Small bumps called "blackheads" develop on your skin due to blocked hair follicles. Due to the surface's appearance being dark or black, these bumps are known as blackheads. Typically developing on the face, blackheads are a moderate form of acne. However, they may also develop on the following body parts:
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the country's most prevalent skin condition, affecting nearly 50 million Americans.
What causes blackheads?
When a clog or plug forms at the entrance of the hair follicles in your skin, blackheads result; one hair and an oil-producing sebaceous gland are found in each follicle. Sebum, the oil in question, aids in keeping your skin smooth. A comedone accumulates dead skin cells and oils in the skin follicle's entrance. The bulge is a whitehead if the skin above it continues to be closed. A blackhead develops when the skin covering the bump opens and is exposed to air.
Your likelihood of getting acne and blackheads may be affected by many variables, including:
- overproduction of body oil
- the growth of the skin-damaging microorganisms Propionibacterium acnes
- Low regular shedding of dead skin cells irritates the hair follicles.
- Throughout adolescence, during menstruation, or when using birth control pills, while going through hormonal changes that induce an increase in oil production.
- using certain medications, such as androgens, lithium, or corticosteroids
Some individuals think that what you eat or drink might impact acne. Researchers are not persuaded that there is a substantial correlation between dairy products and acne. Still, they believe that diets that raise blood sugar levels, like carbs, may contribute to acne.
What are symptoms of blackheads?
Blackheads on the skin are noticeable because of their dark color. They are somewhat elevated, but they aren't uncomfortable because they aren't inflamed like pimples. Bacteria that enter the hair follicle obstruct and cause redness and irritation, developing into pimples.
How are blackheads treated?
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments
Without a prescription, several acne medications are offered at pharmacies, grocery shops, and online. These medicines are used topically and come in cream, gel, and pad forms. The medications include resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid, among other components. They function by eradicating microorganisms, removing surplus oil, and causing the skin to exfoliate dead skin cells.
Your doctor may recommend a stronger prescription medicine if over-the-counter therapy is ineffective at clearing up your acne. Vitamin A-containing medications prevent plugs from developing in the hair follicles and speed up the skin's cell turnover. These medicines, including tretinoin, tazarotene, or adapalene, are applied directly to your skin.
Your doctor may recommend another topical medication with antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide. This kind of treatment may be especially beneficial if you also have pimples or acne cysts.
The plug causing the blackhead is removed by dermatologists or educated skin care specialists using a specialized tool called a round loop extractor. The doctor uses pressure with the extractor after creating a tiny hole in the plug to remove the obstruction.
A dermatologist or other skin care specialist will sand away the top layers of your skin during microdermabrasion using a specific device. Blackhead-causing obstructions are removed by sanding the skin.
Additionally, blackhead-causing clogs and dead skin cells are eliminated by chemical peels. A strong chemical solution is applied to the skin during a peel. The top layers of the skin gently peel away to expose smoother skin below. Stronger peels are only applied by dermatologists or other skincare specialists, whereas milder peels may be purchased over-the-counter.
Laser and light therapy
Laser and light treatments employ tiny, powerful light beams to destroy bacteria or reduce oil production. Blackheads and acne may be treated using lasers and light beams that penetrate the skin's surface without harming the top layers of skin.
How to prevent blackheads?
Try some of the following tips to avoid blackheads without spending a lot of money:
To eliminate oil buildup, wash your face in the morning and before night. Washing more than twice a day might aggravate acne and irritate the skin. Use a mild cleanser that won't irritate or cause redness on your skin. Antibacterial chemicals included in several acne-cleansing treatments destroy P. acnes bacteria.
Think about washing your hair every day, especially if it is greasy. Hair oils may cause clogged pores. Additionally, cleaning your face after eating oily meals like pizza is crucial since the oil in these foods may block pores.
Use oil-free products
Any substance with oil in it has the potential to cause new blackheads. Choose sunscreen, lotions, and makeup that is oil-free or noncomedogenic to prevent aggravating your condition.
Try an exfoliating product
You may reduce blackheads by using exfoliating scrubs and masks, which remove dead skin cells from your face. Be sure to use items that won't irritate your skin.
There is some study being done on plant-based therapies for acne. Rose, aloe vera, tea tree, and thyme oils all seem to have antibacterial properties that help keep acne from becoming infected. More research is required.
Blackheads are a moderate type of acne that often go away independently as the body becomes more adept at controlling hormones during adolescence. Blackheads may take a long time to go away on their own and stay on the skin for many years.
A patient with psychological issues due to the development of blackheads may find it beneficial to speak with a psychologist.