We’ve all had them at some point in our lives, pesky little black dots on the surface of our nose, forehead, chin, and cheeks that we desperately just want to squeeze out.  While blackheads aren’t as serious as other forms of acne, such as pustules, nodules, or cysts they can be unpleasant and unsightly.  The frustration with blackheads has led to many questions about what they are, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them. The good news is that they can be treated and controlled!

“What is a blackhead? And why do we get them?”

Blackheads can be triggered by hormones, medications, genetic disposition, some cosmetics and even skin and hair products.  They are a result of oil glands in the skin overworking and producing too much sebum (natural oils). The excess sebum, along with dead skin cells clogs the pores and hair follicles.  As the pores become exposed to the air, oxidation takes place and darkens the surface, resulting in its black appearance.

“How do I get rid of them?”

Blackheads need to be extracted from the pore by a licensed esthetician who has had proper training.  Attempting to extract them on your own can lead to bruising, broken capillaries, hyperpigmentation, scarring, and the introduction of bacteria into the pore, possibly leading to infection. Other treatment options include prescription medications containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur.

“How do I prevent them?”

Consistency equals Prevention; try to be consistent with your daily skin care routine. Cleanse, tone, moisturize and most importantly remove all makeup before bed.

Maintaining a routine at home is the best defense in preventing blackheads.