First Aid With Blackheads

It is a regular shot every evening: after removing your make-up, check whether new black or white dots have already appeared on your nose! But how do these blackheads actually arise, and more importantly: what can you do about it? We tell you everything you need to know!

What are blackheads?

Blackheads, aka comedones, are partial or complete blockages of your pores. You know pores as those little holes in your skin! They are actually the exits of your sweat glands and the sebaceous glands that belong to your hair follicles. When your pores become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells, a black or white dot forms between one and three millimeters in size. We call this a blackhead. Blackheads usually form in your T-zone, or on your forehead, nose and chin. They are common in adolescents, but also among adults. There are two types of blackheads: blackheads and whiteheads.

Blackheads

Blackheads, or open comedones, are most recognizable by their black dots. These blackheads have a larger opening at the end of your pore, which is filled with a wad of sebum and old skin cells. When the sebum oxidizes in this accumulation, or reacts with oxygen in the air, the blackhead takes on its distinctive black color.

Whiteheads

Whiteheads, or closed comedones, look like white dots or bumps that resemble barley grains . These blackheads have a narrower opening at the end of your pore. As a result, the blockage of sebum can react less with the air, so that it does not turn black. Closed comedones therefore remain clearly visible as white accumulations.

How do blackheads develop?

Sebum is actually meant to keep your skin and hair follicle supple. This greasy substance protects your skin and hair against dehydration, bacteria and fungi. So quite handy! But an excess of sebum mixed with dead skin cells causes an accumulation or blockage in your pore. There can be several reasons for this:

  • Hormones
  • Nutrition
  • Makeup
  • Certain skin care products
  • Medical conditions and medication
  • Blackheads and hormones

Blackheads are very common among adolescents and that has everything to do with hormones. Some hormones produce larger, more active sebaceous glands, creating excess sebum. Not only does this cause blackheads, but it can also lead to an increase in the bacteria that causes acne in your pores. The emergence of blackheads in puberty often coincides with the appearance of childhood pimples. Hormonal changes before and during your period can also play a role in the development of blackheads.

Blackheads and food

Eating and drinking dairy products can also play a role in hormonal changes. For example, dairy naturally contains the male hormone androgen, which can affect your sebum production. In addition, eating sugar produces the hormone insulin, which in turn stimulates the production of growth hormones and androgens. All these hormones increase the production of sebum and inflammatory values ​​in your blood. The result: more chance of blackheads and pimples .

Blackheads and makeup

If you have blackheads, you may feel the need to camouflage them with a layer of makeup. But beware: it is precisely the use of too oily makeup that can close your pores and cause blackheads!

What Is The Difference Between Blackheads And Pimples?

Blackheads are blockages of your pores, without any inflammation. Such a blockage is an ideal breeding ground for certain bacteria that cause pimples , such as Propionibacterium acnes. When the amount of bacteria grows and the hair follicle becomes inflamed, the blackhead develops into a pimple. Thus, a blackhead can be a precursor to a pimple, but pimples can also develop without blackheads preceding them.

How can you best remove blackheads?

It is important that you do not express deep-set blackheads with your nails. This could damage the skin, leaving you with a wound prone to inflammation. Dirt and bacteria under your nails can also cause new infections. What is the best way to remove blackheads? There are several options for this:

  • Nose strips
  • Exfoliate your skin
  • With a comedone spoon
  • By a beautician
  • Nose strips

To remove your blackheads, you can use special blackhead strips. Wet the strips and stick them on your cleansed skin. After ten minutes you pull the strip loose and a lot of blackheads come along! Most people have blackheads on their nose, for which special nose strips are suitable. For example, the  Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips also contain charcoal, which removes dirt, grease and blackheads. Do you also have blackheads on your forehead or chin? The  NIVEA Purifying Clear-Up Strips  are suitable for forehead, nose and chin. Extra nice: these strips are enriched with fruit acid and deeply clean the skin!

Exfoliate your skin

To clear clogged pores, you can exfoliate your skin. This means that you remove dead skin cells with products that contain a mild acid. These acids soak blackheads, dissolve fat and sebum and remove dead skin cells. Exfoliating acids that you can use for this include:

Salicylic acid, as in  Dr. Van der Hoog Clearskin Day & Night Control 24-Hour Cream

  • Vitamin A acid
  • Fruit acid
  • Comedone spoon

You can also remove blackheads using the  Gym445 Comedone Spoon . This is a metal bar with a loop at the end that looks like a small spoon. Disinfect your comedone spoon well before using it. Then place the loop over the blackhead and apply gentle pressure. Be careful not to damage the skin or cause wounds. Remove the released blackhead with a clean cotton ball and clean your skin with cleaning products such as the Olaz 2-In-1 Cleaner & Tonic or an exfoliating product such as  Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Lotion .

Do you find it difficult to remove your blackheads yourself? Then you could also have a facial done by a beautician. He knows how to remove blackheads in a professional way.

How can I prevent blackheads?

In addition to treating the blackheads you have, it is of course also nice to know how you can prevent the development of new blackheads! You can reduce the risk of blackheads by making adjustments to your lifestyle and daily routine:

  • Eat healthy and varied and watch your sugar intake
  • Remove your makeup every night before going to sleep and clean your skin daily
  • Exfoliate your skin at least once a week
  • Use skincare products that suit your skin type

Avoid oily creams, petroleum jelly, and skin oils that can clog your pores

Unfortunately, you cannot always prevent blackheads. For example, you have little influence on them when they are caused by changes in your hormones, an underlying medical condition or the use of medication. In that case, discuss your options with your doctor.