I admit standing in front of a mirror and squeezing out your skin is immensely satisfying but it’s one of the worst things you can do to yourself, especially when it comes to blackheads. If you’re on the verge of doing just that, stop immediately. Save yourself from committing this skin sin.
What are blackheads?
Let’s start by understanding what a blackhead is. Acne comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors — and sometimes, the skin condition doesn’t look like a noticeable blemish at all.
Take blackheads, for example, those pesky dark-colored gunk-filled spots. In case you’ve ever tried squeezing one, you’ve probably found yourself facing an angry bump instead and immediately regretted it. Blackheads are caused due to a build-up of sebum, dead skin, and acne-causing bacteria stuck in the hair follicle. When these substances oxidize in the air, they turn black. Blackheads are also called open comedones, the early stage of acne formation. They may appear as small back or dark-colored spots with slightly raised bumps. The pore tip remains open even though the rest of it is clogged.
What causes blackheads?
Some factors can increase the chances of developing blackheads. Age and hormones have a big role to play. Blackheads are quite common during puberty; however, they can occur at any age. Other factors like blocked pores due to excessive use of make-up, heavy sweating, shaving, high humidity, and pollution in the environment can also contribute to clogged pores leading to blackhead formation.
How to prevent and treat blackheads?
To keep blackheads at bay, topical or oral retinoids come in handy. If you are already struggling with blackheads, there are a few ways to get rid of them. One go-to ingredient for eliminating blackheads is salicylic acid. Being a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that unclogs pores and increases cell turnover, salicylic acid can help you get clear skin.
Another effective way of dealing with blackheads would be to include a retinoid in your skincare routine. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like lactic acid and glycolic acid are also helpful in unclogging pores.
Skincare sins to stop committing if you have blackheads
When it comes to getting rid of blackheads, let’s talk about things you absolutely should not do. No matter how tempted you feel to quickly scrub away all your dead skin with a harsh exfoliating scrub, it would be best if you avoid over-exfoliating. These scrubs can strip your skin of its natural oils and, in turn, create even more oil.
No matter what you do, do not squeeze your blackheads. All you will end us doing is causing the follicle to rupture and induce the formation of a cyst or lesion that is inflammatory. Another thing to steer clear of is suction devices that promise to suck all the gunk out of your pores. Using these devices can result in broken blood vessels on your skin.
You might also get tempted to use pore strips because we know they can be super satisfying to use, but pulling those blackheads out might cause more harm than good. These strips can be abrasive, causing skin irritation and redness.
One of the most responsible things to do when faced with blackheads would be to schedule an in-office treatment with an esthetician. There are various skin treatments available that can help you eliminate blackheads. You can develop a routine that helps prevent any future blackheads from appearing on your skin with the proper guidance.
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Read all of Dr. Pavitra Patel’s articles here.