What is a comedo?
Comedones are small black and white spots that many of us have on the face, especially on the ala of the nose, the forehead, and the chin. This is where comedones are the most frequently present, but they can also be located on other area of the face and the body, creating in particular an impure skin on the surface of the back and the chest.
A comedo results only from the obstruction of a sebaceous gland. That's why the comedones are supposed to be in the places where we have the most sebaceous glands.
ALSO READ: How to Avoid Having Blackheads
Comedones and hormones
When a hormonal imbalance occurs in the body, it usually manifests as an overproduction of hormones. This hormonal change is accompanied by an overproduction of sebum which can cause an obstruction of the sebaceous glands.
This hormonal imbalance, which occurs mostly during puberty, often causes impure skin and a development of blackheads and pimples. But such hormonal imbalance can also occur at other times in life, affecting both men and women. Anyone can therefore have blackheads.
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Blackheads, what are they? What are the symptoms?
Rare are those who have not, at least once in their life, had blackheads. Having them every now and then is not a big deal, but it is less fun when you see new black dots appearing all the time on your face and the rest of your body.
A blackhead can form anywhere we have sebaceous glands, and all over our body except the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet. Therefore, we have sebaceous glands almost all over the body, both on the hairy areas and on the hairless areas.
READ ALSO: How to Avoid Getting Blackheads
Blackheads on the face
Blackheads on the face are particularly noticeable, and therefore very annoying. They usually appear in the T zone, which effectively forms a T from the forehead to the chin and passing through the nose. This is where we have the most sebaceous glands and where the skin tends to be most greasy.
Blackheads can cover the entire surface of the forehead. They can also be located on the ala or on the tip of the nose. Finally, they can cover the entire chin, but are usually present on its upper part.
While blackheads are often located in the T-zone, they can also be found on other parts of the face: on the temples, the cheeks and in the ears. It's terribly irritating, but not abnormal.
Blackheads on the body
Blackheads appear primarily where there is the greatest concentration of sebaceous glands. On the body, they are particularly present on our back and chest. But you can get them on other parts of the body: upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and other areas.
It is probably easier to hide blackheads located on the surface of the body. But when they turn into pimples, they become just as noticeable on the body as they are on the face.
There are two kinds of comedones: blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are what we think about of when we talk about comedones. They are also called "open comedones". These are small dots with a black top, located on the face and on the body, and often form in clusters. They are most often located in the skin and therefore cannot be felt by touch, but simply seen.
It is formed when the sebaceous glands are clogged. When the clogged sebum gets to the skin's surface, it comes into contact with oxygen, it oxidizes and turns black. Blackheads are therefore not a sign of a lack of cleanliness or poor hygiene. Generally speaking, impure skin, blackheads and pimples do not indicate poor cleanliness or hygiene. They are only due to an overproduction of sebum which makes the skin oily and impure.
Blackheads do not contain any bacteria. But if a bacteria attack a clogged sebaceous gland / blackhead, the blackhead can turn into an infected pimple. It is therefore essential to ensure that there are no bacteria on the skin threatening to enter the sebaceous glands.
Whiteheads are also known as microcysts or closed comedones. They are more difficult to distinguish because of their color. These are small, white, hard cysts, often located under the eyes, on the forehead, and the cheeks. If you run your finger over a white spot, you will feel a small lump in the skin. Unlike blackheads, whiteheads cannot be pierced.
Whiteheads are also due to an accumulation of sebum and dead cells: if this excess is locked under the skin and fails to get to the surface, and forms a small, white, hard pimple.
Causes of appearance of comedones
Comedones are caused by the presence of clogged sebaceous glands on the face or on the body. They therefore have nothing to do with a lack of cleanliness or poor hygiene. However, good hygiene associated with a good skin care is essential to fight comedones. The rest of this article will allow you to learn more about this topic.
Blackheads and blemished skin are a very common skin condition that affects everyone – boys, girls, men, and women.
This condition mainly affects young people during puberty, but not only. In fact, some adults suffer from it all their lives.
Excessive production of sebum
Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands from oils and dead cells. It acts sort of like the body's own moisturizer. A balanced production of sebum is therefore necessary so that the skin is not too dry or thin. But when the sebaceous glands secrete too much sebum, it builds up in the pores of the skin. They can then become clogged because the sebum cannot reach the surface of the skin and be extracted from it. This is when a comedo appears.
Excessive sebum production is usually due to overproduction of hormones resulting from hormonal imbalance. This phenomenon is encountered in particular during puberty, but it is also observed at other periods of life, for example when a woman stops using a contraceptive pill, during pregnancy or in a situation of stress (for men and woman).
Comedones are therefore a skin condition linked to a hormonal imbalance. But there are other factors that can explain why some people are more likely to have blackheads or a blemished skin.
Our genes play an important role here, and some families are more affected than others by blackheads, pimples, and impurities problems. Stress also has an influence on our hormonal production and therefore on the condition of our skin. Yet, our diet, creams, and makeup have only a limited role in the development of blackheads and impurities.
How to get rid of blackheads?
We understand all those suffering from problems related to blackheads, pimples, and impurities, and we want to find the right remedies that will allow them to overcome these issues. When you have a smooth, clean skin and a peachy complexion, it is sometimes difficult to relate to them. But when you yourself have been affected by a problem of blackheads and pimples on the face and body, you know how difficult and unpleasant it can be, and how much it can affect you daily.
Differences between blackheads and pimples
Blackheads (open comedones) can be a warning sign of pimples - red, infected pimples containing yellowish pus. But this phenomenon only happens rarely. It is only if bacteria enter the sebaceous glands or the hair follicle that blackheads can turn into pimples.
There are indeed no bacteria in a blackhead, but if they enter the sebaceous gland and come into contact with a black dot, it can become infected and produce a pimple. A blackhead is not due to any type of dirt that needs to be removed. However, it's important to use blackhead products that kill bacteria and keep your skin healthy.
Many products on the market
There are a multitude of solutions and products on the market that promise fast treatment for blackheads, pimples and blemishes. But the best advice you can give is to use your common sense to avoid ruining yourself without getting the results you were advertise.
Generally speaking, there is no magic cure that can solve the problem in a heartbeat. Therefore, it is wise to be patient. Remember our tip, which is to wash and cleanse your skin carefully to keep it clean. Always start with an anti-blackhead soap, and then moisturize your skin.
Preferably use cleansers specially designed for impure skin with blackheads and pimples. These can be classic products, or natural remedies, containing for example essential tea tree oil, known for its antibacterial properties.
Cream and ointment
You will find in pharmacies different kinds of anti-blackhead creams and ointments against impurities. If you just have blackheads, you need a remedy specially formulated to treat this problem. These are usually products containing acidic Vitamin A. But if you have infected pimples, you need an antibacterial product.
Of course, you should not wash or rub blackheads with an aggressive scrub or a hard glove so as not to attack your skin too much. But you can definitely use an exfoliating cream, or a face mask designed to fight blackheads and blemished skin.
Exfoliation allows you, by gently massaging your skin with small abrasive grains, to release dirt, grease, and dead cells. You can buy an exfoliating product (mask or cream) from a beautician. You can also buy from your pharmacist, salicylic acid which will exfoliate your skin.
When exfoliating your face, be careful not to do it more than once a week, to avoid putting too much strain on your skin. And don't forget to hydrate your skin so it doesn't dry out.
Anti-blackhead face mask
A face mask is gentler on the skin than exfoliation, but of course you don't have to do it every day.
There are many types of anti-blackhead face masks that are specially designed to fight blackheads and impurities. Do some testing to find the one that's right for you.
You can also make your mask yourself. It's a lot cheaper, and it's not as difficult as you might think. You will find many recipes for homemade face masks made with ingredients as varied as olive oil, honey, yeast, egg white, papaya, green tea, oats, cinnamon, cucumber, avocado or yogurt. We are here in the field of home remedies. Some will be effective, others will not. It's up to you to try! But be careful not to use too aggressive ingredients, the goal being to beautify your skin and not to damage it.
If you don't feel like making your own blackhead and impurity face mask, check out our face mask here.
There are special nose strips that you can apply on the nose, but also on the chin or forehead. These little strips are supposed to remove blackheads instantly.
Steam bath for the face
An old grandma remedy recommends taking a steam bath to cleanse the face. To do this, fill a saucepan with boiling water and place your face over the steam, wrapping a towel around your head. The steam will dissolve dead cells, dirt, and grease. It will then be easier to remove the blackheads if you want to. Remember to hydrate your skin after this operation.
Blackheads, pimples, acne and impurities can be treated with a laser. Laser treatment or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatment with phototherapy reduces the size of the sebaceous glands and regulates their sebum production. Finally, laser treatment can also remove any scars after an acne crisis.
Can you remove your blackheads?
When you have blackheads on your face or body, you usually can't help but to touch them! These open comedones are usually very easy to remove, and you can get rid of them by doing this. But is it wise?
You can eliminate those that are easy to remove if you take care not to damage your skin by creating lesions or scars. Also try to avoid any bacteria from getting into the pores, so your tiny blackhead doesn't turn into a huge pimple. Use a clean piece of paper or tissue for this. It is also possible to use a blackhead remover.
However, it is not recommended to try to remove white spots. You could damage your skin and cause a scar. However, you can have them removed by a beautician.
How do you avoid getting blackheads?
In general, it can be difficult to prevent and completely avoid blackheads, as this condition is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance. However, there are tips that can help prevent and treat blackheads. The best way to prevent and treat this problem is to always wash and clean your skin thoroughly.
It is essential to follow a daily skincare routine:
- Wash and cleanse your skin twice a day, morning and evening. Washing your skin helps you remove dead skin cells, excess grease, dirt, and possibly leftover makeup. This is essential if you want to fight blackheads. We recommend that you wash your face twice a day with Face Wash from Australian Bodycare, and cleanse your body with our Body Wash, both of which containing antibacterial tea tree oil.
- Cleanse your skin thoroughly. When you have washed your face, it is important to use an alcohol-free facial toner, which helps remove dirt and grease residue. Pour a little skintonic on a make-up removing disc and dab it all over the face. Our anti-blackhead skintonic is alcohol-free and gentle on the skin.
- Then moisturize your skin. It's important to wash and cleanse your skin, but you shouldn't overdo it either. This is because when you wash and cleanse your skin, you also remove some of the moisture from the skin. It is therefore just as important to rehydrate it. Choose a good moisturizer that is particularly suitable for impure skin with blackheads. Otherwise, your skin may start to produce more sebum to compensate for the lack of hydration, and your problem will be far from resolved. Australian Bodycare Face Cream is suitable for blemished and blackheaded skin and prevents bacteria from settling on the skin after application.
To complement your daily care of washing, cleansing, and nourishing your skin, you can, once a week, make a face mask or apply an exfoliating cream to clean your skin thoroughly.
Q&A on blackheads
How to remove blackheads?
There are many remedies for blackheads on the market. Some will work for you, while others will not. You can test some of them. We recommend that you first wash and cleanse your skin twice a day, then moisturize it with a good moisturizer specially formulated for blemish and blackhead skin. For example, with a good tea tree essential oil cream.
How to remove blackheads on the surface of the nose?
Blackheads on the nose are removed in the same way as those on the rest of the face and on the body. There are many products on the market, but the most important thing is to make sure you wash and clean your face well every day, and then keep it well hydrated.
How do you avoid having blackheads?
It can be difficult to avoid having blackheads because their appearance is mainly due to the existence of a hormonal imbalance. But the best way to prevent blackheads is to wash and cleanse your skin thoroughly every day, and then moisturize it.
How to remove blackheads in the ear?
It can be difficult to reach blackheads in the ear, but in principle they are removed in the same way as those on other areas of the face or the body. You can remove them but be careful in order not to damage the skin.
How to remove blackheads on the chin?
Blackheads on the chin are removed in the same way as those on the rest of the face and the body. There are many great advice and blackhead remedies on the market. The best solution is to wash and cleanse your skin carefully every day, and then hydrate it.
How to remove blackheads permanently?
To get rid of blackheads permanently, you need to change your sebum production, because it is the excess sebum that causes blackheads. This can be done by treating them with a laser or by using one of the creams or ointments available. If you have a lot of acne, a tablet treatment prescribed by your doctor may be a suitable solution.
Can children get blackheads?
It is rare for children to have blackheads, as blackheads and impurities are a skin condition related to a hormonal change that leads to an overproduction of sebum. The problem usually appears around puberty when hormone production gradually increases.
What are the causes of blackheads?
Blackheads are caused by an obstruction of the sebaceous glands due to a hormonal imbalance characterized by an overproduction of hormones. This hormonal change is accompanied by an overproduction of sebum which can cause an obstruction of the sebaceous glands.
What do comedones look like?
Comedones can be white or black. Open comedones (blackheads), are, as the name suggests, small black dots visible on the skin. White dots (closed comedones), also called white microcysts, are on the other hand much less visible, but they are small bumps that are palpable to the touch.