Blackheads – How Can We Wipe Out Small Black Bumps From The Skin?
Dealing with skin problems is a real pain as they can be very embarrassing and unpleasant. Everyone loves that clear glowing skin and the natural complexion of the body. Even a single mark on the body can highlight the beauty of the face and if several marks such as blackheads appear on the body, then it can be an awkward situation.
What are blackheads?
Also known as comedo, blackheads refers to small dark bumps that appear on the skin as a result of clogged hair follicles. These dark blemishes are called blackheads due to their dark and black tint. These are one of the common and mild forms of acne that usually appears on the face but may also come out on your arms, neck, shoulders, chest, and back.
How many people suffer from blackheads?
It’s hard to specifically figure out the estimates of people with blackheads. However, in a country like India where 200-300 million of the total population suffers from acne, it can be said that blackheads are a common skin problem.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads occur when opening of the hair follicles of your skin gets clogged. Each follicle on the skin consists of one hair and a protective and oily substance known as sebum. The role of sebum is to keep the skin soft. But when dead skin cells and sebum accumulate in the opening of the skin follicle, it creates blackheads.
Risks – What increases your chances of developing blackheads?
There are several factors which can increase your likelihood of getting blackheads. These include:
- Producing excess of body oil
- Irritation of hair follicles when the dead skin cells do not wipe out regularly
- Growth of propionbacterium acne bacteria in pores and hair follicles
- Certain medications such as corticosteroids, androgens and lithium
- Hormonal changes in women during teenage years, menstruation or while taking birth control medications that causes excess of oil production
Many people have a notion that eating or drinking certain foods affect acne. They believe that carbohydrates foods that causes spike in blood glucose levels may stimulate acne. However, there is lack of evidence in this connection.
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What are the signs of blackheads?
The diagnosis of blackheads can be easily done as they are clearly visible on the skin. They are in dark color, slightly raised and are non-inflammatory like pimples. Blackheads also don’t cause pain and discomfort like pimples.
How are blackheads treated?
In order to get rid of blackheads, be prepared to put some effort as they are infamously stubborn in nature. You need immense patience and perseverance to wipe these black spots. Let’s start with the medication first.
These medications come in the form of topical gel, cream as well as cleansing pad. The main ingredients in these drugs mentioned below targets bacteria and dry the excess of oil on the skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)
If you are not satisfied with the result of over-the-counter medications, consult a dermatologist for prescribed medication. The vitamin A in these medications prevents clogging in the hair follicles. These medicines mentioned below are applied directly to the skin.
The doctor might also recommend a medication that combines benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics. This is especially helpful for those people suffering from blackheads with pimple or acne cysts at the same time.
Microdermabrasion - An instrument containing rough surface is used to sand or polish the top layers of the skin. This removes the clogs that are causing blackheads.
Manual removal – During this procedure, a special instrument known as round loop extractor is used to clear the clog causing the formation of blackheads. After making a tiny opening, the doctor puts pressure with the instrument to eliminate the clog.
Chemical peeling – In this method, the dermatologist applies a strong chemical solution on the affected region. Over the time, the top skin layers begin to peel off, uncovering the smoother skin beneath.
Laser and light therapy –This treatment involve targeting bacteria through tiny rays of intense light. During this method, both the laser and light can reach the surface of the skin and eliminate blackheads without harming the top layers.
How can we prevent the growth of blackheads?
If you don’t want to put your money in the treatment, there are other things you can try in order to prevent blackheads.
- For clearing oil buildup, wash your face regularly using a gentle cleanser after waking up and before going to bed.
- Use oil-free or non-comedogenic lotions, sunscreens, and makeup.
- Wash your hair every day especially if it’s oily. The hair oil we use can increase the chances of clogging the pores.
- Try exfoliating products such as masks and scrubs for removing dead skin cells. These products wipe out dead skin cells off your face.
If you are still in doubt, consult a dermatologist, he can guide you through a long list of dos and don’ts along with appropriate treatment.
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Blackheads – FAQs
Can I squeeze blackheads?
Do not squeeze blackheads as this can irritate skin and spread oil and bacteria on the skin, making the problem worse.
Does face products work in treating blackheads?
Facial pores and blackheads appear due to the same reason and both these occur in areas where there is abundance of oil. The facial products can work for both the problems.
Can I do makeup on blackheads?
Oil-based products can trigger blackheads, so always choose oil-free and water based products.
I have heard fast foods, chocolates and dairy products are harmful for people with blackheads – Is it true?
It is better to avoid fried and fast foods as they contain harmful ingredients such as sodium, hydrogenated oils, flavorings, chemicals, and sugar that may aggravate the growth of blackheads. Same goes for conventional dairy and chocolates, if you are sure that they are the triggers, avoid them.