous glands) are found all over your body. They secrete sebum, an oily lubricant that keeps your skin and hair nourished and lustrous. As a result, blackheads might occur on your buttocks, thighs, ears, and armpits, albeit they are uncommon.

Blackheads don't have a significant impact on your physical health, but they can have a psychosocial and psychological impact. Anxiety, despair, emotional disorders, and suicidal thoughts are all symptoms of blackheads.

Symptoms of blackheads

Acne with blackheads is a less severe kind of acne. Blackheads are characterised by dark, open pimples on your skin. They don't hurt or make you feel uneasy like whiteheads do.

What causes blackheads to appear?

Sebaceous glands are found throughout the body, with the majority of them connecting to hair follicles. Comedones are blackheads and whiteheads. 

When a clog or plug forms in the opening of your skin's hair follicles, blackheads appear. A comedo is a bump that develops when dead skin cells and oils collect in the skin follicle's opening. Whitehead is defined as the bulge if the skin above that bulge is kept closed. While blackhead starts when the skin opens (skin above that bump), and it gets black as it is exposed to air.

Closed comedones are whiteheads, while open comedones are blackheads. When a hair follicle/sebaceous gland becomes irritated, comedones form. Inflammation can be led on by a number of things, including:

  • Sebum (oily material produced by the sebaceous gland) output has increased.
  • Keratin production is abnormal (the protein that helps make your hair, skin and nails).
  • Hormone levels have risen (androgen).
  • Acne is caused by an increase in the presence of germs on the skin.

What's the best way to get rid of blackheads and how to remove blackheads?

Blackheads are simple to eliminate at home. When utilising tools, though, always be gentle with your skin. If you don't utilise blackhead removal solutions that are right for your skin type, you risk drying out or irritating your skin, which can lead to outbreaks.

Treatments available over-the-counter (OTC)

Many acne treatments are available without a prescription at drug and supermarket stores, as well as online. These drugs come in the form of blackhead removal creams, gels, and pads that are applied directly to the skin. Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol are among the active constituents in the medications. They eliminate microorganisms, absorb excess oil, and force the skin to shed dead skin cells.

Pore Strips

Pore strips are adhesive-backed and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit various regions of the face. Blackheads, dead skin, and hair can all be removed using them.

Manual extraction and steaming

Extraction of blackheads at home can damage pores and provoke breakouts, so proceed cautiously. To unclog your pores and discharge the dirt that has built up inside, start by heating your skin.

Microdermabrasion

A doctor or skincare professional uses a specific instrument with a rough surface to sand the top layers of your skin during microdermabrasion.

Exfoliation

When you exfoliate your skin, dead skin cells are eliminated and pores are unclogged. You can exfoliate your skin with your regular cleanser using a brush or a soft cloth, or you can use a face scrub. Exfoliate your skin either once-twice a week, or less frequently if your skin is sensitive.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has the ability to prevent or stop bacteria from growing. You can also use tea tree oil-based face wash for the removal of blackheads and acne.

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 small, circular motions. When you're done, rinse your face with water.

Green tea leaves

When wet, green tea leaves can aid in the reduction of oil production in the skin. Green tea is an antioxidant as well. To use, combine dry green tea leaves with water and massage the wet leaves into your skin in small, circular motions for 10 minutes.

Take Away

Blackheads, a type of mild acne, usually clear up on their own after adolescence, when the body's hormones are better regulated. Blackheads can take a long time to clear out on their own, and they might last for years. A patient who is having psychological problems as a result of the appearance of blackheads may benefit from seeing a doctor.