Blackheads are unsightly and can appear on anyone’s skin, whether they suffer from other forms of acne or not. They typically appear on the nose, forehead, chin, back and chest but can appear just about anywhere on the body. There is no way to eliminate the possibility of developing blackheads but there are some things which can be done to help keep them as minimal as possible. In order to effectively treat and prevent them, it is important to know what causes them. The following information will be helpful in understanding a little bit about blackheads and what can be done to remove them.
What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads are one form of acne vulgaris. They are caused by build up of dirt and oil in which a yellowish or black thick keratin substance clogs the opening of the pores. They are usually not raised but rather lie flat and appear as a dark or black spot in the pore. When they are removed they are hard and bulb shaped. Improper removal of blackheads can lead to other more undesirable effects such as infection which can result in a severe acne breakout. For this reason, proper hygiene, cleansing and care are vital in terms of blackhead prevention and removal.
There are a number of facial cleansing products on the market which are designed to clean skin and help clear pores. Keep in mind that cleansing your face with the wrong product can do even more damage than good. Never use harsh soaps and always pay attention to the label. Some products are made for oily skin and some for dry skin. While you may think that blackheads are only found in people with oily skin, this is not always the case. There are even people who have combination skin, meaning their face is dry in some spots and oily in others. Use a product that is gentle and hypoallergenic to cleanse your face. Wash once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once before bed.
Exfoliating can help rid the skin of dead skin cells that can help clog pores. Keeping your face properly exfoliated can help prevent dirt and oil build up thereby minimizing the appearance of blackheads. Remember to use exfoliating products which have been designed for the area of your body you are treating. For example, if your blackheads are on your face, stick to facial exfoliates. A mildly abrasive facial cleansing pad may be used but remember not to scrub too hard as this can cause irritation and even infection in people who have skin problems. There are also a number of facial cleansing creams that have tiny abrasive beads designed for exfoliation; these are also a good choice.
Proper Sanitation and Blackhead Removal
Do not, under any circumstances, pick at blackheads with dirty hands. While it may be tempting to squeeze them out, doing this could make matters worse unless you have properly sanitized and prepared the skin. Hands and fingernails are loaded with bacteria. Many people make the mistake of standing in front of a mirror and squeezing blackheads out without taking the necessary precautions. Not only is this bad in terms of germs but it also causes enlarge pores, which not only look unattractive but also allow even more dirt in. This is why proper blackhead removal is so important.
Using Your Hands to Remove Blackheads
Before attempting to squeeze your blackheads out with your hands there are several things which should be done. The first and most important is that your hands should be fully sanitized. Wash your hands with warm (as warm as you can stand) water for at least 2 minutes. Use a surgical scrub brush for under your finger nails and make sure you clean them thoroughly. Prepare your face by standing over a gentle steam for a few minutes; this will open the pores allowing the blackheads to emerge much easier, causing less trauma to your pores. There are facial spa products which can be used prior to blackhead removal. These are machines which release steam as you hold your face over them. If a simpler method is desired, you may boil a pot of water and stand over the steam with a towel over your head. Be sure not to get too close to the steam as this could cause serious burns.
Blackhead Removal Products
Blackhead removal masks and strips are sold in most pharmacies or other stores which sell skin care products. These work by drawing the impurities out of the pores. This method of blackhead removal is preferred over squeezing them out as this will not cause any sort of trauma to the skin. To use these products, cleanse your face well and follow the steam suggestions listed above. It is not necessary to use steam with these products but it may help get the more imbedded blackheads to come loose.
Choose Moisturizer Carefully
Once you have completed the blackhead removal process, no matter which method you use, make sure you use some sort of moisturizer. Be absolutely sure the moisturizer you use is oil free, otherwise the effects could be clogged pores once again. They sell a series of facial moisturizers which are not made with oils and absorb into the face easily. These are much better than greasy facial creams that do not allow your skin to breathe. One way to be able to tell if your moisturizer is allowing your face to breathe properly is to determine whether your face sweats after you put the cream on. Moisturizers that clog pores will make your skin feel coated and the result is usually small sweat beads around the chin and nose.
Blackheads are not uncommon and almost everyone has a few located in various spots on their bodies. While they are not quite as troublesome as their cousins (white heads), they are a nuisance and can easily turn into large infected pustules if not removed. A large imbedded blackhead can be seen as an imposter from the body, in which case puss is formed and the body attempts to expel the foreign body. When this happens, a white head usually forms and the area will become swollen and sore. Removing blackheads before this process can occur is highly recommended.