Blackheads, What are They Anyways? 

It may not be a widely-known fact but 85% of people aged between 18 to 24 experience Acne. Chances are then that you, like myself, were one of those people or still currently are. Even though it’s pretty much unavoidable, it hinders the way we look at ourselves and the way we think others look at us, too. 

Though the one form of acne that I find to be most commonly responsible for Psychosocial damage, Blackheads.

Blackheads, the little demons, are those little ‘black dots’ either on and/or around the nose, forhead, cheeks and even other areas of the body. They come and go, they tend to bother us and some of them even linger. So, what are they?

They can also be referred to as Closed Comedones and are a darker acne that can be found primarily in milder cases. Our pores contain not only our hair follicles but also the Sebacious Glands that are responsible for producing the Sebum that protects our skin from the elements, both man-made and environmental.

BUT, when sebum is overproduced we tend to notice our pores begin to grow in size and/or clog. AND, our pores turn black once the melanin in the sebum being contained in the Plug oxidizes.

Trouble begins…

Overtime many myths have developed surrounding blackheads and what causes them versus what the truths really are. In order to better understand our enemy, let’s take a look at what actually warrants their presence and what doesn’t.

Occassionally our skin falls victim to overactive sebacious glands and we see a spike in the presence of sebum. There’s a few causes for this increase in production, especially among women: puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycle and birth control. However there are a few others factors that we should too consider as causes of blackheads:

  • Cosmetics and cleansers,
  • Heavy sweating and high humidity,
  • Dietary factors, disease and/or medication.

We now know what blackheads are and what causes them, but what about any symptoms?

Blackheads only exist through their direct appearance on the skin. Heavier cases of acne may have some irritation related to their condition but this generally isn’t the case for more common, milder cases of acne. Instead of physical annoyance what we often experience is the psychosocial effects attributed to acne, more specifically blackheads.

Neither of us are a stranger to peer pressure and the difficulties that youth sometimes face when growing up, heck even adults face it too. One key infulence in this realm is the idea of being the absolute best looking that we can possibly be; and this means clear skin with a booming complexion, right? So those of us who have had, or have blackheads are typically seen to lead a life lesser in quality because of an attained lower self-esteem and feeling of shame or embarassment. As unfortunate as this is, it has become even more difficult to overcome these pressures due to new and additional influence from social media.

However I’m here to remind us that if we should find ourselves in this predicament, there are ways to overcome the pressures by simply taking the time to care for ourselves by Indulging

To begin indulging and remedying our blackhead situation let’s first determine the extent of our acne, and my sincere hope is that it’s a mild case. Here’s the Burton Scale to help us make the determination:

Now we may not be able to count EVERY comedone on our face but we can certainly get a good idea of where our skin stands by taking a thorough look.

Once we’ve done so we can begin to treat.

My biggest suggestion would be to begin with a cleansing in the morning AND evening. There’s no need to wash our face more than that and disturb our skins’ natural state of balance, but instead take the time to find a healthy cleanser that is best suitable for your skin type; one that will also give you a deep enough cleansing.

There are some othet treatments available that require a credible evaluation and a prescription such as Benzoyl Peroxide, which works to break down the plug containing oxidized sebum. Other sources of remedy include Retinoids as well as Azelaic Acid.

Some things I do urge anyone to steer clear of are any kind of harmful extraction methods and popping treatments, as well as excessive exfoliating. It’s only going to cause more damage.

Beauty should not necessarily be pain but also devotion, education and innovation. With time and our sincere focus the results are fruitful and we can thus reduce the impacts of the psychosocial effects as outlined by our society. 

As always, reach out if you have further questions,

Let’s Talk Skin 

Stay Cleansed,

Peter. =D 

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