table of contents
Blackheads: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments Myths Prevention
1- What are Blackheads?
Blackheads appear when the skin is clogged in the hair follicles. Since the body has 5 million of them you have a lot of chances to have some blackheads. They show up as small bumps with a dark, black surface. It is a pretty common form of acne and is in fact the most common of all skin disorders in the United States. They are most common on the face but people can get them on the neck and back as well.
Many people get this form of acne and in fact it is estimated that more than 80% of people get pimples from this pore blockage. They are common enough that a whole array of treatments exist, not all of which are equally reliable. However it’s important to know about the causes of blackheads before determining exactly which treatments are going to be reliable.
The most fortuitous moment for blackheads is puberty. As a matter of fact, during those years the body is generating a lot of hormones that stimulates the skin’s oil glands. Even if the majority of blackhead are formed by this natural process there are additional factors that contribute to the growth.
Blackheads are common during puberty but they are not always easy to deal with. Most people with blackheads, especially teenagers, think that their life if affected by this acne. Acne can have a major effect on self-esteem which can then have knock-on effects on quality of life. This reduced self-esteem and embarrassment can result from being bullied and can lead to not partaking in activities and further avoidance of social events.
At the most severe levels, blackheads can be quite painful and the accompanying skin irritation can lead to people being unable to sleep and so have their entire life cycles be affected due to this insomnia.
2- What Causes Blackheads?
As said before, blackheads appear when the hair follicles are clogged. Hair follicles contain one hair and a gland that produces and oil called sebum. This is the oil that helps skin to stay soft and not dry out. The follicle can become clogged when dead skin or oils build up at the entrance to the follicle and this causes a bump. The mix of oil and skin form a plug called come done. Before the blockage is open to the air it is called a whitehead. But when the skin opens air gets into the bump causing the sebum oil to oxidize and turning black.
While blackheads can only arise in the case of a clog, some things cause more clogging to be likely. Certain drugs can affect the body’s production of oil and producing too much oil can cause the excess oil to be retained and then cause the clogging. Certain types of bacteria as well can cause acne. Oil production is also increased during hormonal changes which happens when taking birth control pills or during pregnancy. Of course, the most common time for hormonal changes is during the teenage years and it is then that acne is most common. So common that having blackheads are considered a normal part of being a teenager. Causes of blackheads? Just a by-product of growing up, as the general wisdom tells us.
People have been saying for a long time that what you eat causes acne. Everyone has heard the amount of sugar in your diet causes breakouts, to the point that most people believe it is true even though there is no evidence at all that says this is correct. This does not mean there is no link at all though but just that the links that people think exist are not always right. Blackheads are caused by oil build-up so eating really oily foods can definitely be a cause of blackheads.
Another interesting cause for blackhead is stress. In fact every person has a stress gland called the adrenal gland which puts out cortisone to deal with this stress. This cortisone also comes with the leaking of a bit of male hormones into the body.
For a man is not really noticeable but for women this little increase makes a huge difference since even a small increase is a huge spike in male hormones as a percentage of the total in the woman’s body. This male hormone is the one that causes the oil glands to make more oil which leads to acne. So if you are too stressed then you will produce too much oil and this is a direct contributor to acne production since it is this oil that gets trapped and forms the plug in the pore. Stress can be related to emotions or maybe also the fact that one person does not have enough sleep
Women are generally more affected by hormonal acne. The small part that of testosterone leaks out is still considerate a huge change and a meaningful increase in the women’s’ blood testosterone. Women can have a major breakout of spots when they go through their menstrual cycle. This type of cyclical breaking out is known is menstrual acne.
Since hormone levels play a part in the cause of acne, certain types of steroids can cause major breakouts and cause already existing conditions to worsen.
A lot of sweating and high humidity levels can cause breakouts as well or at least leave the skin more susceptible to these. Sweating, especially if prolonged, causes the skin to become dried out in the long run and much like tanning will cause the skin to become irritated.
There are many myths about blackheads since they are common and everyone has had to deal with them from time to time. One of the most common myths is that chocolate can cause breakouts which is itself a subset of the effect of sugar in the skin, as mentioned before. Research has not proven any links to what foods cause acne with any consensus, so it is best to keep track of what you eat to see if there is any link to certain foods. Research may not have a consensus yet but it is starting to look like dairy could be linked.
Popping blackheads does not get rid of the blackhead but may in fact cause more blackheads to develop or get bacteria in to keep the existing ones around for longer.
People always say makeup makes breakouts worse but this is not true. While this may have been true at some stage, there are many products that exist now that do not clog the pores. There are even many brands with active ingredients to fight breakouts. However, as with the food diary, it is best to keep track of which brands have a link to any breakouts and see if there is a trend.
Tanning is spoken of as a way to improve the acne breakouts. While it is true that getting sunlight can improve the complexion in the short term staying in the sun too long can dry out the skin. Dried skin gets irritated pretty quickly and have more breakouts.
Poor hygiene is also spoken of as a cause for blackheads. While poor hygiene has its own issues as to its impact on health (and one’s social presence, of course) there is no link at all to poor hygiene and breakouts.
4- How Can Blackheads be Prevented?
Preventing blackheads is definitely a lot easier than trying to cure them after getting them. It is likely to be a lot cheaper as well.
It is fairly obvious that washing your face is a great way to reduce blackheads arising. This is because washing your face would remove oils that might get trapped in the follicles. It is important not to go overboard on the washing as too much washing would then irritate the skin. It is even possible to use a cleanser to wash with since some cleansers have antibacterial inputs that stop the bacteria that causes acne. It is not just about washing the face though. Hair that is only can also cause pores to be clogged and even if you do not notice the blackheads appearing on your scalp, they might break out everywhere.
Washing is not the best way to keep your face healthy but hydration is definitely important. Tanning and sweating causes the skin to dry out and dry, irritated skin are more prone to having breakouts. To avoid having dry skin it is important to stay hydrated. It may even be necessary to use a moisturizer though it is important to keep track of which is being used and choose one that does not have any effects on the skin. It is, of course, best to choose a moisturizer with little or no oil present in it at all as this would be wholly counterproductive to trying to prevent breakouts.
Oil should be reduced on a whole when it comes to the products being used on the face. It is fairly easy nowadays to find makeup and suntan lotion that is not full of oil or even do not contain any oil at all. Having less oil on hand means it can not get into the pores and then help cause new blackheads.
It is not just the oil though that causes blackheads, but the dead skin as well. Hence it is a good idea to have exfoliating scrubs which can be really helpful in removing these dead skin cells and stop them from potentially building up in the pores.
5-How Are Blackheads Treated?
Blackheads are a form of acne and so they can be treated by the many options at the pharmacy without need for a prescription. There are hundreds of acne medication products that can be put directly on the skin. These drugs all vary in composition but they all work in the same way by killing bacteria, reducing oil and helping the skin to get rid of dead skin cells. Of course, depending on the problem, the type of medicine chosen will possibly focus on one of these treatments but in the case of blackheads it is best to go for a product that does all three.
While there are indeed many medicines that can be found without the need for prescriptions, in particularly stubborn cases there may be the need to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe a stronger treatment. While this is unlikely to be needed just for a few blackheads, a severe breakout or a breakout in combination with other types of acne may call for this.
Dermatologists are not just there to prescribe medicine, of course. They can be more proactive and direct in getting rid of blackheads if they feel they need to. In the case of stubborn blackheads they can even extract the debris that is blocking the follicle. They can also use a microdermabrasion to remove the clogs that cause the blackheads. The microdermabrasion is kind of like having sandpaper rubbed on the scan but it does peel away the top layers where the problem of debris lies.
For those who do not fancy these treatments since they might think they are a bit too rough, there is the possibility to use laser therapy. While this is not as quick of a solution, the laser beams go below the surface of the skin without damaging the top layers and so might be better in the long run. The lasers mainly stop oil production and can also kill bacteria.
The easiest treatment is probably the hardest one of all. This sounds paradoxical and that is because the best thing to do is not touch your face at all. Touching the face might seem like a good idea because popping the blackhead is quite tempting and it gets rid of it. But this is not advised at all. As said before, popping blackheads to get rid of them is only a myth. Popping the blackhead can spread the bacteria in the pimples across a wider span of skin and then cause more outbreaks. Scratching can also cause scars and further irritation. Plus any dirt that’s on your hands could get into the pores and any bacteria on your hands could get in as well.
Treatment of blackheads does not just involve treating the breakout but especially in the case of adolescents involves treating the psychological effects of acne which may result in shyness and social awkwardness.
Our mission is to provide useful information that motivates you to take action to improve the health of your skin: April 18th, 2017 by Admin