Blackheads are open skin pores or open comedo filled with oil, dirt, or dead skin cells. It is a common skin condition characterized by small bumps which appear on the skin because of clogged hair follicles. They are often the consequence of blocked sweat. It is a chronic inflammatory condition often causing acne and pimples on the skin.
When a person has blackheads, the skin pores get clogged with a substance called Sebum. This is usually followed by chemical reactions with Sebum under the skin. This becomes a huge concern for some people who are very conscious about their looks. Medical supervision is advised for rapid treatment and recovery. Dermatologists are the doctors who take care of one’s skin.
Important facts about blackheads
- Some of the blackheads can be caused by the sun.
- They are not black because they are dirty.
- In some places, one can’t get blackheads for example- palms of the hand, soles of the feet
- Retinoids are one’s best friends
- One should not over wash them and rather be gentle.
Causes of blackheads
- Generating a lot of body oil
- Hormonal factors during adolescence- for example, an increase in oil production during menstruation or taking pills
- Being on certain drugs such as androgens, corticosteroids, etc.
- Building up bacteria-caused acne on the skin
- Overproduction of skin cells by the body can also cause blackheads.
- Certain health conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or PMS (premenstrual syndrome) can also be responsible in a few cases.
- certain medications
- high humidity in the environment etc.
Symptoms of blackheads
They are slightly raised and dark in color, thus making it very easier to spot them. Unlike pimples, they are not painful. Blackheads are symptoms of acne. They are their milder form.
Treatments of blackheads
- Over-the-counter treatments:
These include medications from drug and grocery shops. They are available without a prescription. It can be in cream, gel, and pad form. The concerned drugs include resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, etc.
Such drugs kill bacteria, dry excess oil, and help to shed dead skin cells.
- Medicines on prescription:
Once the OTC treatment doesn’t work out, topical medication can be taken on the doctor’s advice. Such medications contain compounds like benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics. These medicines are very helpful for problems like blackheads, pimples, and acne.
Medicines that contain Vitamin A can prove to be realistic when dealing with such problems.
- Peeling techniques:
Chemical peels help to remove clogs of sweat and dirt from the skin. During the process, the doctor applies a solution to the skin. After some time, the top skin layers get peeled off. Smoother skin is left behind.
- Removing blackheads manually:
Trained professionals use a special instrument called a ’round loop extractor’ for removing the blackheads. This has also been a common blackhead removing technique being used in every other house in India. However, medical supervision must be sought first. Proper research must also be done regarding its removal process, or else it can harm one’s skin badly.
- Microdermabrasion technique:
A doctor here uses the sanding technique to remove the blackheads causing clogs. The instrument used to sand the top layer of the skin is rough.
- Laser therapy:
Intense light beams are used here to reduce oil production and kill bacteria. Not just for blackheads, but laser beams are also used for the hair removal process, by dermatologists all across the world.
Prevention of Blackheads
Preventing them is a tough deal. Those having blackheads due to hormonal factors, face severe issues in coping with them.
Some measures can help in preventing them. They are listed as follows:
- Washing face after getting home from outside, with facial cleanser and warm water.
- Using moisturizer routinely
- Not touching the face with untidy hands
- Removing makeup before sleeping
- Taking good care of health and hygiene
Home remedies for blackheads removal
Exfoliation techniques and facials are very helpful in removing blackheads. They help in removing impurities from the skin and help one feel refreshed. Using clean laundry and keeping skin clean at all times also helps greatly.
Vaseline is also sometimes used to lighten the hold of blackheads, then they get easily plucked in the morning.
Sometimes, baking soda and water mixture is applied to the blackhead affected area.
Steaming is also a good home remedy. One can take steam, it makes the pores soft. Then, it becomes very easy to remove the stubborn blackheads.
A mixture of lemon, salt, and honey is also used as a good scrub for the skin. It can be applied to the affected skin and washed with warm water thrice a week. It has proven to be very effective.
Many people also use egg white masks for blackhead removal. They are known to shrink the pores. They are also very rich in nutrients and help improve skin texture.
Can a blackhead stay for years?
If it is a mild case of acne, blackheads usually get resolved on their own with hormonal changes. But, in a few cases, they might be chronic or long-lasting.
Precautions during blackheads removal
- One should never try to pop a blackhead. It can lead to bacteria growth and leave a scar on the skin.
- Blackhead removal tools are very sharp and must be used carefully.
- Gentle face wash and face scrub should be used to maintain the PH level.
- One can use a moisturizer after the removal process, to take good care of the skin.
Recent technologies have come on the market like laser therapy and chemical peeling. Both offer immediate relief from blackheads. Many people are going for them these days. Blackheads are a common occurrence in anybody’s life. With proper and timely medical supervision, the issue can get easily resolved soon. They are open pores on the skin containing sweat, dirt, and hair follicles. They are manageable, they just need to be handled with care.