Types of acne
Blackheads are a type of comedonal acne.
What can spoil your morning more than a stubborn zit staring you right in the face? Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that affect almost everyone at some point in their life, including teens and adults.
Acne results when the tiny hair follicles present on the skin get blocked by oil or dead skin cells. They are not just a cosmetic concern, but also cause painful and inflamed bumps all over the face. Acne may go away on its own. However, in many cases when not treated properly, it flares up, gets infected, and even causes scarring or discolorations on the skin (macules). Acne can appear anywhere on the body, including the back, shoulders, and chest, but it is most often seen over the face.
There are several types of acne, including
Blackheads are a type of comedonal acne. They are also called open comedones. The other type of comedones is called closed comedones because it is covered by a thin skin layer on its surface.
Blackheads appear darker or black because of the oxidization of debris (oil, dirt, cosmetics, dead skin, and bacteria) inside the pores. The open pores allow the debris to come in contact with the air and react with the oxygen, thereby imparting a brownish or black color.
Blackheads generally appear on the face, typically on and around the nose. Anyone can get blackheads, but people with oily skin or those who use a lot of makeup or cosmetics are more vulnerable. Blackheads are not a sign of poor hygiene or dirt on the skin.
How to get rid of blackheads at home
Blackheads on the nose can be an annoying cosmetic concern. Here is what you can do to get rid of blackheads at home.
- Do not pick at your blackheads. Many people think that it is accumulated dirt and tend to remove it by scrubbing or pinching. Avoid that because this will worsen the blackheads and may even cause an infection.
- Use retinoids. They help unclog the pores to get rid of blackheads. Adapalene (0.1 percent) is a retinoid available over the counter. You may get retinoid oils, serums, and gels for your daily skincare routine. Try applying these regularly every night. For higher-strength retinoids, you may need a doctor’s prescription.
- Use an alpha (AHA) or beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) cleanser. They include compounds, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid citric acid, and lactic acids. They cause the skin to undergo chemical exfoliation, which means they unclog your pores without causing collateral damage to other skin cells. Some of these (salicylic acid) also have antibacterial effects and may help remove the bacteria and P acne present on the skin. These bacteria may be responsible for the worsening of your blackheads.
- Do not overdo the skincare routine. Excessive exfoliation or washing your face several times a day may further irritate and dry your skin. Dry skin tends to produce more oil, thus worsening your blackheads. Wash your face once or twice a day, particularly after exercise. Avoid the excessive use of face masks and cosmetics as well.
- Stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet. The diet should be rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Your skin is not just determined by what you externally apply to it, its health also depends on what you consume.
- Cleansers containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid are available over the counter. They may be a bit harsh for some skin types. Use a lower strength product instead, such as 2% salicylic acid or 7% glycolic acid, which can be used daily. Always do a patch test on your skin before you apply any cleanser, mask, or serum.
- Remember that oily skin needs moisturization too. Cleansing often leaves the skin dry and causes a rebound oil secretion. Look for a water-based moisturizer containing jojoba oil or tea tree extract. These work wonders for oily skin and prevents your skin from getting too oily.
- Never try to extract your comedones on your own. An improper blackhead removal technique may cause your face to develop an infection, scarring, and even more acne.
Be patient and do not try overzealous self-medication. Blackheads may take six to eight weeks to go away. Make sure you apply the products that suit your face because certain cosmetics or sunscreens may cause the skin to break out. Find the brand that suits your skin type.
If your blackheads do not go away even after two months of home treatment or if they worsen or become painful, contact a dermatologist. They may prescribe you oral medications or recommend in-office procedures, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peeling, or laser treatment.