Who doesn't like to have clean and clear skin? But blackheads are a common type of skin condition that everyone usually faces at some point in their lives.
But what are blackheads?
Blackheads are a common skin condition that primarily affects the face, neck, back, and chest. There are several causes, including too much oil on your skin and irritation of your hair follicles. Blackheads are most common in adolescents, but they can occur at any age.
Acne is characterized by blackheads (acne vulgaris). They are generally referred to as open bumps on the skin that fill with dead skin and excess oil.
Although blackheads are sometimes confused with pimples, they are not! Pimples are small, painful bumps with a thick, white-yellow fluid (pus) at the tip.
How common are blackheads?
Blackheads are extremely common. According to some research, blackheads affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives. They are most common in adolescents, but up to 10% to 20% of adults have them as well.
What are the main causes of blackheads?
Blackheads form when a clog or plug forms in the opening of your skin's hair follicles. Each follicle contains one hair and an oil-producing sebaceous gland. This oil, known as sebum, keeps your skin soft.
A comedo is formed when dead skin cells and oils accumulate in the opening to the skin follicle. If the bump remains closed, it is referred to as a whitehead. And if the skin over the bump remains open, the air causes it to appear black and a blackhead to form.
Numerous factors can raise acne and blackheads, including:
- Too much body oil production.
- Propionibacterium acnes bacteria buildup on the skin.
- Hair follicle irritation occurs when dead skin cells are not shed regularly.
- Going through hormonal changes that cause an increase in oil production during adolescence, menstruation, or while taking birth control pills.
- Certain drugs such as corticosteroids, lithium, or androgens
- Some food and drink can have an impact on acne and blackheads. Dairy products and foods that raise blood sugar levels, such as carbohydrates, may contribute to acne.
How can we prevent blackheads and treat them?
Following are some ways you can consider preventing the formation of blackheads.
• Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments
Many acne drugs are available without a prescription at drug and supermarket stores or even online. These medications are available in creams, gels, and pads that are applied directly to the skin.
The medications contain active ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol. They eliminate microorganisms, absorb excess oil, and force the skin to shed dead skin cells.
• Prescribed Medications
If over-the-counter treatments do not work, consult your dermatologist and get prescribed medicines. Vitamin A-containing medications prevent plugs from forming in hair follicles and promote faster skin cell turnover. There are some medicated creams like tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapalene.
Your doctor may prescribe another topical therapy containing benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics if you have pimples or cysts with blackheads.
• Removing Manually
Dermatologists or skin care professionals use specialized equipment called a round loop extractor to remove the block that causes the blackhead. The doctor then uses tools like the extractor to remove the blockage after making a small gap in the plug.
During microdermabrasion, a doctor, skin care professional, or dermatologist operates using a specific instrument with a rough surface to remove the top layers of the skin. Clogs that produce blackheads are removed by rubbing the skin.
• Chemical Peels
Chemical Peels also help clear clogs and remove dead skin cells that cause blackheads. A peel is performed by applying a powerful chemical solution to the skin. Over time, the top layers of skin peel away, revealing smoother skin beneath. Dermatologists or other skincare professionals perform stronger peels. Mild peels are accessible over the counter.
• Light and laser therapy
To reduce oil production or kill bacteria, laser, and light therapies use tiny powerful light beams. Both lasers and light beams can treat blackheads and acne beneath the skin's surface without harming the top layers of the skin.
What can be done to avoid blackheads besides medications?
Along with medications and treatments, you must develop a good skincare regime and a healthy lifestyle to avoid blackheads.
Here are a few recommendations you can adopt in daily life to keep blackheads away without spending a lot of money:
- Wash your face regularly.
Washing the face after waking up and before going to bed removes the excess oil. Though cleaning your face is necessary, do not overdo it. 2-3 times are recommended; more than that can irritate your skin and exacerbate acne.
- Choose the correct cleanser.
Your cleanser must not irritate or aggravate your skin. Antibacterial components in several acne cleansing solutions kill P. acne bacteria.
Do not forget to cleanse your face after having oily foods like pizza, fries, etc., as oily food can block pores.
Also, wash your hair every day, especially if your hair is oily. Hair oils can cause clogged pores.
- Use products that aren't greasy or oily.
To avoid aggravating your problem, use oil-free or non-comedogenic cosmetics, lotions, and sunscreens.
- Exfoliate the skin.
Exfoliating scrubs and masks can help eliminate blackheads by removing dead skin cells from your face. Look for items that will not bother your skin.
- Avoid oily and greasy food.
Maintain a healthy diet, and if your skin type is oily, do not consume packaged or oily food as they can increase the buildup of blackheads and acne. Also, engage in some physical activity.
If your blackhead is severe and needs treatment, do not hesitate to get consulted by skin experts. For consultations or appointments, you can connect with the experienced dermatologists of Sakhiya Skin Clinic on the given toll-free number 1800 1200 70000.