It’s Not Dirt

In order to understand how and why we get blackheads, it is instructive to know the body systems at work. Your skin is your largest organ making up 15% of your body weight. It protects you from the elements and lubricates itself through the sebaceous glands. These glands are located around all hair follicles. These follicles are found all over your body with the exception of the palms and soles of the feet. The sebum secreted by the sebaceous glands makes its way to the surface in the pores of your hair follicles. If the pathway gets blocked, acne can result.

Blackheads are considered non-inflammatory acne and affect a very large percentage of the population. Most are found on the face where the largest percentage of hair follicles is located. The pore becomes clogged with sebum, bacteria and dead cells. They are termed open comedones because the surface area of the clog is exposed to the air. In contrast, whiteheads are of the same structure only they are under the surface of the skin. The black color is not a result of dirty pores. It is the result of the melanin in your skin reacting to the air. Therefore, do not scrub blackheads. This could worsen the problem and cause the follicle wall to rupture.

Use mild soaps and light facial cleansers on a daily basis to assist with skin care. Your skin is continually sloughing dead cells so consistency is the key to this practice. Also, avoid oil based face products including makeup. These items make it more difficult for your skin to do its job! There are also products available to decrease and treat this condition. Some focus on decreasing bacteria while others reduce the “stickiness” of the blocked pore substances. A professional dermatologist can perform extractions to lessen the number of blackheads on your skin.

Blackheads are not preventable but they are treatable. They can appear on your face, neck, back, chest or buttocks. If left untreated they can develop into a more severe category of acne. Your skin is a delicate mechanism that, not unlike other body systems, must be kept in proper working order. Acne affects 85% of the population at some point in their lives. This particular form of blemish is very responsive to treatment. If you are suffering with them – don’t. The solutions are now available for helping you have clear and healthy skin.