Blackheads are basically the opposite of beauty marks. Those dark dots on your nose make you look worse than you want to, and your self-confidence dips thanks to this dermatological dilemma.
You try to practice proper skin care, but the critters still crop up. Getting up close and personal with others is dreadful, and all your photos are sad reminders of your speckled skin. You see celebs looking picture-perfect, but you look like you’re still in puberty. Even “The Biebs” feels for you...and he starred in a Proactiv commercial. With A-list acne treatment, the stars are “just like us.”
Why do you get these unsightly spots? Even if you don’t get “regular” pimples or big breakouts, or even have acne-prone skin, these suckers show up on your shnoz and mess with your mojo. Here’s why they appear and how to get ‘em gone.
What The F Are Blackheads?
According to Healthline, blackheads bust out due to clogged hair follicles - basically oil (sebum) and dead skin cells contribute to the clogging. They are dark because the air hits the goo and gunk that’s lodged inside. Oxygen does some odd things.
And just when you thought you looked bad, now you’re grossed out by your own body. Those with oily skin see them more, but really anyone is susceptible.
Blackheads are medically referred to as “open comedones” (a whitehead is a “closed comedone”).
“Face” The Facts
While you probably only notice the blackheads around your nose, that’s not the only place they pop up.
You may get blackheads on your back, neck, shoulders, or chest (shave your chest hair if you’re curious, you never know what’s lurking under that “carpet”), even your arms. Long sleeves have never been more fashionable...or functional. Too bad your turtleneck doesn’t cover your entire head.
Fixing The Funk
You’re not doomed, at least not in the dermatological sense. There are remedies, and they can work well.
First and foremost, stop squeezing your skin. You’ll just aggravate the issue, causing irritation and the potential for pimples to pop up. Fill your void by watching those nasty YouTube pimple popping videos if you need your fill.
There are medications and topical solutions which include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, beta-hydroxy-acids, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol your dermatologist can recommend, even over-the-counter creams that can curb the crud. They work by killing bacteria and managing excess oil production.
When you see your dermatologist, they can manually extract some of the “super” blackheads, using a sterile round loop extractor to get the clogs cleared. It’s strangely satisfying, to say the least.
Try to exfoliate the skin, which can help with cell turnover as well by removing a layer of skin during the exfoliating process. Even those nifty pore strips can prove powerful. Go for a full face mask if you’re feeling fancy. Just be sure to select skin care products for oily skin, like a clay mask, for instance...one that won’t clog pores. A full-on chemical peel may sound extreme, but for major cases, it can help. We’re not talking a lone zit here.
You Are Not Alone
As Medical News Today reports, about 50 million people in the U.S. alone are affected by blackheads. Not exactly a group you want to start a fan club for, but at least it’s comforting to know you’re not the only one with a less-than-perfect complexion.
Get over the idea that your skin is “dirty,” and understand your hygiene generally has little to do with your blackheads.
That said, clean your skin as recommended by your dermatologist (or at best, use common sense). Your doc may suggest specific soaps or cleansers that reduce oil and won’t strip your skin of moisture.
Clearer skin is on the horizon with a well-rounded skincare routine. You’re not stuck with them forever if you follow your dermatologist’s advice.