Among those who deal with acne regularly, and even those with fewer such issues every now and then, blackheads are a well-known and common occurrence. So named for their color and appearance on the face or other skin areas, blackheads are unpleasant to look at and can be uncomfortable to deal with as well.

At Skintherapy, our acne treatment services include the prevention and removal of blackheads among several other skin treatment areas. Let’s go over exactly what blackheads are, what gives them their appearance, and how you can limit and remove them.

Blackhead Basics

Known medically as an “open comedo,” a blackhead is a clogged pore on the skin caused by inflammation, bacteria, excess sebum and excess proliferation in the pore. Blackheads, unlike other forms of acne, have a wide opening at the surface, allowing you to see the actual contents of the blockage directly underneath the skin.

Blackheads can take place on anyone’s skin, even people who don’t normally have major acne breakouts. They can form anywhere on the face, but are most common in the “T-zone” that makes up the center of the face – this is because this area is most oily and promotes blackhead formation most easily.

Why Are They Black?

Blackheads take on their color due to oil, dead skin cells and other debris that are packed into them – debris that oxidizes and turns black over time. This, combined with the large opening we mentioned above, makes them perhaps the most unsightly form of acne out there.

Preventing Blackheads

A couple general areas to keep an eye on when it comes to blackheads:

  • Skin products: If you’ve been getting blackheads recently, it’s time to evaluate your skin care products. In particular, you want to minimize any that have synthetic oils, cocoa butter, coconut oil or other heavy ingredients that may clog the pores. These are known as “comedogenic” products, and you should be looking for the opposite – non-comedogenic options for products like sunscreen, moisturizers, makeup and even hair products.
  • Exfoliation: Regular exfoliation will remove dead skin cells, one of the top sources of clogged pores. There are many great exfoliation products, and salicylic acid is one of the most popular.
  • Professional options: If you’re taking care in the two areas above but are still dealing with blackheads, speak to your skin care professional about additional prevention methods.

Removing Blackheads

If you are dealing with blackheads, your esthetician can be a major assist here. They can perform professional-quality extractions, the kind that – unlike many home extractions, which can actually be detrimental to the effort – do not spread any bacteria or cause additional inflammation by moving debris around to other areas of the skin. These extractions involve compressing the pores and slowly squeezing the debris out, then sanitizing the area and using proper products to prevent future blackhead issues.

For more on blackheads and how to remove and prevent them, or for information on any of our acne treatments, speak to the staff at Skintherapy today.