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A blackhead (technically known as an open comedo ) is a yellowish or blackish oust or clog on the skin. Blackheads is a type of acne. A blackhead happens when the trapped sebum and bacteria partly open to the surface and turn black because of melanin, the skin's pigment. It is a chronic complication that affects over 85% of adolescents and young adults. Blackheads grow in upward direction and break the skins surface. This mounted follicle and the oxidation of the dead cells, sebum, and bacteria have a black color, hence the name.

Blackheads are typically caused by heavy oil and makeup. While the contents inside may look dark, it is not dirt; the element found in these bumps mostly consists of keratin and modified sebum. Since skin pores are open to the air, the top part of the obdurated sebum or oil oxidizes, turning black. This black top of the oil plug is then forced closer to the surface of skin by the oil hardening underneath it. This then causes the blackhead to be visible. Teenagers and people in their early twenties suffer most from them, but even those who are in their thirties and forties can still have them too, particularly those with oily skin.

Blackheads are almost ornery to prevent because of the ability of skin to constantly produce oil and regenerate skin cells rapidly. A specific bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes multiplies in this trapped sebum and causes a tiny infection. This results to inflammatory blackhead, or red bumps and pustules. It is not dirt and can not be cleared away. Blackheads can last for a long time as the contents very slowly drain to the surface.

Blackheads commonly occurs in people during their teenage years and their 20s. However, it is not restricted to this age. Older adults and children can also have blackheads. They are most common in teenagers but can occur at any age, even in infants. Treatment for blackheads depends on the severity of the condition. Pore strips are a great product solution for removing blackheads because they help remove the debris. Pore strips also have some drawbacks.

Causes of Blackheads

The common causes and risk factor's of Blackheads include the following:

  • Excess oils that have accumulated in the sebaceous gland 's duct.
  • Use of products/makeup (foundations, sunscreens, and moisturizers ) which may have too much oil.
  • Activity of normal skin bacteria.
  • Improper cleansing routine, facial oil not being removed.
  • Use of low quality facial cleansing products.
  • Blockage of pores.

Symptoms of Blackheads

Some sign and symptoms related to Blackheads are as follows:

  • Painful red swelling.
  • Flaky skin.
  • Facial blemishes, or a flushed appearance, perhaps with redness around the nose.
  • Coarse and moldy skin.
  • A small, boil-like infection around a hair shaft or oil gland.
  • A few noninflamed blackheads or a moderate number of small, mildly irritated pimples.
  • Pustules, which are red, inflamed, infected plugged oil glands, sometimes filled with pus.

Treatment of Blackheads

Here is list of the methods for treating Blackheads:

  • Use of exfoliants such as Beta Hydroxy Acid (salicylic acid).
  • Using gentle water based cleansers and skin exfoliating products, along with avoiding bar soap, is one of the best methods to treating and preventing blackheads for recurring.
  • Treatment may involve lotions or gels applied on blemishes or sometimes entire areas of skin, such as the chest or back (topical medications).
  • Using a steel blackhead remover tool known as a comedo extractor.
  • A warm compress of water applied to the area of the blackhead followed by a very, very gentle pressure can help in clearing the clog from the pore.
  • Oral medications, such as antibiotics, may be prescribed.
  • In cases of severe recalcitrant nodular acne , by the use of the drug Accutane (isotretinoin).
  • Hormonal medications like oral contraceptives.