Blackheads Causes Treatment

Blackheads: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Blackheads can mar your skin’s visual appeal. The small and dark lesions can appear on your face or neck. It is one of the symptoms of mild acne. But, you can develop it without the presence of acne. It is also called as zit and contains the oxidized form of melanin. Melanin is the dark pigment produced by your skin cells. Zit is a common problem many people face. In most of the cases, people tend to handle the issue at home with some easy technique. A visit to skincare professionals (beauty salons) can also handle the problem in the right way. Never ignore the problem and manage it properly to prevent complications.

What Are Blackheads?

Blackheads The small bumps with a dark or black surface are known as blackheads. It appears on your skin (mostly face or neck) due to clogged hair follicles. It is the common sign associated with mild acne. The condition can appear on other body parts like:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Arms
  • Neck
  • Shoulders

The problem is common among people across the globe. So, it is not restricted to any specific race, ethnicity or gender.

Causes Of Blackheads

Flawless skin is the dream of all people. But, this problem can blemish the beauty of your skin. Blackheads are one of the problems that affect your facial skin. It develops when a plug or clog develops in the opening of hair follicles on the skin surface. Each follicle on the skin contains one hair as well as the sebaceous gland. The gland is responsible for producing an oil called sebum that keeps the skin moisturized and soft. But, when the dead skin cells and oil collect inside the opening of the skin follicles, it can result in comedo. It is the bump that can stay open or closed. If it remains closed, then it is called whitehead. If the skin over the bumps opens, then it can result in the formation of blackheads. When the bump opens, the exposure to air makes it look black. Not all experience the problem. The risk factors that make you susceptible to the problem are:

  • When your body produces too much oil
  • The accumulation of P. acnes (Propionibacterium acnes) bacteria on the skin surface
  • Irritation of hair follicles caused when dead skin cells fail to shed regularly
  • Experience hormonal changes leading to excess oil production (in teen years during menstruation or while taking birth control pills)
  • Taking certain medications like androgens, lithium, corticosteroids

Some scientists believe there is an association between what you eat or drink and the development of acne. Diary and certain food like carbohydrates can increase blood sugar levels. It plays a part in triggering acne. So, you need to watch what you eat.

Symptoms of Blackheads

How can you determine the presence of blackheads on your skin? It is simple. As the name suggests, it is the black spot that appears on the skin. Here are the features that make it easy to identify:



It is small in size. The dark lesion has a raised texture. But, they are flatter compared to pimples.


The non-inflammatory zits are not infected. So, it causes no pain or discomfort like pustules or pimples.


While pimple form due to the bacterial invasion in the hair follicles. It can lead to inflammation and redness. But, blackheads are the symptoms of acne, developed due to the open pores. Zits can change your appearance. It can cause embarrassment. So, you tend to shy away from social gatherings, which can lead to physiological difficulties. You can take appropriate steps to deal with the problem and eliminate it completely.

Diagnosis Of Blackhead

You rarely visit a dermatologist or skin care specialist to deal with blackheads. In most cases, people seek assistance when they suffer from severe acne. The diagnosis needs no specific tests as it is easy to identify the problem based on its appearance.

Do’s And Don’ts While Managing Blackheads At Home

Home remedies are the first step in managing zit. In the majority of cases, people tend to handle it by themselves without seeing a doctor. Some activities can make the problem worse or lead to the development of severe acne. Several false information linked to handling the problem exists. So, you need to weed out the wrong information and follow the correct guidelines to treat the condition.

Do’s Of Handling Blackheads

As each person is different, one method that suits for one individual may not work well for the other. It is best to check what works well for you and continue it. The things you can follow while managing zit are:

Use Cleansing Products

You can use special scrubs that gently cleans and exfoliates your face. Facial skin is more sensitive compared to the rest of the body. So, you need to choose a product that causes no problem for your skin. Select fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products. Avoid products that make your skin dry. To avoid zit, it is important to control oil production. But, drying your skin too much can make the problem worse. It can overstimulate the oil glands and lead to extra production of sebum.

Choose Make-up And Cosmetics With Care

When you choose make-up and cosmetics, choose the ones that never clogs the pores. Find the product that keeps the pores open and clear. Therefore, opt for non-comedogenic products that never causes a build-up of oil or dead skin. If going to a store is tiresome, then you can check for such products online from platforms like Amazon.

Manage Underlying Condition

Certain skin conditions can make treating zit harder. So, of your suffer from rosacea or eczema, then try to manage the condition first. In some cases, when you manage the underlying skin condition, zits can improve on its own.

Relax And Get Rest

Stress is one of the triggers that can increase sebum production. So, you need to relax and eliminate stress. You can include some relaxation techniques and exercise to manage stress.

Check Your Food

While the evidence remains inconclusive regarding the direct link between oily foods and acne, cutting such food items will improve your skin health. So, cut out fires and chocolates from your life. Including a balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables can improve your overall health. It will also improve your immune system. So, eating a good diet will reduce the risk of developing skin lesions and the chances of infection.

Don’ts For Blackheads

While you are handling blackheads, try not to worsen it. So, you need to maintain caution. The following activities can make the problem worse:

Hormonal Fluctuation

Hormonal changes in your body can trigger changes, including zit development. While you cannot control hormone fluctuation, you can certainly prevent the factor that increases the risk or make the condition worse.

Avoid Squeezing

Many YouTube videos may suggest squeezing zit or pimples. But, it is not as safe as it sounds. Using a tool to remove zit requires skill and practice. Without good practice, it can cause irritation or injury to the skin. Instead of making the problem worse, try to stay clear of such methods.

Refrain From Steaming

While steaming is suggested to open the pores and clear skin issues, no evidence suggests the effectiveness of the method. Some people who have taken a steam bath experience worsening of the problem. Therefore, stay away from steaming when you suffer from pimple or acne.


51d14TJfYqLWhile scrubbing your face can remove dead skin cells and oil deposits, it can make the problem worse for people with zits. Sebum is removed during scrubbing. So, to replace the removed sebum, the sebaceous glands work harder. It can result in the blocking of pore and developing inflammatory acne.

Use Removers With Caution

Removal strips or masks can remove zit. You can also use a vacuum to eliminate the problem. But, these methods require caution while you use them. The risk of irritating and damaging the surrounding skin is high when you misuse them.

Choose Cosmetics And Makeup With Care

The products you use on your face can affect skin quality. So, try to choose any product for the face with care. Try to avoid oil-based skin care and makeup products as they can do more damage.

Environmental Triggers

Environmental factors can affect your facial skin. You can experience a change in your skin and develop skin problems due to the following triggers:

  • Exposure to a humid environment
  • Wear tight clothes that close the skin off
  • Skin products containing alcohol that dry out or tighten the skin

Avoid Use Of Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

It is the product recommended for severe acne. Using it can reduce the severity of acne outbreaks. But, the harsh product can harm your skin. It causes irritation and dryness of your skin. So, use it only after consulting a dermatologist. If the pros outweigh the cons, then you can use it. Else, find other products to handle your skin problem.

Treatments For Blackheads

In most cases, people get treatment for blackheads when it worsens. You tend to see a dermatologist only after the acne worsens and becomes infected. Without proper care, the zit can become severe like pimples. With a skincare specialist, you can remove the skin problem and avoid the bothersome consequences. When you see a skin specialist, you can access the following treatment options:

Over-the-counter (OTC) Treatments

You can get acne medications available online or at drug/grocery stores. These medications are available without prescriptions. The medications to treat acne is available in gel, cream or pad form. So, you can apply the medication directly to the affected skin. Check the ingredient list for ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and resorcinol. The ingredients are effective in removing the skin problem as they kill bacteria, force shedding of dead skin cells, dry excess oil, etc.

Prescription Medications

In some cases, people suffering from zit cannot see visible changes with over-the-counter treatments. In such cases, your doctor can suggest stronger prescription medications. Medications containing Vitamin A help avoid acne. It keeps plugs from forming in the hair follicles. So, it promotes the rapid turnover of skin cells. You can opt for medications like adapalene, tazarotene or tretinoin to get relief from the problem.

Your doctor can also prescribe other types of medication to treat the skin problem. Topical medication with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide as well as antibiotics can control infection caused due to acne. It is specifically prescribed for people who have acne cysts or pimples along with zit.

Manual Removal

Manual Removal

Specially trained skin care professionals and dermatologists use a special tool to extract zits. The instrument called comedones extractor or round loop extractor removes the plug that causes the development of the blackhead. The tool is also used to remove whiteheads. The loop of the metal tool is placed around the zit. Then, the doctor applies pressure firmly with the extractor. The gentle pressure removes the clog. The even pressure applied by the trained professional will force all the contents in the zit. But, it never hurts the surrounding skin.

To use the tool, you need to learn the rules of extraction. So, only a trained professional can perform the procedure safely and correctly. Only good knowledge about extraction can help unclog the pores and offer benefits for your skin. But, without following proper procedure, it can hurt your skin instead of helping it. Therefore, always find a good professional to perform the extraction.


A skincare professional or doctor uses a special tool or instrument for microdermabrasion. The special instrument has a rough surface that is designed to mechanically remove dead skin. It sands the top layers of the skin, which aids in the removal of clogs causing zits. It improves blood circulation and removes sebum. Sebum refers to the oily substance that causes spots from the pores. Depending on the severity of the problem, your doctor can choose the grade of crystal on the instrument and the vacuum suction percentage. The types vary from diamond tip microdermabrasion to different crystal grades. But, it depends entirely on your doctor on the choice of equipment to remove zit.

Chemical Peels

You can also undergo chemical peels to get rid of the dead skin cells and remove clogs that contribute to the skin problem. During a peel, a chemical is applied to the skin. The strong chemical solution can peel the top layer of the skin. It blisters and reveals smooth skin. While you can access mild peel over-the-counter, the stronger peel is available only with dermatologist or skincare professionals. The chemical solutions like salicylic acid, lactic acid, trichloroacetic acid, glycolic acid or phenol (carbolic acid) are applied on your face.

You can feel a small amount of discomfort while undergoing the process. The acid can cause a burning sensation. It only lasts for five to ten minutes. Then, you feel a stinging sensation. In order to ease the stinging feeling, you need to put a cold compress on the skin. The dermatologist may prescribe pain medication during or after a chemical peel of a deeper level.

Laser And Light Therapy

Laser and light therapies are also effective in removing blackheads. It uses tiny beams of intense light on the skin surface. It will kill bacteria or decrease oil production to manage the problem. The laser and light beam reaches below the surface of your skin. So, it can treat different skin problems, including acne without causing any damage to the top layers of your skin.

The treatment removes excess dead skin as well as oil from clogged pores. It is an FDA approved treatment option that is effective in removing other problems of skin like whiteheads, pimple or others. The treatment is effective when done by a skilled dermatologist.

Preventing Blackheads

You can prevent skin problems by following some remedies. The simple yet effective steps can prevent skin problems and keep your skin flawless. It does not cost more as all the steps are easy to follow at home.

Wash Face Regularly

Washing your face two times a day can remove the dirt and excess oil from your face. So, try to wash after waking up in the morning and before going to bed. It will remove the excess buildup in the face that can cause skin problems. Using a gentle cleanser can clear the skin by removing dirt and oil from the skin. Washing more than twice a day can irritate the skin. It makes the skin problem worse. Use cleansing products that are mild and have antibacterial properties. It helps kill bacteria causing acne or other issues. Also, wash your face after eating oily food like fries or pizza. The oil from the food can clog pores and cause skin problems.

Shampoo Hair


You need to wash your hair with shampoo. It is specifically true for people with oily hair. Hair oils can contribute to clogged pores. So, use a clarifying shampoo to remove dirt and oil buildup from hair.

Use Oil-Free Products

Always read the ingredients list before using it on your skin. Oil-free products are ideal to manage skin problems. So, try to opt for noncomedogenic makeup products, oil-free lotions, and sunscreen to avoid skin problems from becoming worse.

Exfoliate Your Skin

Your skin naturally gets rid of dead skin cells. It is to make room for new cells. The process happens every thirty days or so. But, most of the time, dead skin cells may not shed completely. Exfoliation is the process of removing such dead skin cells from the skin surface. It prevents the accumulation of dead skin cells that leads to dry, flaky patches or clogged pores. You can use granular substances to exfoliate your skin. To keep your face clear from dead skin cells, use exfoliating masks or scrubs. It also removes zit. Always opt for a product that causes no irritation to your skin.


Looking good is essential to increase your self-confidence. Skin problems like blackheads pose a big challenge in maintaining flawless skin. It is an infuriating problem to deal with. Many people search for an effective method to get rid of the problem once and for all. But, the suckers tend to pop up immediately after you banish them. The clogging of dead skin cells and sebum can lead to skin problems. You have various options to manage the issue. While some require patience, others need professional skills to remove them without spreading bacteria. Some methods may not work well for your skin. Therefore, see a skin care specialist and get to know the right method to manage them without exacerbating the issue.

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