Blackheads: Causes, Treatment, and Prevent

by | Aug 26, 2020

There was a lot of oil and the nose was covered with blackheads.
There are a lot of blackheads on the nose, the pores are very large, and they are extruded as white strips. The Sebum plug is inserted into the hair follicle, exposing a head.

Blackheads usually appear on the face and other parts of the body. The most common areas are:


  • Nose (blackheads on the nose are the most frequent)
  • Forehead
  • Cheek
  • Ear
  • Back
  • Chest

Blackheads and whiteheads

Blackheads and whiteheads are the mildest grades of acne, and they are both non-inflammatory acne.

The pores of the whitehead are covered by the epidermis, and the grease cannot contact the outside air. Whiteheads are prone to develop papules, pustules, nodules, and other inflammation acne.

The pores of the blackhead are not covered by the epidermis, the oil in the hair follicle directly contacts the air, and the end that contacts the air becomes black. Blackheads do not develop into inflammatory acne.

If whitehead is likened to an active volcano, it may explode at any time. Then blackheads are like dead volcanoes. Although the danger is not enough to attract special attention, blackheads make the pores of our facial skin look thicker. People’s eyes are easy to stare at the black spots on their faces. Blackheads make us look more ugly.

The difference between blackhead and whitehead. The pores of blackheads are not clogged, and the pores of whiteheads are clogged.

what causes blackheads?

Blackheads are the result of the pores of the skin being clogged with sebum plugs, and the plugs can come into contact with air. Sebum plug is a mixture of sebum, dead cells, and bacteria. Sebum is the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin, and dead cells are keratinocytes that should be shed from the skin.

The hair follicles of normal skin are unobstructed. Hair follicles with blackheads are blocked by oil, and the oil in contact with air is oxidized to black.

The following two reasons will cause blackheads.

Sebaceous glands secrete too much oil

It has been observed that people with oily skin tend to have blackheads more often than people with dry skin. Blackheads are also more likely to form where oil is readily available than where it is not.

The sebaceous glands secrete sebum all the time. Because sebum cannot be excreted in time, it is easy to form blackheads after a long time.

The amount and speed of sebum production by the sebaceous glands are affected by the following factors:

  • Hereditary oily skin, because your sebaceous glands naturally secrete a lot of sebum, then naturally it is easy to produce blackheads.
  • Hormonal changes, mainly due to excessive androgen production . Androgens are converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the skin. DHT stimulates the sebaceous glands to secrete large amounts of sebum. Because men have more androgen than women, men generally secrete more sebum than women, and men have more blackheads. Adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy easily stimulate androgen production.
  • When the temperature is high, there is more oil on the face.
  • Stay up all night, sweets and high GI foods will make the skin easier to secrete sebum.

Blocked hair follicles

Sebum plugs are clogged in the hair follicles, which can neither be discharged nor disappeared automatically. If you can regularly clean the dirt and sebum in the hair follicles, dredge the pores, you will reduce the number of blackheads.

How to get rid of blackheads?

The most commonly used skin care ingredients to remove blackheads are jojoba oil and salicylic acid.

Jojoba oil

After the skin is cleaned with jojoba oil, the jojoba oil will penetrate deep into the pores to dissolve the blackheads, and the blackheads can be easily removed.

Jojoba oil is vegetable oil, which is the oil most similar to sebum in nature. Jojoba oil is milder and less irritating to the skin. Because the molecular structure of jojoba oil is similar to sebum, jojoba oil and sebum can dissolve each other. Jojoba oil can penetrate the inside of blackheads, promote the loosening and dissolution of hardened blackheads, and gently massage to help break down blackheads.

How to use:

Apply jojoba oil to areas with blackheads before washing your face, leave it on for 10 minutes, and then use a mild amino acid facial cleanser to cleanse your face. This will remove loose blackheads. Use jojoba oil 2-3 times a week, and continue to use it for 1-2 months to feel the reduction of blackheads.

The shortcoming of jojoba oil is that the results will be slower, require constant persistence, and can only remove some blackheads, not all blackheads.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid suitable healthy skin, salicylic acid is not suitable for sensitive skin, such as seborrheic dermatitis, or skin with pustules, nodules, and cysts. Salicylic acid is also not suitable for long-term continuous use on healthy skin, it will gradually exfoliate keratin, which may make healthy skin become sensitive skin.

Salicylic acid is a fat-soluble organic acid that can also exfoliate keratin accumulated in aging. Salicylic acid is fat-soluble, it can penetrate the inside of the hair follicle to dissolve the sebum plug. The concentration of salicylic acid in skin care products is 1-2%.

How to use:

Take a small amount of salicylic acid skin care product and apply it to the skin with blackheads. Use 2-3 times a week. Those who try to use acid products for the first time recommend using low-concentration products first to avoid skin irritation. And acid products are best used at night.

Blackhead remover

Blackhead remover through ultrasonic high-frequency vibration to quickly deeply remove blackhead. Ultrasound does not rely on the vibration of the instrument itself for cleaning but uses an ultrasonic vibrator with a frequency greater than 20000Hz to vibrate elastic media such as water or oil. Then decomposes the dirt by the force generated by the vibration to achieve the purpose of cleaning.

Apply blackhead extract or jojoba oil to blackheads before using a blackhead remover. Then use the blackhead remover to remove the blackheads about 10 minutes later.

Blackhead remover will cause slight damage to the skin barrier. After using the blackhead remover, the skin will become red. It is recommended to use it once every 20-30 days.

Blackhead remover is suitable for healthy skin, unhealthy skin is not recommended.

Cleansing mask

Cleansing masks can be divided into two categories:

1. By forming a thick layer of the film-forming agent on the surface of the skin and softening the stratum corneum by soaking, blackheads and dirt float up

2. Remove the oil and blackheads in the pores through the kaolin, activated carbon, and other components with strong adsorption in the mask.

The cleaning mask will cause slight damage to the stratum corneum. Healthy skin can be used at most once a week, sensitive skin can be used at most once in half a month.

Small bubbles

Make small bubbles must go to the hospital or a properly qualified institution to ensure safety.

“Small bubbles” use the principle of vacuum negative pressure to suck the skin during use and suck blackheads out of the pores. At the same time, alpha hydroxy acid or salicylic acid will be injected into the vacuum circuit to achieve the purpose of skin rejuvenation.

Small bubbles are recommended only for people with healthy skin. People with damaged skin barriers should not participate in this project. Small bubbles are a gentler way to get rid of blackheads. It will hurt a little after finishing. After sucking out the blackheads, the part of the skin will also be red.

Small bubbles can not be done frequently, it is recommended to do it once a month, to ensure that the effect does not damage the skin. Small bubbles can only remove some blackheads, not all blackheads.

If you want to solve the two problems of blackheads and enlarged pores in one go, you can consider a fast and effective medical cosmetic method. To choose a medical cosmetic project, you need to go to a hospital or an institution with formal qualifications.

Glycolic peeling

The skin surface is rough and uneven before chemical peeling. Chemical peeling is to remove the rough epidermis, and then rebuild the new epidermis to make the skin smooth again.

Glycolic peeling and the use of skin care products containing alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) are two concepts because the concentration of AHA in them is very different. Medical institutions generally use very high concentrations of alpha hydroxy acid (20%-70%), while the content of alpha hydroxy acid in skin care products is below 10%.

High concentration alpha hydroxy acid can promote the metabolism and renewal of the epidermis, make the drainage channel of the sebum more smooth, and reduce the possibility of clogged pores. At the same time, it can stimulate the production of collagen in the dermis.



Radiofrequency emits electromagnetic waves to the face, selectively heating the dermis layer to promote the synthesis of collagen in the dermis layer, shrink pores quickly, then squeeze out blackheads.

Radiofrequency is a relatively mild medical method, with minimal damage to the skin, so even sensitive skin can be tried regularly, but it must be carried out under the supervision of a doctor to ensure safety.

Fractional laser

The fractional laser mainly punches fine pores on the skin through the laser, forming three areas of thermal exfoliation, thermal coagulation, and thermal effect in the skin layer, thereby stimulating the proliferation of collagen in the dermis layer. Allows the skin to repair itself to achieve the purpose of reducing pores, rejuvenating skin, and removing stains.

The light energy of the fractional laser can penetrate the epidermis and reach the dermis, thus stimulating the repair of the dermis. The aim is to repair the deeper layers of the skin.

The fractional laser is divided into ablative fractional laser and non-ablative fractional laser.

The non-ablative fractional laser does not damage the epidermis, but only acts on the dermis. It does not scab after surgery and recovers quickly (the recovery period is generally one month). But the effect is not as good as the ablative fractional laser.

The effect of ablative fractional laser is remarkable. However, since it acts on both the epidermal layer and the dermal layer, it will produce a scab and the recovery time will be longer. Generally, it takes 2-3 months to fully recover, so you must consider clearly when choosing a project.

Skin condition after fractional laser. The surface of the skin appears faintly red. The skin seems to have been punched with a pinhole, which is caused by the laser penetrating the epidermis.

Post-operative photos after fractional laser

Not recommended

Don’t squeeze blackheads

Don't squeeze blackheads

Many people like to squeeze blackheads with their hands, although it feels very cool. However, squeezing the blackhead by hand can easily damage the skin barrier, and the fragile capillaries around the nose may rupture and become inflamed, and it may cause permanent damage to the tissue around the hair follicle. For a long time, the nose is easy to leave redness, red blood, and other problems, and the blackheads still stay there.

Squeezing blackheads also makes pores larger.

There are many bacteria on your hands that can easily cause skin infections.

Don’t use nose patches and peel-off mask

Some people use a nose patch or peel-off mask to pull the blackhead out of the pores with external force.

This method of pulling will pull the skin and cause the pores to become larger. If the pores cannot contract in time, blackheads will appear faster. Long-term use will destroy the skin barrier.

Do not use salt, sugar or baking soda

Some people add salt and sugar to cleansing the face. I want to use this friction-increasing product to scrub away blackheads. This method not only has no way to eliminate blackheads, but it will stimulate the skin on a large scale, rub the skin into invisible wounds, and destroy the skin barrier.

Some people will add a certain percentage of baking soda to the cotton pad and apply it to the nose, thinking that this will dissolve the blackheads. But the alkaline component of baking soda stimulates the weakly acidic skin for a long time, which will destroy the skin barrier and make the skin dry, even stinging, redness, and acne.

How to prevent blackheads?

Blackheads cannot be cured, they will always exist.

Removing blackheads is a long-term thing. As long as your skin is secreting oil and there is the air around it, blackheads will continue to be produced. The following methods can make your blackheads appear slower:

Cleanses regularly

Proper face-washing can remove too much oil and prevent the accumulation of oil to form blackheads. Under normal circumstances, wash your face no more than twice a day.

Use a mild amino acid facial cleanser to wash your face. If you wash your face too much or the cleansing power of the facial cleanser is too strong, it will irritate the skin and destroy the skin barrier, making the skin red and swollen and itchy.

If your skin is born with a lot of oil and the cuticle is thick, you can wash your face three times a day, but most people do not exceed twice a day.

Women with makeup also need to remove their makeup before going to bed. Otherwise, the ingredients in the cosmetics will clog your pores.

Regular exfoliation

Regularly use acid products (AHA or salicylic acid) on the entire face to remove excess keratin. But don’t exfoliate too often, it is easy to irritate the skin. Exfoliate about once every half a month to a month, and decide the frequency of exfoliation according to your thickness. Only healthy skin can exfoliate, and unhealthy skin should not be exfoliated.

Ensure a healthy lifestyle

  • Don’t stay up late
  • Don’t eat too sweet food
  • Do not eat high GI foods
  • Participate in more aerobic exercise

Pay attention to sun protection

Ultraviolet rays will stimulate the skin to secrete sebum, and excessive sebum production is prone to blackheads.

Use sun protection caps, umbrellas, clothing, and sunscreen to prevent UV rays from invading our skin.


Blackheads do not need to pay much attention if they are not serious. Sebum plugs are a kind of protection for the skin. If there is nothing to fill such large pore, bacteria and dirt from the outside are more likely to enter the hair follicles. It is not as good as the sebum plugs formed on the skin to protect the hair follicles. And with the increase of age, the secretion of oil will gradually decrease, and the blackheads will also gradually decrease.