What Causes Blackheads?
Knowing how they are caused can give you an informed prevention plan. They develop when hair follicles or pores become plugged with excessive sebum, the oil that is found naturally in the skin, and dead skin cells. Combine this with the normal, daily dust and dirt your exposed skin receives. This concoction now gets oxidized and that creates the dark color of blackheads.
These are the steps to help prevent them from returning:
- Twice daily cleansing. As you sleep your skin releases oils so an am cleansing gives your skin a clean and fresh start to the day. During the day your skin picks up bacteria, pollutants and other debris, not including makeup. It’s important to cleanse your skin of these things at the end of the day, especially for women who wear make-up. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to do this properly. When cleansing, always use warm water with a gentle facial cleanser that is oil free, avoiding bar soaps or cleansers that contain fragrances or other irritants. You may even need to wash/rinse/repeat at night for a deeper clean.
- Consistency in exfoliation is not to be ignored. Exfoliation helps act like a broom that sweeps away anything still clinging to your skin, clogging your pores. Some good examples are:
- Rentinoids (Retin-A, tretinoin, tazorac). These are the best products to even the outer layer of skin by working on receptors in the skin to improve the way skin grows and sheds so that it is less likely to form acne. See your doctor or dermatologist for these products.
- Products with AHAs and BHAs. Salicylic and Glycolic Acid: These two work well together to break down oil in clogged pores. Again, its consistent use will prevent the blackheads before they form and help clear existing pores.
- Mechanical exfoliants, including Clarisonic, microdermasbrasion, scrubs with beads for removing dead skin, and wash cloths especially designed for facial use. Use only gentle exfoliating products with small grains, as rough scrubs may irritate your skin or cause it to tear. If you experience redness or irritation, reduce the frequency of exfoliation.
- Keep your hands off your face. You’re depositing bacteria and dirt that clog your pores. Another way to prevent blackheads is to keep your hair away from your face, because hair can also carry dirt and bacteria as well as have excess hair product chemicals. It is recommended that you wash your hair daily and keep it away from your face.
- Regular exercise or use of a sauna promotes circulation of nutrients and sweating which promotes removal of waste.
- Internal care of your skin shouldn’t be forgotten. Keeping hydrated is important and be sure to increase your fresh veggie and fruit in your daily meals.
- Do not squeeze blackheads and pick at your skin. These actions increase inflammation making your skin more prone to blackheads that you’re trying to prevent. If not done properly, you risk scars or broken capillaries that will leave permanent discoloration on your skin. See an esthetician or a dermatologist for proper removal.
- Avoid oil based make ups. There are many non-comedogenic mineral based make ups on the market today that help to absorb the extra oils your face can produce.
Once you’ve consulted our skin care professionals and found a system that works for your particular skin, stick with it. Make your skin care routine and you’ll have skin that radiates.