Women are well aware of how ugly blackheads can look, and just how easily they can spoil our look for that special occasion. We spend hours sitting through painful procedures at parlors to get rid of these ugly blackheads that cover up our noses and cheeks. But did you know the medical causes of a blackhead? Yes, you read that right, a blackhead is essentially a medical condition of the skin, just like a pimple or an acne is.
Most people consider them a stain on their natural beauty. A very natural occurrence in most people, blackheads are a very common problem that occurs in the facial area, particularly around the nose.
Blackheads are nothing but small little dots, like bumps, that come up on the skin resulting from hair follicles that get clogged. They are referred to as blackheads because the surface where they appear is dark, dull, and black. Blackheads normally appear on the face, but in some cases, they can also appear on the back, neck, chest, arms and shoulders. While blackheads and acne are terms that can be used synonymously, they are different skin conditions.
How Do Blackheads Appear?
Blackheads appear due to clogs formed in the opening of small pores that contain hair follicles. Each follicle consists of two parts: one being the hair, and other being a sebaceous gland that secretes a skin oil known as sebum. The sebum regulates moisture in the skin and keeps it soft and naturally moisturized. When the skin cells die, these dead cells accumulate in the opening of the skin follicles, along with the oil, and cause a bump to appear which is known as a comedone. When the skin on top of the bump remains closed it is known as a white head. However, when it opens up with the exposure to the air and outside environment causes blackish appearance leading to the formation of blackheads.
Facts about Blackheads You Should Know
Usually, blackheads are the first sign of acne. Here are some key facts about blackheads that you should be well aware of, particularly if you are suffering from this skin condition.
- Blackheads occur due to excessive production of sebum or natural skin oil at the base of the hair. This mostly occurs due to certain hormonal changes including the ones that occur at the onset of puberty.
- Sebum consists of a darkening pigment known as melanin. This melanin then interacts with the air cause an oxidizing reaction to occur that eventually results in blackening. This is the main reason why blackheads have a blackish dark appearance.
- There are several myths about the appearance of blackheads, one of them being that blackhead appearance is linked to sexual activity. This, however, is not true.
- Some people believe that popping off a blackhead helps remove it permanently. However, constantly popping of blackheads can worsen the skin condition and could also result in scarring.
- The occurrence of blackheads can be linked to poor eating habits, medical conditions like diabetes and quickly growing skin cells that eventually cause clogging of the pores.
- Blackheads are also referred to as open comedones which, are considered a mild form of acne, unless followed by severe acne appearing on the skin.
- Blackheads normally are not bothersome or painful however severe acne could be painful to deal with.
Can Poor Hygiene be a Cause Behind Blackheads?
There are several myths about the various triggers that could result in blackheads and acne. Poor hygiene is certainly one of the reasons that could cause blackhead in a number of people. While inadequate washing of the face can leave it clogged with dirt and oils, resulting in excessive oil production in the skin, excessing washing or scrubbing the face also has its downsides and could worsen blackheads.
Other Causes Behind Blackheads
A number of people believe that blackheads only occur when your face is left unclean. Though it is partly true, the fact is that there are certainly other reasons also that could be responsible for the appearance of blackheads in a person.
Here are some of the most common reasons associated with the appearance of blackheads in a person:
1. Cosmetics: The nasal region, also known as the T-Zone, is oilier than the rest of the face because there are a large number of oil secreting glands located around the nose. While the oily skin creams and cosmetics could be moisturizing the rest of your face, the nose and the area around it could get oilier. Excessive use of makeup and skin cosmetics that contain artificial or chemical ingredients can further clog up hair follicles on the nose which could eventually result in the appearance of blackheads.
2. Hormonal changes: A number of skin conditions are a result of various hormonal changes that take place in our body. As the estrogen levels begin to drop in the body around late 20’s a number of women start to face the common problem of blackheads or adult acne.
3. Sweat: Excessive workout, or working out in too much heat, can add to the sweating which can lead to the formation of blackheads. Excessive sweat can lead to clogging of the pores in the skin resulting in blackheads and blemishes. When you wear with makeup on it leads to further clogging of the pores, thereby inscribing the risk of blackheads.
4. Medications: A number of medicines can also increase your chances of being affected by blackheads. Read the labels on your medications, or contact a dermatologist, to find out if any of your medications could be causing you skin trouble.
Simple Home Remedies to Getting Rid of Blackheads
Blackhead removal does not always require expensive and painful parlor sessions. There are also a few simple home remedies that one can try for the removal of blackheads. Some of the most common and effective ways to get rid of blackheads include:
1. Clay Mask: Bentonite clay is a mineral clay that has a number of healing properties. This clay has been used for hundreds of years in treating skin related ailments. It has certain molecular properties when wet that make it extremely powerful in drawing out excessive oils and impurities that are lying deep into the pores of the skin. When the mask is applied to the skin, the clay effectively pulls the blackheads out of the pore.
2. Mask made of Egg white: Egg white makes an effective mask that is very helpful in tightening pores thereby helping in getting rid of blackheads. Egg whites also have certain essential nutrients for the skin that help in removing the blackheads without excessively drying out the skin.
3. Honey and Milk Strips: Honey and milk are both known to be excellent skin moisturizers. While honey has some antibacterial properties, the milk has lactic acid which works well in softening the skin. When both honey and milk are mixed together, they have certain adhesive properties that pull out the deepest rooted blackheads from the skin. The best part about this treatment is that it doesn't even dry out the skin like other blackhead removal measures do.
4. Cinnamon & Honey: Cinnamon and honey together is a great combination to get rid of the rigid blackheads. While honey is rich in moisturizing properties, cinnamon works as an effective scrub that imparts glow and adds to the blood circulation in the skin.