Although blackheads are a common form of acne and can affect anyone, studies show that black people may be more prone to them than other ethnicities. The problem also seems to affect women more than men. The good thing is that it is perfectly possible to get rid of blackheads and prevent them from coming back.
What are blackheads?
Blackheads are a type of acne caused by the buildup of oil, debris, and dead skin cells. It is more likely to affect people with oily skin and can be found where you produce a lot of oil, such as on the nose.
What causes blackheads?
While blackheads are usually the result of excess oil and dead skin cells, their cause can be more complex depending on where they form.
Generally, your skin secretes oil from its sebaceous glands and many of these are connected to your hair follicles. When one of these glands or follicles becomes inflamed, a blackhead is likely to form.
Factors such as excessive oil production, abnormal presence of proteins, keratin, higher levels of androgens and increased bacteria on the skin can also cause blackheads to form.
Whiteheads versus blackheads
The main difference between whiteheads and blackheads is their structure. Blackheads are open comedones while whiteheads are closed and covered with a thin layer of skin. Also, whiteheads are generally considered an inflammatory form of acne and blackheads are not.
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How do blackheads form?
When oil, debris, and dead skin cells build up in your pores, the result is a blackhead. This type of acne gets its characteristic dark color from oxidation. Since the pore remains open, the plug that forms from the combination of excess oil and skin discolors.
Do blackheads go away on their own?
Blackheads may go away on their own if they are close to the surface of your skin. Some blackheads go a little further and are likely to get worse if left untreated.
It may be tempting to try squeezing them, but that usually only produces scars. You also run the risk of