Blackheads are a nightmare for many teenagers. They are unsightly and give the facial skin a grainy appearance and are often a source of insecurity and inconvenience.
There are many treatments to get rid of them once and for all however, creams and other remedies are often ineffective, so many people turn to cosmetic medicine to remove blackheads and prevent them from appearing.
Blackheads: what are they?
Blackheads are pockets of fat that clog up the skin’s pores and then oxidise when they come into contact with air. Blackheads form on the T zone: the chin, forehead and nose.
They are usually due to a hair canal being blocked by keratinocytes. They are caused by a mixture of sebum and dead cells. When they come into contact with air, the cells oxidise and clog the canal. Blackheads then appear and if they are not treated, they can lead to whiteheads or even spots.
There are many types of blackhead:
- Open comedones that appear alongside acne and are caused by an accumulation of sebum in the sebaceous glands. This prevents sebum being released and causes a microcyst to form.
- Blackheads caused by dilated pores. Dilated pores trap the pollution and impurities all around us.
It can often be tempting to squeeze them, but it is inadvisable to do so. This is because, when you squeeze blackheads, they can be contaminated with any germs you have on your fingers. As a result, squeezed blackheads can become infected and cysts can form, leaving scars.
Blackheads: what are the causes?
Blackheads can have a variety of causes:
- Puberty: blackheads are primarily caused by hormonal changes during this time. Androgens are the hormones that stimulate sebum production. Later in life, particularly for women, blackheads appear during pregnancy, as a result of taking certain pills, or even during menopause.
- Some cosmetic products can cause blackheads: this is the case, for example, for certain bronzers which can clog pores. They are often greasy and can cause blackheads to form more easily.
- Poor diet: too much fat or sugar in your diet can cause blackheads. Smoking can also lead to the appearance of blackheads.
- Genetics: people with oily or combination skin often have more blackheads. Their pores are more dilated and produce more sebum, which clogs pores and turns into blackheads when it comes into contact with air.
Blackheads: what are the treatments?
There are different treatments available to get rid of blackheads: creams, home remedies and other beauty salon treatments. However, if these are ineffective, it is best to consult a dermatologist, who will be able to provide a treatment that is better suited to your needs.
In this way, the practitioner will be able to guide you towards techniques that will deep-cleanse the skin and re-balance sebum production to avoid the appearance of blackheads.