WHAT ARE BLACKHEADS?
Blackheads: A symptom of acne
Acne blackheads are easy to spot on the skin. They are dark in colour and slightly raised. Unlike some other spots, they are not inflamed, so will not be painful if touched. Whilst they are a mild type of acne, blackheads can sometimes cause sufferers more stress than other spots due to their obvious colour and their general stubborn nature! Blackheads are mainly found on the central part of the face, but can also spring up on the back, chest, neck, arms and shoulders.
WHAT CAUSES BLACKHEADS?
Acne blackheads, another name for blocked pores
Blackheads are caused by clogged hair follicles. Follicles contain hair and a sebaceous gland, which produces sebum to help keep the skin soft. Dead skin cells and sebum collect and form a ‘plug’, which turns a blackish colour because it is in contact with outside air, which oxidises it, in the same way that cut fruit changes colour when left out in the air.
Blackheads are formed differently to other blemishes, rather than being a result of anything bacterial, they are simply a build-up of sebum. As a result, our bodies really couldn’t care less about them as they don’t threaten us in any way.
Your body might not see blackheads as a threat, but you may be feeling very concerned by these little black marks on your skin! Perhaps you even feel they affect your confidence and self esteem?
The good news is, it is totally possible to treat blackheads, it may just take a little longer than some other blemishes. Patience is paramount in blackhead eradicationt!
HOW TO GET RID OF BLACKHEADS
Blackhead treatment and removal
When it comes to getting rid of blackheads, salicylic acid is your best friend. This gentle exfoliating acid will unclog your pores and also deal with the problem of dead cell build up by promoting healthy skin-cell turnover. Salicylic acid can be found in a range of products such as face washes, creams, and gels. Remember to always be gentle on your skin to avoid irritation and redness.
What to avoid when treating blackheads
- Some products that claim to remove blackheads contain ingredients such as alcohol, menthol and eucalyptus. These harsh ingredients will not solve your blackhead problem and may stimulate excess sebum production (in other words, your skin will feel it’s under attack and fight back by producing even more grease!).
- Though your skin may look “dirty,” don’t attack it with harsh scrubs. This will only cause irritation and redness… and again, they can actually make your skin oilier!
- Many pore strip brands claim to unclog blackheads. In reality, they only remove the most superficial part of the clogged pore and can irritate sensitive skin.
TROUBLE GETTING RID OF BLACKHEADS?
CONSIDER SEEING A DERMATOLOGIST
If your nose is studded with blackheads, you might benefit from consulting a dermatologist who will prescribe suitable over the counter products such as salicylic acid treatments that you can buy in the pharmacy like - EFFACLAR Duo(+) - or prescription treatments such as retinoids (adapalene). In extreme cases, your dermatologist may perform clinical extraction using sterile tools.
But please leave this to the professionals as DIY extractions can transform a minor blackhead problem into a major breakout!
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