Blackheads are like nightmares for some people. While all pimples are no fun, blackheads can be some of the most annoying to deal with. They are abundant, hard to hide, and just keep coming back.
Blackheads and whiteheads are typically the earliest signs of acne. Blackheads are composed of dried sebum (oil) and dead skin cells.
Blackheads can be present in a number of skin diseases. There are a number of skin conditions in which blackheads are an important component.
Blackheads are a prime component of teenage acne.
Blackhead removal, unless performed by a professional, can produce significant skin
Acne affects nearly 50 million Americans and is the most common skin disorder in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Actually, blackheads are the first sign of acne. Some people shiver when they see any acne.
So let’s talk first about acne;-
What is acne:- Acne is a common skin condition that happens when hair follicles under the skin become clogged.
Oil and dead skin cells plug the pores, and outbreaks of lesions (often called pimples) can happen.
Most often, the outbreaks occur on the face but can also appear on the back, chest, and shoulders.
For most people, acne tends to go away by the time they reach their thirties, but some people in their forties and fifties continue to have this skin problem.
What are blackheads
Blackheads are a form of comedonal acne, which is a type of acne. Acne is a skin condition that can be either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Comedonal acne, including blackheads, is non-inflammatory.
The name, comedonal, comes from the term, comedo, which means pore. Pores are openings in the skin that contain a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland. The gland secretes an oil called sebum. The oil travels up from the bottom of the pore and out through the pore opening to moisturize the skin. Along the way, it picks up dead skin cells and carries them out of the pore to keep it clean. In comedonal acne, the oil and dead skin cells get trapped and form a plug.
Blackheads are one of two types of comedonal acne blemishes. The other type is whiteheads. Whiteheads occur when the opening of the plugged pore is closed at the surface. With blackheads, the clogged pore remains open. This allows air to cause a chemical reaction called oxidation, which causes the black color. The black is not dirt. Oxidation is the same reaction that causes apples, avocados and potatoes to darken on exposure to air. The open comedo is the medical name for a blackhead.
Blackheads are extremely common. Almost everyone will have an acne breakout at one point or another. It is the most common skin condition in the United States. Acne is more likely to be a problem for people whose parents also had breakouts.
Who can get blackheads:-
Blackheads can occur at any point during life, but they are more common in teenagers and young adults.
The exact reason for this is unclear. Experts believe changing hormone levels likely play a role, as does excess oil production. It is a myth that poor hygiene causes acne.
Affected parts of the body
Blackheads do not occur in any place of the body. It can be in specific parts of the body. There are the following parts that are affected by blackheads.
Caution:- See your doctor if you still have blackheads after eight weeks of use. Prescription medicines or blackhead extraction may be necessary. Removing blackheads yourself can lead to worsening acne problems and scarring.
Symptoms of blackheads
Blackheads rarely produce symptoms in themselves. Blackheads are often a sign of some of the previously listed skin conditions.
Blackheads can occur anywhere, but they most often show up on body parts with a high concentration of oil glands.
Most of the time, these little black dots are of no significance aside from their cosmetic appearance, which is dramatically enhanced when using a magnifying mirror.
However, there are some specific symptoms of blackheads that can indicate you for blackheads;-
•Blackheads look like dark, black, or dirt-filled pores.
This is the result of the pore remaining open at the skin surface, allowing oxidation of the plug. It is not actual dirt in the pore.
• The skin around blackheads can become red or inflamed due to irritation.
Causes of blackheads
Blackheads are most often recognized early in the course of acne vulgaris, the inflammatory skin disease that affects the face, back, and chest of almost all teens as they go through puberty.
Blackheads occur when skin pores become plugged with oil, dead skin cells, and sometimes bacteria. Experts do not know exactly why skin pores become clogged.
There are several factors that could play a role. The factors that are responsible for blackheads are mentioned below;-
Hormonal changes:- Hormonal changes are likely to be a key one. During puberty, rising hormone levels increase oil production and stimulate the turnover of new skin cells. Both of these effects may contribute to acne breakouts. Changing hormone levels may also trigger breakouts in women during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Genetic:- Blackheads can be genetic if your close ones excluding friends have blackheads then the chances of Blackheads increase. However, there is no scientific research or report which can prove that genetic factors are also responsible for blackheads.
Sensitivity to bacterial infection:- Most people have sensitivity to bacterial infection, sunlight, and pollution. The yellowish bumpy deposits of degenerated collagen are often accompanied by numerous blackheads.
The chances of getting blackheads to increase because bacterial growth mainly is responsible for Blackheads.
- Comedones( blackheads) are seen on the exposed skin of certain workers exposed to insoluble cutting oils in the metal machining industry.
- Certain topical hair products are known to induce blackheads on the adjacent skin, resulting in a condition called “pomade acne”
- Makeup cosmetics occasionally may contain comedogenic substances.
- Certain anti-seizure and antipsychotic medications are thought to induce comedones.
- Certain rare birthmarks called “epithelial nevi” may contain many blackheads.
Blackheads vs whiteheads
Blackheads and whiteheads are basically the same things. They’re both classified as “non-inflammatory” acne — which means they aren’t infected. They’re just clogged pores containing dead skin cells and natural oils called sebum that need to come out of the skin. The difference is that the blackhead is in an open pore and the whitehead is in a closed pore.
Because the blackhead is in an open pore, it’s been exposed to the air. The chemical inside, melanin, has been oxidized by the air and turned the dead skin and natural oil inside black. The whitehead contains the same dead skin and natural oil, but because it’s been inside the closed pore and hasn’t been exposed to air, it stays a white color.
With whiteheads, the skin hasn’t ruptured yet. However, the pore only has so much space. As your body continues to produce oil and dead skin, the pore opens. If the pore remains clogged once it opens, the blemish turns to a blackhead as it oxidizes.
Tips to prevent blackheads
There’s no way to completely avoid blackheads because there’s no way to completely avoid producing oil and dead skin.
However, regular cleansing is very helpful in preventing breakouts.
- Keep your skin clean. Wash your face with lukewarm (not hot!) water both morning and night. Wash the face after exercising or sweating profusely.
- Do not pop your blackheads. Squeezing them allows bacteria to enter the pore and causes them to become inflamed. It will only make the blemish worse.
- No time to use water and cleanser? Consider using facial wipes for easy cleaning after a workout or while you’re on the go.
- Don’t overdo the washing (you’ll produce more oil) and don’t indulge in too many fast food meals and soft drinks. Grease and sugar aren’t the cause of acne, but they don’t make it any better.
- Avoid wearing thick makeup and clean off any products every night. Choose oil-free makeup.
Home remedies for blackheads
There are following home remedies that can be useful to get rid of blackheads;-
- Baking soda and water:- The mixture of baking soda and water works very well as a natural exfoliator and shields skin from infection. You can get rid of the tricky, firm blackheads using this home remedy.
Ways to use baking soda and water:- Take a spoonful of baking soda, and half a tablespoon of lemon juice, and mix it with lukewarm water.
- Milk honey cotton strip:- Honey is antibacterial, and milk has lactic acid, which aid in the natural removal process.
Ways to use milk honey and cotton strip:- Mix milk and honey and heat it for around 10 seconds. Let them cool down for some time, then apply it over your blackheads. Take a clean cotton strip, place it on top of it, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Following this, gently peel the cotton strip off, rinse and apply a moisturizer.
- Cinnamon and lemon juice:- Cinnamon is known to improve blood circulation, tighten the skin pores, while lemon helps reduce blackheads, and whiteheads; due to its antibacterial properties, and leaves the skin healthy and glowing.
Ways to use cinnamon and lemon juice:- Mix a tablespoon of cinnamon powder, a pinch of turmeric, and some lemon juice. Apply the paste on your face and let it rest for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with normal water.
- Oatmeal scrub:- Oatmeal scrub not only removes blackheads but also imparts radiance to the face.
Ways to use oatmeal scrub:- Make a scrub with plain yogurt, half lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of oatmeal. Leave the scrub on for 15 minutes on your face and rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Kasturi turmeric paste:- Turmeric can be used to help remove blackheads due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ways to use Kasturi turmeric paste:- Take one tablespoon of Kasturi turmeric and mix it with one tablespoon of water or coconut oil to form a paste, apply the paste to your face and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
NOTE:- It’s important to note that regular turmeric can stain the skin, that’s why we use Kasturi turmeric because it doesn’t stain the skin.