Do you know what those little black spots are on your face? Although it might seem as blackheads are caused by the skin being dirty it forms when a hair follicle in the skin becomes clogged. This is a common type of acne and can be found on your face, back, shoulders, and even your chest.
What Are Black Heads?
Dead skin cells combined with excess oils collected in the follicle opening cause a bump. This substance is known as sebum. When this bump opens the buildup that created the clog will oxidize and turn black. Blackheads are a type of acne vulgaris or hormonal acne. One of the most common reasons for the formation of blackheads is the overproduction of oils. This happens during hormonal shifts such as puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy.
How are Blackheads Formed?
Blackheads are small black dots that form usually in the T-zone area on your face. They are known as open comedones. When extra sebum inside the skin’s pores is produced it makes it difficult to reach the surface causing blocked pores. As the flow starts to build up the exit becomes narrower resulting in the sebum being trapped and not secreted naturally. If the skin cell is slightly opened the mixture of sebum and dead skin cells is exposed to oxygen and oxidizes causing the combination to turn black resulting in the form of a blackhead. They can also be created when hair follicles are provoked or the dead skin cells don’t shed regularly.
Whiteheads are very similar to blackheads. They are known as closed comedones. They are formed when a hair follicle is clogged by oils and dead skin cells. This creates a bump and forms a pore that is closed. Oxygen never reaches the follicle preventing the chemical reaction to occur. This allows it to stay white hence its name. This type of acne can be found on your face, back and chest.
What is the difference between blackheads and whiteheads?
Although blackheads and whiteheads are similar in the way they are formed there are many similar and different ways of treating them. When treating both types of acne it’s important to use salicylic acid to demolish the blemishes. Treating blackheads require less intervention than whiteheads.
Treatments for Blackheads:
- Some products that can be used to extract blackheads are salicylic acid which cleans out the pores and benzoyl peroxide which helps to kill the bacteria. These products will help to dry out and remove oils and dead skin from your pores
- Exfoliating is also another way to remove bacteria and clogged pores from your skin. Using a small brush or face wash with salicylic acid and gently washing your face can help reduce the formation of blackheads.
- Using retinoids is effective when it comes to treating whiteheads and blackheads. If you have mild acne and only black or whiteheads using only retinoids can be efficient. Using retinoids together with antimicrobials may be great, though, for people who have both non-inflammatory and inflammatory blemishes.
Treatment for Whiteheads:
- Leave it alone. One of the best but not loved treatments for whiteheads is to leave it be. Trying to pop it, squeeze it, or picking at it can leave scars or in rare cases skin infections.
- The topical treatment of benzoyl peroxide can prevent future breakouts and get rid of the bacteria that is already on the skin. This can be done alone or with other treatments and can work as fast as five days.
- Tea Tree oil is another effective treatment for comedonal acne. Some studies show that tea tree oils are perfect for clearing the skin if some antibacterial treatments are resisted.
Overall the best way to keep your face clean is by limiting yourself from touching your face and stop picking at blemishes. Both blackheads and whiteheads are formed by buildup and clogged pores. Not to worry, having this type of acne is common and can be treated using the over-the-counter products listed above.