Blackheads, like roaches, are the worst for this simple fact: squeezing one reveals dozens more to deal with. (How's that for a unique image?) Even if the squeeze is pleasurable in the moment, the annoyance of blackheads can wear on anyone. They simply keep going.
First and foremost, what exactly are blackheads?
Before you begin attempting to remove blackheads from your skin, it is a good idea to first understand what they are. Blackheads are simply an oxidised mixture of oil and dead skin cells that have accumulated in pores. They oxidize and turn black due to exposure to air.
A blackhead is technically known as an open comedone (and comedone is the scientific term for an acne lesion). There are two types of comedones: open (blackheads) and closed (whiteheads) (whiteheads). Blackheads are defined by a dilated opening of a hair follicle caused by an accumulation of sebum, which is oil, P. Acnes bacteria — the primary bacteria responsible for acne — and inflammation.
A blackhead is a hair follicle that has become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria to the point where it has opened up at the skin's surface. Because of the large opening, all of this gunk oxidises and turns black when it reaches the open air.
Blackheads, despite their unappealing appearance, have nothing to do with dirt. Having blackheads does not indicate that you are filthy. So, at the very least, that's encouraging. The bad news for some is that blackheads have a genetic component, which means that certain people are predisposed to developing them, though the underlying cause is unknown.
How do you remove blackheads?
When it comes to removing blackheads, or any type of acne for that matter, you have two options: do it yourself at home or see a dermatologist in Mumbai for more severe or persistent cases of acne. Of course, the best course of action for you will depend on a number of factors, but top dermatologists recommend the following over-the-counter and prescription treatments to look for.
1. For mild blackheads, use a salicylic acid scrub.
Salicylic acid should be your go-to ingredient if you have blackheads. This beta hydroxy acid helps to remove excess oil and exfoliate skin cells on the skin's surface.
What is the most effective way to apply salicylic acid? Try a gentle face scrub, which provides twice the exfoliation power and thus acts as a one-two punch against blackheads. The combination of physical exfoliation from the scrub and chemical exfoliation from the salicylic acid can help to keep pores clear.
You won't want to exfoliate with a scrub every day, though. For oily or combination skin, I usually recommend exfoliating twice a week, and once a week for sensitive skin. Use a gentle salicylic-acid cleanser instead of a scrub on days when you don't want to use a scrub.
2. Use a retinoid cream to get rid of stubborn blackheads.
Retinoids can help treat blackheads and clogged pores by decreasing the stickiness of the clogging cells and increasing the rate at which the skin turns over and regenerates. While there are numerous retinol myths floating around, the underlying truth about the ingredient is that the right percentage and regimen can completely transform your skin, including assisting in the prevention of blackheads.
Prescription retinoid creams are commonly used to treat more severe cases of blackheads. Dermatologist-prescribed retinoids, such as tretinoin, Retino-A micro, or Tazorac, can be effective.
My first-line recommendation for blackhead removal is topical retinoids.
3. In severe cases, oral acne medication may be required.
If all else fails, your skin specialist in Mumbai may advise you to take an oral medication to help clear things up. If topical medications are ineffective, medications such as birth control pills and spironolactone can effectively treat blackheads by reducing oil production. They will remove any existing blackheads and prevent new ones from forming. These medications, however, are reserved for people who have more than just the occasional blackhead; they are better suited for people with moderate to severe acne.
Spironolactone and oral contraceptives both work on a hormonal level to help reduce skin oil production.
4. Finally, don't forget to moisturise.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: moisturising is an essential part of any skin-care regimen, even if you have acne-prone skin. Why, you may ask? All of these methods have the potential to strip the skin's oils and be drying. It is critical to maintain the skin's pH balance, and moisturising allows you to continue using exfoliating products without causing irritation.
Published by Dr Niketa Sonavane