Blackheads, or open comedones are a type of acne characterised by small bumps embedded in the pores of skin. In this condition, the surface of the skin remains open, hence the name open comedones. You may want to know that in open comedones, the surface of the plug lodged in the follicle is black in colour due to melanin, and not dirt.
Closed comedones, on the other hand, refer to whiteheads, in which the sebaceous follicles are completely blocked.
So what can be we do about blackheads?
SQUEEZING Start by steaming your skin for several minutes to loosen the pores, then press each blackhead gently. If a blackhead refuses to come out despite gentle pressure, stop at once as extra force will not help. In fact, it may lead to an infection if your hands are not clean. A better option is to use an extractor. For your information, there are conflicting opinions about the squeezing out of blackheads.
EXTRACTING A blackhead extractor is a metal wire with a loop at one end (you may have seen it if you have been for a facial). Blackheads can be removed individually with an extractor, but the procedure has to be done with extreme care to prevent scarring.
EXFOLIATING Exfoliating gels remove dead skin cells, thus preventing blackheads in the first place. Use a gentle exfoliator that is designed for your skin especially if your skin is sensitive, and follow the instructions carefully. Do not over-exfoliate for an unwanted blackheads free face!
BLACKHEAD REMOVAL STRIPS These strips provide a temporary solution by removing surface blackheads, most commonly from the nose. The strips are placed on the nose and pulled off after about 10 minutes. There are some strips that can be placed on the forehead and chin as well. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before use.
DIET Eating the right foods may help in the long run. Drink lots of water and include plenty of fruits of vegetables in your diet. Steer clear of foods that are high in saturated and trans-fats. Your skin, and your heart will definitely will thank you!
COSMETICS Use products that say 'non-comedogenic' on the label as they will not clog your pores. Invest in a good makeup remover, and follow it up by cleansing, toning and moisturising your skin. Wash your makeup applicators thoroughly after use for a blackhead free face!