Getting Rid Of Blackheads
If you have read any of my other articles you know that I take a scientific approach so first lets cover what blackheads are and then we will progress through other important topics about blackheads.
What is a blackhead?
First I will tell you that it is not a pore filled with dirt. That is a common myth about acne and pimples, that poor hygiene causes them. A blackhead or an open comedo, is caused by a hair follicle that has been filled with sebum (an oil that is naturally produced by the body’s sebaceous glands) along with skin cells that have been shed. The darkness of the blackhead is not from dirt but is from the oxidation of the sebum and skin cells. Make this note, a whitehead is the same thing but had no exposure to air and so it did not oxidize and turn brown.
What causes a blackhead?
1. It is a combination of excess sebum and dead skin that fills a hair follicle and turns dark with the oxidative action of the air.
2. Cosmetics or soap that are oily and leave a film on your skin can aid in the clogging of pores.
What causes excess sebum?
Hormones. It is the hormones that cause the glands to enlarge and secrete more sebum. These hormones occur naturally and are elevated during puberty and are why teens are likely to have worse acne. It has also been proven that stress and sexual activity causes an elevation in hormones that cause sebum production. It is believed by distinct researchers but is still inconclusive that a large consumption of sugar and fat will cause increased sebum levels. The last item that has been proven to cause acne due to the hormones increasing the sebum production is all dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products.
How to prevent blackheads
Medication – As a teenager it is possible that medications will be the best solution. There are systems on the market for detoxification and other methods but, unfortunately, there is no magic bullet. Our bodies are very complex and genetics vary from person to person. You may need to try a few options before you see results that you are satisfied with. If you do use a medication you should also follow all the other habits that will help you prevent all forms of skin blemishes. Medications like Adapalene, Tretinoin and some birth control medications are used for the prevention of forms of Acne Vulgaris.
Washing – Do not use bar soap or heavy cosmetics that can clog the hair follicles. Do not scrub the skin excessively because this can dry the skin causing more oil to be secreted.
Exfoliation – There are products that are designed to remove the superficial layer of dead skin cells. You can find over the counter products like salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids.
How to remove a blackhead
Vacuum and Extractors – There are syringe type devices that can “suck” the blackhead out of the follicle but it does not always work since the blackhead is “stuck” in the follicle. There is also the chance that it can damage the skin.
Pore strips – There are a number of contraindications and warnings to the use of pore strips so I cannot recommend them. There are numerous reports of all kinds of weird and unfortunate experiences in the use of them.
Squeeze blackheads – It is never recommended that you squeeze any acne. Squeezing without a gentle touch can cause more damage under the skin and spread possible infections under the skin. Blackheads are physiologically different from acne but if you are going to squeeze blackheads you should precede with caution. First use an exfoliant to remove the top layer of skin cells. Then use a warm cloth on your skin to soften the blackhead and enlarge the pore. Gently, attempt to squeeze the skin in as small a space as possible to avoid damage. Never squeeze acne!
The best solution of course is to reduce the amount of sebum produced. I have mentioned a number of proven ways to help the body produce less sebum. Eliminate dairy products from the diet, eat less or no sugar and fried foods, manage stress and practice moderation in all areas of life.
There are good acne systems that address acne by vitamin and herbal supplementation as well as using creams to treat the skin each day. There are a number of them that have real good recommendations. Getting rid of blackheads does not need to be difficult, just persistence and consistency.