Blackheads: arguably one of the most annoying things to see on your face, and seemingly impossible to rid of.
What Are Blackheads?
Essentially, blackheads are clogged pores or hair follicles that collect sebum, dirt, skin cells and bacteria. Once the pore is 'plugged', the gunk inside the open pore reacts with oxygen and turns black. They're more likely to appear on the nose and chin due to a larger amount of glands.
Technically, they're a form of mild acne—namely "open comedones". Although blackheads are non-inflammatory and will not cause pain and discomfort like pimples and pustules, these pesky lesions can have dire effects on one's confidence and mental health.
However, not every black spot on our face is a blackhead. It could be sebaceous filaments, which occur when the oil lining the follicle within a pore makes it look larger. These would be a lot easier to extract.
Meanwhile, blackheads are hard, trapped within pores and can't be simply scrubbed off... Even when removed, they'll keep reappearing because of our skin's natural ability to excrete oil. One way of determining what's in your pores is via a pore strip—if gunk comes out easily it's a blackhead.
What Causes Blackheads?
There are certain factors that contribute to the development of blackheads:
- Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy and the use of birth control pills
- Overproduction of skin cells by the body
- Blocked pores from cosmetics and clothing
- Heavy sweating
- Shaving and activities that opens the hair follicles
- High humidity and grease
- Medications that promote rapid skin cell turnover
- Use of steroid-based drugs
Contrary to popular belief, dirt and poor hygiene do not directly equate to blackheads. Also, excessive scrubbing from attempts to banish them can actually make it worse! When your skin gets inflamed it can cause more blackheads, acne or even scarring.
Tips For Prevention
Sometimes, just keeping your skin clean won't stop acne and blackheads from forming. Here are a couple of tips and lifestyle changes you can make:
- Wash your face twice a day with a gentle or mild soap
- Opt for oil-free and non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products that won't clog your pores
- Always remove makeup before heading to bed
- Avoid touching your face
- Refrain from picking at pimples or squeezing blackheads
- Use removers like removal strips, masks and vacuums with caution
- Keep hair away from your face, or use water-based products for your hair
- Ample rest, relaxation and exercise to reduce stress
When dealing with blackheads, the most crucial things to have are patience, discipline and a good pairing of cleanser and exfoliator.
At Sigi Skin, other than following a lifestyle that'll prevent blackheads, we fight it by staying on a simple treatment regimen and waiting for the acne to heal.
- Cleansing with the vegan, hypoallergenic Kaleanser Face Wash. Double cleansing only when required.
- Exfoliating twice to thrice a week with Bright Skies Gentle Gel Exfoliator to unclog skin.
- For an extra, deep cleanse, and to shrink the pores, follow with the Garden Party Clay Mask once a week.
If all else still fails after employing a regular routine and sticking to preventive measures, then it could be time to pay a visit to the dermatologist's office.
Good luck on your journey to blackhead-less skin!