A blackhead is a small, black plug that forms inside the tiny holes in your skin’s (pores), blocking them. They can be formed on the skin of the face, back, arms and shoulders.
Blackheads are common in puberty can cause acne. Blackheads are formed when oil made by your skin blocks the pores. The outer dead layer of your skin then changes to become dark and solid. Blackheads will form even when you keep your skin clean.
Blackheads can be caused by:
- Clogged hair roots in your skin.
- Dead skin cells blocking skin pores.
- Excess oil in your skin around hair roots.
- Hormonal changes.
Blackheads are rarely a cause to see your doctor. Only if you experience severe acne should you visit your healthcare provider for assessment and possibly treatment.
- Wash your face before bed and when you get up.
- Use alcohol-free skin products.
- Shampoo oily hair regularly.
- Avoid squeezing, picking and popping blackheads.
- If you suffer from acne avoid the sun as it could make the condition worse.
- Reduce how much you touch your face and try not to pick at the blackheads.
- Ensure that you eat a balanced diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink a lot of water. Skincare begins from the inside. When you are well hydrated, your skin will maintain itself.
- Wash your face with mild soap and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- Try going makeup-free for a while. Use only moisturizers that do not contain oil and do not cause allergies.
- Only introduce mild cleansers that are gentle and do not dry your skin. You may try over-the-counter (OTC) salicylic acid, but be careful to use it only few times a week, as it may cause irritation to your skin.
- If the blackheads are persistent, your healthcare provider may refer you to a skin specialist.
- Your healthcare provider can recommend skin treatments such as azelaic acid, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
- If you have multiple skin problems, your healthcare provider may prioritize the treatment of the most severe condition.
- You may be given an antibiotic to prevent infection of your pores.
- Your healthcare provider may recommend a procedure to remove the upper layer of the skin and unblock your pores.
Teenagers and young adults who experience scarring of their skin may also experience depression. Speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns if you have experienced any symptoms of depression.