Although blackheads are not necessarily caused by poor skin hygiene, these darkened little oil specs can make the skin look and feel rough, oily, and dirty. We have countless skin products and methods of removal, but what should we really be looking for when choosing products, ingredients, and services?
In this article we will focus on defining the ‘blackhead’. From selecting the right ingredients to DIY pore cleansing techniques, our tips will help you minimize and control blackheads.
What is a blackhead?
Blackheads are quite simply clogged hair follicles in the skin. These tiny follicles can become clogged due to enlargement and/ or years of buildup.
Our hair follicles are a type of pore found throughout the body, except for the palms and soles. They are most visible in areas with higher oil production or areas where the oil collects throughout the day such as the creases of the nose.
A combination of waste.
This particular type of pore consists of a tube-like structure in the skin that sprouts hair, excretes oil, and retains a combination of waste within the its tiny canal. This combination includes dead cells, oil, makeup, dirt, and basically anything that can melt into the pores. Over time the debris can become solidified when neglected by being left inside the pore.
Loss of elasticity.
Adding to the cause is the loss of skin elasticity. Over time the opening of the pores can become weakened due to underlying skin condition, skin trauma, or pressure from buildup. Once the pores have lost their ability to contract it becomes difficult to regain this elasticity without resorting to advanced skin therapy such as LASER or IPL.
Dead keratin, not dirt!
Blackheads may vary in colour, diameter, and depth, but they all have the same characteristic opening that can be easily spotted. The dark pinpoint that we see at the surface of the skin, is actually a result of dead keratin cells being exposed to the open air (oxidized). This reaction causes a browning similar to the effect caused by leaving cut fruit such as a banana or an apple open to the elements. Contrary to popular belief, the dark tip is not dirt!
Blackheads are different from whiteheads due to the opening being present and the causes vary. If a blackhead becomes infected it can then transition into a pustule aka a “pimple”. Improper extraction and/ or excess pressure are most commonly the cause of infection.
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