What are blackheads?
Blackheads are basically clogged pores with excess sebum (mainly excess oil created by the sebaceous glands) and dead skin cells with dirt. Blackheads look dark not because of dirt but as a result of oxidization. When the pore is open, the sebum is exposed to oxygen, which reacts and turns it into darker color, resulting in formation of a black head. People with oily skin are tend to get more of black heads because of excess of sebum stored in the pores of their skin that collects the dirt, which hardens the pores and the tip of the skin becomes black so it is called blackhead. However people with normal or combination skin may also get blackheads if they have oily skin on their nose.
What causes blackheads?
Knowing the fundamental reasons why clogged pores develop in the first place helps the control acne breakouts easier to deal with. Here are 6 common causes that commonly lead to clogged pores.
Blockage of Skin Pores
Our skin has different layers. The most superficial layer is the epidermis at the top of the skin. The skin’s epidermis is constantly shedding dead layers of skin while replenishing them with new, healthy skin cells. However, overproduction of sebum from out sebaceous glands can slow down the rate of skin cell turnover, which is critical in sloughing off dead skin cells and stopping them from becoming stuck in our pores. Otherwise, old skin can stay trapped in your pores along with excess oil and dirt leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts.
Excess Oil Production
The dermis is the next deeper layer of the skin after the epidermis. The glands in the dermis are responsible for creating your skin’s natural oil (sebum) production. During puberty, hormonal imbalances or even due to certain medications oil production can become over stimulated causing more sebum production to occur. There are just a few reasons why occasionally sebaceous glands go into overdrive mode. When this happens, it causes excess oil and dead skin cells to stick together and plug up pores.
When your body is going through hormonal imbalances, the amount of excess sebum produced can lead to an unfortunate over-stimulation that can cause excess oil, dead skin cells, dirt and grind to stick together bound like glue. These substances if left inside pores can lead to acne breakouts.
It is crucial to make sure that the skin care products you’re using are non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and are not irritating your skin. The make-up we use and our hygienic cleansing routine should not be the fault for irritating our skin and causing pimples to form in the first place. It is always ideal to see a board certified dermatologist to have your skin evaluated by a professional and to see what type of acne you may have and what the possible culprits are and then start on an effective individualized anti-acne skin care protocol.
Alcohol & Caffeine
Caffeine stimulates your oil glands activities and alcohol greatly affects sleeping patterns which means affecting your skin. Alcohol even reduces the size of your pores which leaves them even more susceptible to clogging and makes it tougher to clean them out.
When you are smoking, the particles of cigarette smoke get trapped in your skin pores, causing acne and blackheads. Smoking also inhibits effective treatment of blackheads and other skin problems. Practicing good skin care routines and avoid harmful habits are the best ways to keep skin happy and blemish-free.