I have been looking into what causes blackheads whilst I have been researching online this week.
As mentioned in my article, “what are blackheads?”, they certainly are not dirt or caused by dirty skin.
Blackheads actually do not start out ‘black’, when they begin, down inside the pore they are pale coloured, almost white.
So that fact straight away dispels the myth that somehow people who have blackheads do not pay enough attention to personal hygiene.
The process of turning the blackhead black is entirely down to a process called oxidation.
What causes Oxidation?
As the blackhead gets bigger inside the pore and gets closer to the surface, it gets exposed to the air. Oxidation is what occurs when the contents of the pore get exposed to oxygen in the air. It is the same process that turns an apple dark coloured if you cut it open and leave it in the air for a while.
What is a Comedone?
A comedone can be either open, or closed. A blackhead is an open comedone whereas before oxidation takes place and it has not changed colour (when it may be referred to as a whitehead), dermatologists would refer to it as a closed comedone.
Blackheads form in a skin pore or a hair follicle
Blackheads form in a skin pores (which are how the body allows perspiration to escape) or hair follicles (inside each of these, a single strand of hair grows). The reason that these ‘plugs’ can oxidise is that pores or follicles are open to the surface of your skin.
Young people may be more prone to developing blackheads because of all the extra hormone production that is going on at this time. Extra sebum (the natural oil produced by our skin) is made at this time and this can result in pores becoming clogged with the mixture of sebum and dead skin debris that forms the blackhead.
Because bacteria grow in this mixture of sebum and cells, inflammation will often result in the lining of the pore or follicle, narrowing the passageway to the skin surface. This effectively imprisons the blackhead within the follicle and is why we need to learn how to get rid of blackheads in order to remove them without causing more inflammation or even scarring.
Older people also get blackheads and in some ways, it is even more urgent to deal with these that in our teenage years. This is because the blackheads can cause oxidative damage in the surrounding skin too. Why is this relevant? When we are young, our bodies are much better at dealing with this type of damage and repair it fast. As we get older, our bodies are less good at repairing damage and so it accumulates, becoming a contributory factor to skin-aging.
How To Prevent Blackheads
Now that you know what blackheads are and what causes them, you will want to know two things, how to get rid of blackheads and how to prevent blackheads from coming back as no one wants to have open comedones on their faces – or elsewhere as they can also form on the chest and back.
For more information, take a look at the pages on this site, you should find a starting point for any information you need right there. Above the header image at the top of every page, you will find the link for the ‘site index’ where you will be able to browse a complete list of all the information on the site.
Now that you know what causes blackheads, you are just moments away from finding out how to deal with them – fast!