Blackhead, or open comedo is a wide opening on the skin with a blackened mass of skin debris covering the opening.
Despite their name, some blackheads can be yellowish in color. A comedo is a widened hair follicle which is A filled with skin debris (keratin squamae), bacteria and oil (sebum).
A closed comedo is a whitehead, while an open comedo is a blackhead.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads are normally caused by the overproduction of oil which tends to occur when a person reaches puberty. Spikes in hormone production can result in the high levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone which triggers over-activity in the oil glands, resulting in clogged pores.
Food does not cause acne. Although parents and grandparents commonly tell their teenage offspring not to eat chocolates and greasy foods because they think they encourage the formation of acne, they do not cause blackheads or make them worse.
Some studies have pointed towards a link between some dairy products and acne, but the evidence is not compelling.
Stress does not directly affect blackhead occurrence. However, stress and anxiety can cause people to pick at their blackheads and acne, which may irritate the skin.
How to treat blackheads?
1. Hormonal treatments
Contraceptives have often been used for the treatment of blackheads and acne, often with good results.
2. Cleaning the skin
Clean your face with a good cleanser, ideally, one for oily skin, such as a salicylic acid cleanser. Do not wash the affected area more than twice a day, otherwise you might irritate the skin and make symptoms worse.
Adapalene is a third-generation topical retinoid, used mainly in the treatment of mild to moderate acne. Many patients with blackheads have had good results.
4. Keep your hair away from your face
Greasy hair touching the face of your skin can spread infection and in some cases encourage the spread of blackheads and acne. Keeping your hair away from your face may help keep blackheads to a minimum.
5. Skin virus may fight blackheads and acne
A virus that lives on our skin seems to naturally seek out and destroy the bacteria responsible for blackheads and zits. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh said that harnessing a virus that naturally preys on the bacteria that cause pimples could offer an extremely useful tool against this skin condition.