Skin Care

What Causes Blackheads and How to Treat Them



by Lydia


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Blackheads form on the top of the skin. A clogged hair follicle shows up on the surface of your skin as a black bump. This is the reason it is referred to as a blackhead. Oily skin is more prone to dead skin cells and infected hair follicles clogging the pores. First, however, let us explore and find out what causes blackheads and how to treat them.

What Are Blackheads?

Blackheads are pores with clogged hair follicles. In addition, an oily substance called sebum which is responsible for moisturizing the skin, can also fill and clog your pores. Therefore, blackheads are a type of acne. After the tip of the blackhead is exposed, it reacts with oxygen and turns black, hence why it is referred to as a blackhead.

Trying to squeeze the blackheads will only worsen acne if you have any. There is a right way to get rid of blackheads and a wrong way. First, of course, we will discuss what method is best suited to prevent blackheads. Oil buildup on the skin is normal. However, it would be best to have the right skincare routine to ensure you don't get clogged pores.

Blackheads are considered a skin condition, especially if they lead to acne vulgaris. Dead skin cells, especially on the face, need some help to shed. There is no reason you cannot gently coax your skin to effectively shed dead skin cells and hair follicles to prevent excess oil buildup and promote a rapid turnover. However, you should always ensure you have the advice of a medical professional.

What Causes Blackheads?

1) Oily Skin Types

We hate to single out oily skin types. However, this is factually correct. Oily types produce much more sebum than is generally required. Hence they are more prone to experience blackheads on the face and neck area. However, this is not a condemnation. Sebum has great benefits for your skin, including keeping your skin from drying out.

To minimize the rate at which you develop blackheads, you should not touch your face. Cleaning your phone regularly will also be effective in deterring bacteria and oil from building up in the small openings in your face. It is noteworthy that blackheads are usually the very first sign of acne vulgaris because they become infected hair follicles and form pimples.

2) Dirt And Oil Buildup

As you go about your day every day, you will find yourself having to cleanse your face thoroughly. This is because the sebum on your face is like a magnet for dust. It allows dust to sit on your face. If you don't cleanse well, the oil and dirt will clog up your skin and cause irritation. Clogged pores are not fun, and when one bump opens, it spreads bacteria to other places on your face.

A blocked pore, even from makeup, can cause infection, which can lead to a painful acne outbreak. If you already have acne, dirt and oil buildup will make your acne worse. With acne present, you might want to try to limit the oil production in your face.

3) Haircare Products

We might strike a nerve here. But, yes, your hair products might be causing your blackhead problem, especially if you have them on your forehead. As you sweat, sweat trickles from your scalp (yes, your scalp sweats); it mixes with sweat on your forehead. This will give you either small bumps or a full-on blackhead problem.

You should always keep your hair out of your face and hold it back to wash, then cleanse your hairline thoroughly. If you have bangs, then you should wear them only when you need to and make sure to exfoliate and cleanse properly.

4) Sweating

If you frequently work out or work strenuously, you will probably sweat. Sweating is a healthy physiological process that every human being has to go through. So it is imperative that you always cleanse your face with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid gently breaks down the blackheads and clears your face.

Furthermore, when you sweat and fail to cleanse thoroughly, the sweat, dust, and dead skin cells will back further into your pores. This is not a good thing. The best way to treat blackheads is going by the advice of your dermatologist.

5) Stress

This is one of the most overlooked factors. When you are stressed, it causes your pores to go into overdrive. Your skin produces oil which is enough to keep it moisturized. However, stress can alter that and cause your pores to produce more oil than necessary. So this affects your skin because it accumulates sebum in the pores.

The more you look at blackheads on your face, the more stressed-out you are, and hence the more blackheads you have. It is a vicious cycle. However, not to worry, regulating your stress by having a release like a hobby will go a long way in getting you the smooth skin you always wanted.

Common Treatments For Blackheads

There are common treatments for blackheads which we discuss below. However, it is important to consult a licensed dermatologist or doctor before you try them and get the right diagnosis. Like acne treatments, Blackhead treatments kill bacteria and decrease oil production to get your skin condition under control.

a) Salicylic Acid

Blackheads will clog your pores before you have a chance to see what's going on. Salicylic acid disintegrates the dead skin cells gently by loosening them from your skin without damaging your skin. You can purchase it over the counter. However, ensure you always wear sunscreen when you start to use salicylic as it can be harsh on some people.

b) Glycolic acid

Glycolic is also one of the best ways to get rid of blackheads and what causes blackheads. The excess buildup is the major problem when it comes to blackheads. With glycolic, you might need to be patient. As is the case with all skin conditions, treatment and skin products take time to work fully. This product is great for oily and blackhead-prone skin.

c) Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are not as dramatic as they sound. But they are very effective. They work by promoting more rapid turnover in your cells. However, they are very strong and can irritate your skin if you overdo it. Therefore, you should only apply chemical peels and creams once a week. For most chemical peels, you will need a prescription to get rid of your blackheads.

d) Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is important when you have to combat the bacteria that comes with infected whiteheads, pimples, and blackheads. As long as your blackheads are not infected, then you should not bother with a benzoyl peroxide treatment. However, if you have an infection in any small opening on your face that looks infected, you should apply this topical cream.

e) Home Remedies

Home remedies might work for some and not work for some. However, more harm can occur when you use a home treatment such as baking soda or lemon. Both these items are very harmful to your skin and can cause damage to the top layers of your skin. In addition, household items such as toothpaste don't help your blackheads in any way.


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