Pimple-popping blackheads are annoying because they cause discomfort, pain, and skin damage that could be permanent. To avoid and get rid of them, you need to understand what they are, what causes them, and what’s best for blackheads.
You also need to understand things you should do and things that you should avoid in your blackheads treatment because you might be tempted to do something that may cause your skin damage to be permanent.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads emerge when the skin pores are clogged with a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum—an oily substance that is secreted by the sebaceous glands under the skin surface. The technical term for this clogged pore is comedo. A comedo is white, so when the skin covers it, it appears as a white bump on the skin—hence the term whitehead refers to the closed comedo.
When the comedo becomes open, oxidation will cause the comedo to be dark-coloured—hence the appearance of a blackhead. Therefore, if you see a black spot appearing in your whitehead area, don’t blame yourself too much because the dark spot is caused neither by poor hygiene nor by dirt. It’s just oxidized melanin that turns black.
Don’t try to scrub the blackhead, hoping that it will become “clean” and that you’ll be able to get rid of blackheads with it. Scrubbing will not make the blackhead disappear. Scrubbing may worsen the condition and cause the damage to be permanent.
What causes blackheads?
Another essential thing to mind if you want to remove your blackheads is their cause. Blackheads don’t appear out of the blue. But again, don’t blame poor hygiene for their emergence because although poor hygiene may be a risk factor that may cause blackheads to worsen, they are not the cause of blackheads. Comedo emergence is mainly caused by something that occurs in your body.
As stated above, comedo forms when dead skin cells mix with sebum and clog your pores. Dead skin cells are generated all the time due to the cellular life cycle; however, your body can typically shed and get rid of the dead cells with no trouble. They cause a problem only when they mix with sebum. Sebum is thus the culprit for the emergence of blackheads. The most effective way to remove blackheads before they even appear is by controlling sebum and preventing it from clogging your pores.
Sebum is produced naturally. There is no way to stop its production because sebum is needed as a natural lubricant for your skin and hair and because sebum protects your skin from bacteria. For certain people, such as teenagers who are entering their puberty period, women with polycystic ovarian or premenstrual syndrome, and people with a lot of sun exposure, the production of sebum increases. The risk emergence of comedones and pimple popping blackheads also increases.
What are the risk factors?
Although comedo emerges naturally when your body hormones trigger the increased production of sebum, some factors may increase the risk of comedones and blackheads. An excellent way to control your blackheads is by understanding those risks and avoiding them as much as possible.
Here are some known comedo risk factors that you should beware of.
Sebum, which is oil, is the reason why comedones and blackheads emerge. If you expose your skin to another oily substance, which is usually present in cosmetics, you will make the condition much worse. Avoid oily cosmetics and use non-comedogenic cosmetics with no oil in them.
The right way to control blackheads before they appear on your skin is by avoiding tight clothing. Even a moderate amount of sebum and dead skin cells may wreak havoc if trapped underneath tight clothing. Your skin should be able to breathe and get rid of its oil and waste, so wear loose and breathable clothing to prevent blackheads from occurring.
Although there is not yet any conclusive research about whether higher exposure to sunray may lead to the formation of comedones and subsequently blackheads, the statistics show that comedones and blackheads that occur in older people are often caused by sun exposure. Sun exposure, especially for people who live in humid places, also increases perspiration, which is considered a risk factor for comedones.
Medication and supplement
Certain medications and supplements, such as corticosteroids, either trigger the increased production of sebum or encourage a higher skin cell turnover rate. Check the side effects of every drug you take to determine whether it may cause something you don’t want on your skin.
How to remove blackheads
How to remove all blackheads before or after they appear? Before they appear, the best way to prevent their emergence is by avoiding all risk factors. You may also need to wash the most comedo-prone skin areas regularly using warm water to reduce the sebum. Exfoliation may also help get rid of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
The most important thing to avoid when you want to remove blackheads altogether is to pick your blackheads. Although picking blackheads is the most satisfying experience for you, it can be the worst for your blackheads. Your fingers carry many bacteria, and when you pick your blackhead, the open wound can be infected by bacteria, worsening the condition and potentially causing a permanent scar.
To remove blackheads, there are several procedures that you can do. If you prefer to use anything that you can find at home, you can apply salicylic acid to your skin because this loosens the comedo area and allows the blackheads to pop out on their own when you wash your skin.
You can also use some home remedies, such as egg and lime juice mixture, honey and raw milk mixture, gelatin, and milk mixture, as a comedo removal mask.
Last but not least, the most effective way to remove pimple-popping blackheads is by consulting a dermatologist and having your blackheads treated by a professional.