Are you battling with blackheads? Those small blemishes that appear on your T-zone, defying even the most thorough skincare regime, are incredibly annoying. Many of us are long term sufferers of blackheads, those annoying little black dots that just seem to come back time and time again. The team at Au Natural Skinfood have researched this common problem and have put together some information on these annoying dots!
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are an oxidised mix of oil and dead skin cells that are sitting in pores and exposure to air is what causes them to oxidise and turn black.
Technically a blackhead is an open comedone (acne lesion), a whitehead is a closed comedone (acne lesion).
Despite their off-putting colour, having blackheads is not a sign that you are dirty, there is often a genetic pre-disposition, some people are simply more prone to it and the underlying reasons for this are not fully understood.
Associated Skin Problems
Acne is a very common problem caused by inflammation of grease-producing glands in the skin, leaving open and closed comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and inflamed red papules and pustules (spots). Acne treatment is necessary as it can lead to permanent scarring if deeper cysts are left untreated. Acne can be prompted by psychological factors such as increased stress levels, hormones, genetics and diet.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that may cause swelling and turn your face red. Skin sores may appear, and they may look like acne, they may ooze or crust and lead to a burning sensation and bloodshot or watery eyes. Rosacea is more common in women and typically occurs in people with fair skin between 30 and 50. Rosacea is caused by swelling of the blood vessels situated right beneath the skin, this can result in blushing or flushing easily and an increased number of spider-like blood vessels (telangiectasia) of the face. Rosacea is a harmless condition but has been known to lower self esteem and confidence with those who have it.
Milia are very small, raised, pearly-white or yellowish bumps on the skin. They are most often seen on cheeks, nose and eyelids but can occur anywhere on the body. Milia are harmless and will in most cases clear by themselves. If a milia becomes unsightly or widespread and persistent consult your GP or Dermatologist for extraction or treatment.
- Blackheads occur at any age.
- Too much exfoliating will strip your skins natural barrier, compromise your skin and make blackheads worse.
- Pores cannot be shrunk as they do not have muscles surrounding them, however, the appearance of pores can be reduced or minimised with good skincare and correct products.
- Heavy sweating contributes to blackheads.
- Shaving and other activities that open the hair follicles encourage blackheads.
Should you squeeze blackheads?
Squeezing blackheads is not a good idea, despite releasing sebum from the follicle, which can feel rewarding, it is possible to push the inflammation deeper and this can result in scarring of the skin. Extraction can be performed professionally by someone trained appropriately. There are extracting tools available over the counter, but if you are using these yourself please do so with care as there is the risk of further inflammation and possible scarring.
Stay tuned to learn more about how to take care of blackheads in future blog posts.