Blackheads are dark colored spots on the skin which result from blocked skin pores. Although these can occur anywhere on the face, they frequently occur on the nose, forehead and chin areas. Blackheads may also occur on the ears, back, chest, neck and arms. Blackheads turn up in large numbers at a location and are easily visible to the naked eye. They are unsightly, and are often difficult to hide with makeup.
Contrary to common notion, blackheads are not dirt. Hence, just scrubbing your face will not do much good in getting rid of them. Blackheads are caused beneath the skin surface and require more than just surface cleansing to be eliminated.
The causes of blackheads:
Blackheads are similar to acne, and can affect you at any age. They are caused by the clogging of hair follicles on the skin surface. The skin contains several hair follicles which possess glands that produce oil. These glands are responsible for producing sebum which softens your skin and keeps it moistened. Dead cells and excess oil production can clog these pores. As a result bumps, which are called comedones are produced. When there is a skin covering over the surface of these bumps, whiteheads are formed. On the other hand, when these bumps are open, they are exposed to the air and look black. The comedones are then called blackheads.
The formation of blackheads is accelerated when there is excessive oil production in the body. It is also caused by bacteria in the skin. Hormonal changes can result in increased sebum production. It is also caused when dead cells on the surface are not completely removed. The use of certain drugs such as corticosteroids are also linked to increased occurence of blackheads.
How to get rid of blackheads
The very sight of a blackhead may tempt you to squeeze it out, however this is the least recommended way to get rid of them. By doing so, you introduce dirt and oils from your fingers into the already irritated pores and worsen the situation. So, keep your hands off your face!
Since blackheads are caused by excessive oil production, their removal should be targetted by getting rid of the excess oil on the skin. This can be performed by acne medications, cleansers or exfoliators containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients are capable of unclogging hair follicles, thereby getting rid of the buildup that results in blackheads and whiteheads. Makeup that is not oil based would also help to a great extent.
There is an instrument called a round loop extractor which is used to extract blackheads by applying force around the centre of the opening and forcing the contents out. This removes the substances clogging the pore.
While both the above methods yield results, there are more effective methods to rid yourself of blackheads and keep them away for longer. These are Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels. Both these treatments can be performed at a skin clinic by a trained esthetician in very little time, and will yield significant results.
During microdermabrasion, a diamond tip wand is used to exfoliate the skin, while a vacuum device swiftly removes the dead cells and surface impurities. This process cleanses the skin of blackheads and smoothens out the surface in as little as twenty minutes.
The other method, chemical peels also perform a similar action on blackheads by removing the top layers of the skin and thus peeling away blackheads and whiteheads. A chemical solution is used to perform this action and during the recovery period, fresh layers of skin with tightened pores are regenerated.
Both Microdermabrasion in Sydney and Chemical peels, when performed by an expert esthetician promise excellent results and show marked decrease in the presence of blackheads and similar skin problems.