Do you have small, darkened or black spots on your pores, especially within the T-zone? Are these accompanied by oily skin, enlarged pores, and blemishes? If so, you probably have blackheads. These are a mild type of acne that commonly occurs on the face, particularly on the nose and chin.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are a form of non-inflammatory acne. Also referred to as open comedones, these small black spots form when the skin’s hair follicle becomes clogged. Blackheads don’t cause redness, swelling, or pain, but they can be as bothersome as inflamed blemishes or other types of acne.
Open comedones form when something clogs or plugs the opening of the hair follicles. Excess oil and dead skin cells can accumulate in the follicle’s opening, causing a bump on the skin’s surface. If the skin over this bump stays closed, a whitehead forms. If it opens, however, it becomes exposed to air, forming a blackhead.
What makes blackheads black?
Many people often mistake blackheads for trapped dirt. The thing that makes them dark or black, however, is oxidation. Exposure to air oxidizes the substances trapped in the follicle’s opening, which turns them black, resulting in blackheads. So, in short, blackheads are a combination of oxidized oil and dead skin cells.
Other factors can also increase your risk of having acne and blackheads. These include:
- Excess sebum or oil on the face and body
- Accumulation of P. acnes bacteria on the skin
- Hormonal fluctuations or changes (that cause an increase in sebum production)
- Irritation of the hair follicles
- Taking certain medications (lithium, androgens, or corticosteroids)
How can I get rid of blackheads?
There are a number of ways to improve blackheads. Many of them are also used to treat acne or enlarged pores.
OTC (over-the-counter) products
Look for acne medications or those that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients reduce excess sebum, help the skin shed dead skin cells, and kill bacteria. OTC products are available in creams, gels, or toners that you can apply directly to your skin
If OTC products have little to no effect, you can benefit from a prescription-strength medication. Retinol or tretinoin is one common recommendation, as it helps promote rapid cell turnover and clear clogged pores. Your skin or aesthetic doctor may also prescribe other types of medication like topical antibiotics.
If your blackheads bother you, a manual removal done by a dermatologist or skin care professional can benefit you. This is performed by using a special instrument called a comedone extractor. It has a small opening in the tip that can push the contents of the pore to the surface, removing the plug of the blackhead.
Clay or charcoal mask
Clay masks help absorb sebum and dirt trapped in your pores, which can then improve blackheads. Charcoal masks, meanwhile, cleanse pores and help reduce blackheads by drawing out excess oil. Some masks also combine charcoal and (kaolin) clay for clearing congested pores and balancing out your skin.
These strips help remove dirt and other impurities from your pores. Pore strips act like a magnet, which lifts oil and dead skin buildup. Some pore strips, however, can also remove hair follicles and natural oils, which can dry out and irritate your skin.
At Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, we have a number of treatments that can treat acne and blackheads. These procedures can also reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and improve both the tone and texture of your skin.
- Hydra dermabrasion – is a three-part facial treatment that involves cleansing, exfoliation, and infusing the skin with formulated serums. It uses the power of water and oxygen to exfoliate the skin and extract impurities.
- Clarifying Medical-Grade Facial with Sapphire – uses the Sapphire Blue Light, which clears inflammation and kills acne-causing bacteria. It also involves gentle extraction for clearing the pores of blackheads and pimples.
- VI Peel Purify – is specifically formulated for reducing comedones and treating acne and acne-related concerns. It kills P. acne bacteria, increases cellular turnover, and soothes redness and inflammation.
- Anti-Acne Peel – uses a high yet safe concentration of chemical peel for clearing out pores. It can kill bacteria, unclog pores, and reduce acne. It is suitable for those with mild and moderate acne vulgaris on the face, neck, and back.
Schedule a consultation
Blackheads and clogged pores can give your skin a dull and older appearance. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore and schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to determine which aesthetic treatment suits you best.