Any type of facial blemish is frustrating, especially when we work hard to keep our skin clear and hydrated. One of the more annoying problems we encounter is blackheads.
But what exactly are blackheads and what causes them? Seoul Mamas can explain why these annoying blemishes pop up and what you can do about it.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are a type of mild acne that causes bumps on the skin, usually the face. But blackheads can also be found on the back, shoulders, chest, neck, and sometimes even the ears.
Unlike whiteheads, the tip of the blackhead bump is open, and the bump itself is filled with oil and dead skin. The top of the blemish looks black from the way it reflects the light. Since they are not enclosed like other types of pimples, they are usually not painful.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads are caused when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin, creating a bump. The bump remains open so that you can see the clogged follicle, and the tip of the bump appears black, hence the name “blackhead.”
The skin naturally produces oils through the sebaceous glands, and this oil production can fluctuate based on factors such as hormones, stress, and diet. Excess oil can clog up the sebaceous glands and hair follicles, causing a blackhead to form.
How common are blackheads?
Blackheads are incredibly common and affect the majority of the population at one time or another. Since increased oil production is often hormone-related, teens and young adults are usually susceptible to blackheads, as well as other acne issues.
Anyone can experience blackheads, however, and those with oily skin or high stress might see blackheads pop up.
Do blackheads cause major problems?
Blackheads are often painless and mostly just annoying for those who experience them, but occasionally bacteria can get into the clogged hair follicle and cause pimples or infections.
Having frequent acne problems can often be embarrassing, especially for teens, and can cause emotional distress for young people unsure of how to keep their skin clear. The good news is that blackheads are very treatable.
What treatments are available for blackheads?
Most treatments for blackheads are available over-the-counter and are easy on the skin. Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in most acne washes that helps dissolve dead skin to prevent it from clogging the follicles. Exfoliating scrubs can also help remove excess dead skin buildup. In more severe cases, prescription acne treatments are available.
There are also several natural treatments to help control blackheads. Reducing stress, eating nutritious foods, and drinking enough water can help the skin stay clear. Tea tree oil is also known to help with acne when rubbed directly onto the skin, along with green tea leaves.
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