A blackhead is a small blocked pore on your skin that is open at the top and is considered a mild form of acne. You have about 5 million of these pores in your skin, and found inside each is a hair follicle and an oil producing sebaceous gland. Their function is to lubricate and waterproof our skin by producing an oil called sebum and such oil producing pores are found in all mammals. Blackheads can be found in any one of these 5 million hair follicles, but most usually on the areas that produce the most oil, like the face.
So what are blackheads?
Did you know that not all those little black dots on your nose are blackheads?
Why is a blackhead black at the top?
When your skin sheds dead cells, these cells get into the follicle, mix with the waxy sebum making it thicker and plugging the pore but not closing it. As the plug is pushed nearer to the skin surface by continued oil production by the gland behind it, it oxidises and turns an increasingly greyish colour until it becomes black. The bump at the surface which is an open pore with black in the middle is known as a comedone. If the skin over the pore closes over then you get a whitehead instead.
Keep your skin clear of blackheads using steam to open up your pores and a blackhead or comedone extractor to gently easy them out. You can easily use the steam from a hot shower, put boiling water into a bowl and sit leaning over it with a towel over your head or buy a dedicated facial steamer.
Where are blackheads commonly found?
You could develop a blackhead anywhere on your body where you have a hair follicle. With 5 million hair follicles, it’s a wonder that blackhead removal is concentrated in a few specific areas. Most commonly, people are looking for ways to be removing blackheads on their face, but for many their blackhead removal issue is also found on the neck, arms, shoulders, chest and back. Curiously, the only areas it will never be a problem is on the soles of your feet and the palm of your hands as you have no hair follicles there!
I hope you know now what are blackheads and what are not!