MAKE BLACKHEADS THING OF A PAST WITH THESE PRODUCTS
Blackheads are one of the most commonly found skin disorders that commonly affect adolescents. However, it’s also normal for adults to have this form of acne in their 20s, 30s, and beyond.
Some people develop blackheads for the first time in their adulthood, too. So, if you find that you suffer from this skin disorder, don’t panic! You’re not alone and there are solutions, both medical and non-medical, that can easily resolve this condition.
On their own, blackheads are neither harmful to your health nor do they cause further skin conditions. However, they can be mentally disturbing, especially for adolescents or adults who have never experienced it before.
They may cause anxiety, depression, and other more severe mental health conditions due to social factors. If you find yourself suffering from a mental health condition, it’s important to see a doctor immediately.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at what blackheads are, the factors that cause or affect them, and how you can recognize the condition. Then, we’ll look at potential home remedies that can help you treat blackheads and see an expert tip about how to deal with this condition.
Acne in the form of blackheads is known as acne vulgaris. They're open blemishes on the skin which get clogged up with dead skin and oil. The spots appear dark since they're caused by light reflecting unevenly off the plugged follicle.
However, blackheads aren't the same as pimples, even though both conditions fall under the umbrella of acne. Small, painful, discolored lumps with a viscous, white-yellow substance (pus) at the tip are known as pimples.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects approximately 50 million Americans and is the most frequent skin problem in the country. Out of everyone affected, it’s estimated that nearly 10 to 20 percent of adults in the country suffer from blackheads.
Blackheads don't have a significant impact on your physical health. But they can have a psychosocial (how culture and social groups influence your mind) and psychological impact (how you perceive and treat yourself). Anxiety, depression, emotional problems, and suicidal thoughts can all be triggered by blackheads.
Factors causing blackheads
When a plug or clog forms in the opening of your skin's hair follicles, blackheads appear. Each follicle has one hair and an oil-producing sebaceous gland.
Sebum, a kind of oil, keeps your skin smooth. A comedo is a tiny lump that is formed by dead skin and oils accumulating in the opening of the hair follicle.
The bulge classifies as a whitehead when the surrounding skin remains closed. When the skin surrounding the bulge opens, it turns black due to exposure to the air, and a blackhead appears.
While the process of a blackhead forming on your skin remains the same, there may be a number of factors that lead to this condition. The following are the most common factors that trigger blackheads.
If you have naturally oily skin, you are more prone to developing blackheads than people with normal to dry skin. Your skin has a tendency to produce excess oil naturally and this leads to your pores getting clogged.
If you use oil-based products on your skin, they may also be a contributing factor as residue builds up on your skin, clogging your pores.
Propionibacterium acnes is a type of bacteria that can build up on your skin over time. The buildup causes your pores to become clogged and dirty and it leads to the development of blackheads.
Irritated hair follicles
If your dead skin doesn’t shed regularly, it can irritate your hair follicles, causing your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. This, in turn, leads to excess oil secretion, making your skin oily and clogging your pores with oil, dirt, and dead skin.
Certain medicines that belong to the categories of androgens, corticosteroids, and lithium may lead to blackheads. In women, birth control or other hormonal medication may also lead to blackheads.
Women may experience blackheads during times when hormones are changing such as in their teen years, during menstruation or pregnancy, and while taking birth control pills. These hormonal changes lead to increased oil production and the condition may go away on its own once the hormones are regulated.
Some people feel that acne is influenced by what they eat or drink. Acne may be triggered by dairy products and diets that raise blood glucose levels, such as carbs, but experts aren't certain there's a substantial link. If you think your skin condition may be due to your diet, it may be best to consult a physician.
How to recognize blackheads
Blackheads are a less severe kind of acne. They are characterized by dark, open bumps on your skin. Unlike whiteheads and painful pimples, blackheads don't hurt or make you feel uncomfortable. Since they’re dark or black in color, it’s easy to spot them, especially on your face.
While it’s easy to spot them, it’s necessary to treat them as soon as you can. Untreated, blackheads can turn into painful pimples that are caused by bacteria entering the clogged pores. This leads to inflammation that makes the pimples painful and pus-filled.
How to treat blackheads
Blackheads can be treated with simple medical options as well as home remedies. These are some of the medical options you may require depending on the severity of your condition.
You can find several topical treatments for blackheads in the form of gels, creams, or pads that can be applied directly to the blackheads. These ointments contain ingredients such as retinoids, salicylic acid, resorcinol, and benzoyl peroxide.
You may require stronger ointments or even antibiotics if OTC treatments don’t help. A doctor may prescribe ointments containing vitamin A that keeps plugs from forming in the pores by making dead skin shed faster.
Microdermabrasion essentially means “sanding” your skin using a specialized instrument that lightly removes the top layer of your skin. Along with the top layer, the clogs are also removed. However, it’s best if dermatologists or other trained skincare professionals do this as doing it at home may end up damaging your skin forever.
A chemical peel involves applying a strong chemical solution directly to the skin. The topmost layers of your skin peel away eventually, leaving the skin underneath much smoother. Stronger peels are administered by skincare specialists. Milder peels may be sold over the counter.
Trained skincare specialists including dermatologists can manually remove the plugs from your pores using a specialized tool known as a round loop extractor. They will make a tiny incision in the plug so the clog can be pulled out by applying pressure to the pore. This should only be done by a professional as doing it the wrong way can damage your skin.
Light and/or laser therapies
To reduce the production of oil or kill bacteria, laser and light treatments apply small beams of powerful light directly to blemishes. Both light beams and lasers can cure blackheads and acne by reaching beneath the skin's surface without harming the outer layers of the skin.
Can blackheads go away on their own?
Yes, blackheads can go away on their own but this is not common. You may need to at least do some home remedies to remove them from your skin and stop them from coming back.
Home remedies for blackheads
These are some of the most helpful, expert-recommended home remedies you can try to get rid of your blackheads naturally and easily.
Green tea can actively reduce sebum production in your skin which is the main culprit for causing blackheads. You may simply soak some green tea in water and rub the leaves into your skin for about half a minute and wash them off with water.
Alternatively, you can use the WOW Skin Science Green Tea Foaming Face Wash With Brush. It’s easier to use since it comes with a gentle exfoliator brush attached to the bottle! With green tea and other rejuvenating ingredients, this face wash also comes in a gel form if you prefer that.
Tea tree oil is known to be an excellent antifungal and antimicrobial solution for all kinds of skin problems. Using a little bit of this wonderful essential oil on your blackheads can help prevent further infections and may also help reduce oil secretion in your skin.
You can choose to use tea tree essential oil and use it by dabbing a few drops on a cotton pad. You can also massage it into your skin by mixing it with a carrier oil.
Moisturizers are an excellent way to keep your skin hydrated so that it doesn’t produce too much oil to compensate for the dryness. However, do keep in mind that different skin types warrant different types of moisturizers.
Clay or charcoal masks can aid in the removal of excess grime and sebum from the skin. These products may not "detox" your skin, but they can help reduce the number of blackheads and control other forms of acne over time.
It could be satisfying to squeeze or force the black clog out, but doing so might result in scarring and other skin damage.
"The good news is that there are a plethora of over-the-counter treatments on the market that include powerful chemicals to exfoliate, soften, and even eliminate blackheads," explains Allison Britt Kimmins, MD, MPH.