Blackheads: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments - All you need to know
What are blackheads?
While all forms of acne are annoying, blackheads are like the forbearers of full-blown acne which ridiculously crop up, sometimes in abundance, around the nose and other areas of the face. And if you thought that’s where they would be limited to, then you’d be the opposite of delighted to know they can also pop up on the body!
When sebum, debris and dead skin cells get together, they sometimes decide to unlawfully rent a space in your pores and sit on the top of the surface opening, slowly oxidizing to turn a shade of black or grey. They are different from whiteheads in the sense that these are open pores, while whiteheads are closed with a thin layer of skin covering them to create a lighter appearance.
Why do you have Blackheads?
Due to hormonal imbalances, the body may produce excess androgens, which can cause increased production of sebum. The excess oil clogs the pores and traps dirt and dead skin cells along with it.
Apart from being related to the endocrine system, there are several other factors contributing to the formation of blackheads like wearing tight clothes or face gear that can trap sweat, being on certain medications and using comedogenic products that clog the pores.
Also, pore size is usually determined by genetics and people with larger pores are more prone to getting blackheads.
How do you remove existing blackheads?
Unfortunately, there is no way to rid yourself permanently of blackheads, but you can use certain products and methods to take care of the existing ones.
- Choose skincare products with salicylic acid
One of the most beneficial ingredients for blackheads is salicylic acid as it clears out the excess oil from the pores and acts as a mild exfoliator, ridding the skin of dead cells. This takes care of two of the most important components required in forming blackheads, which is why you should incorporate this ingredient into your skincare routine.
Try using products that are infused with salicylic acid. It works best in the form of cleansers and serums but can be used in other products too. Try the Hormonal Acne skincare range from Carmesi, which is powered by natural salicylic acid so that it’s gentler and non-irritating on acne-prone skin.
- Use chemical exfoliators
Chemical exfoliators containing AHAs and BHAs are gentler on the skin than physical exfoliators, which may be harsher for acne-prone skin. One of the most potent AHA is glycolic acid, while salicylic acid is a prominent BHA. Together, they remove the top layer of the skin, getting rid of blackheads, dead skin and excess oil in the process while bringing out softer, cleansed skin.
- Incorporate retinoids in your skincare routine
Retinoids and retinol (milder) are Vitamin A derivatives that act as an extremely effective treatment for blackheads. They affect the skin cell development from the inside out to prevent the clogging of pores.
By completely clearing out the pores, retinoids also help other skincare products to penetrate deeper into the skin and be more effective. However, if you have very dry skin, then you should avoid retinoids as they can dry out your skin even more.
- Use the steam extraction method
Steam is great for opening up the pores in your skin as heat is known to create a dilating effect on the pores, while the moisture softens the contents inside. Once your pores open up, you can use cotton swabs or a comedone extractor to gently draw out the blackheads, thereby leaving your skin clear.
Refrain from using your hands and nails as these can introduce bacteria and further worsen your acne.
- Use pore strips for the blackheads on your nose
If you are looking for a quick fix for your blackheads before a function, you can try pore strips available in the market that you can put on your nose and wait to dry. As the patch dries, the adhesive attaches to the sebum and dead skin on your nose and when you peel it off, the pore contents are removed along with the strip.
However, these can be very drying and irritating, especially for people with sensitive skin. Along with the gunk, the pores can also pull out essential stuff like natural skin oils which can make your pores produce even more oil than necessary, in turn contributing to more blackheads.
- Try a clay or charcoal mask
Incorporate a sulfur induced clay mask once a week in your skincare regime to provide extra effectiveness against blackheads. Clay is known to draw out excess oil and toxins from the skin, which helps in unclogging the pores. Sulfur is a great ingredient that breaks down the dead skin cells contained in the blackheads.
Charcoal masks work similarly by drawing out excess oil, toxins and other skin impurities that contribute to making blackheads. It is known to be more effective than clay masks, but can also be more drying.
- Try a skin brush if you don’t have sensitive skin
Skin brushes work by gently exfoliating your skin, removing all the dead skin buildup. But, you should not use them every time you wash your face. They can be used occasionally with very gentle cleansers.
However, if your skin is very sensitive, it is best to avoid these brushes completely as further irritation will do more harm than good.
How do you possibly prevent future blackheads?
Even though it’s impossible to get rid of blackheads permanently, you can take a few steps that will help you prevent the majority of future blackheads from cropping up on your skin.
- Remove your makeup before sleeping - Even if you’re using makeup that is not supposed to clog your pores, sleeping in your makeup can cause more blackheads. Use the double cleansing method for best results, where you use a makeup remover first and then wash your face with a gentle cleanser infused with salicylic acid like the Carmesi Foaming Face Wash.
- The dual wash - It is best to wash your face twice daily, especially before applying your skincare products. This will effectively remove excess oil, dead skin and dirt while making sure the products penetrate your skin better.
- Use non-comedogenic products - Using comedogenic products will result in clogged pores, which can cause more blackheads. Use makeup and skincare products that do not clog your pores, so you don’t risk the buildup of dead skin cells and excess oil.
Address underlying hormonal imbalances - Hormonal imbalances can lead to excess production of androgens like testosterone, which can create more sebum in your pores. Excess oil can clog your pores and give rise to blackheads. You should treat hormonal imbalances from inside your body by opting for supplementary natural tablets like Carmesi Cyclo+, which will regulate your cycle and bring your hormones back on track.
When should you visit a dermatologist?
Sometimes, your blackheads may be too many in number or become so deep-rooted that they cannot be removed by extraction at home or with products. You may choose to visit a dermatologist in those cases to get your blackheads removed.
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