What are blackheads?
Blackheads are small bumps or lumps that appear on the skin due to clogged hair follicles. It usually comprises sebum (oil) and dead skin cells. Blackheads get their name from the dark surface of the affected area and are usually a prime component of teenage acne. However, they can also affect older individuals. They affect the face and other parts of the body, including the back, chest, neck, arms, and shoulders. Blackhead is a very common skin condition that affects nearly 90% of teenagers and 70% of adults worldwide. Before we dive into the home remedies for blackheads, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of blackheads. After that, we’ll mention some home remedies for blackheads and some prevention tips.
Causes of Blackheads
Blackheads develop when a hair follicle in the skin gets clogged up with dead skin cells and excess oil. The dead skin cells and oil collect in the hair follicle, causing a bump called a comedo. If the skin over the bumps stays closed, it’s called a Whitehead. However, when the skin over the bump is opened, the contents are exposed to air, giving them a black coloration, hence blackheads. Some factors can increase the chances of developing acne and/or blackheads.
- Producing too much body oil
- The buildup of Propionibacterium acnes (bacteria responsible for acne) on the skin.
- Hormonal changes caused by puberty, menstruation, and supplements.
- Irritation of the hair follicles when dead skin cells don’t shed regularly.
In addition, there’s a belief that what we eat or drink has a lot to do with acne formation. Dairy products and foods that increase blood sugar levels like carbohydrates may increase the chances of developing acne. However, there’s no concrete evidence to back up this claim.
Symptoms of blackheads
Blackheads are easy to spot on the skin because of their characteristic dark color. They’re slightly raised but less painful because it isn’t inflamed, compared to a pimple. Now, let’s dive into some home remedies for blackheads.
Home remedies for blackheads
Cleansing the face is very important as it helps reduce excess oil, dirt, and other materials that can clog skin pores and cause acne and/or blackheads. A very promising approach is the double cleansing technique. This technique involves using an oil-based cleanser to clean off makeup or pollutants from the face. Cleansing oils include coconut oil, macadamia, argan, olive, and rosehip. After this, apply a gentle cleanser that contains ingredients such as tea tree oil, rosewater, aloe, or vegetable glycerin. These gentle cleansers eliminate dirt and oils to prepare the skin before treatment.
Not very many people know that baking soda is a natural exfoliating agent. Create a paste using a few teaspoons of baking soda with water. Apply to the affected area, use your fingers to gently scrub the skin, ensuring they get into the pores of the skin. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash off. You can use this technique before taking your bath and before going to bed.
This practice is very efficient. Steaming the face causes you to sweat, thereby softening the stubborn blackheads. In addition, sweating also helps remove toxins from skin pores. After this process, you can apply a gentle cleanser.
Lemon, salt, and honey
The acidic property of lemon causes skin cells to contract. As a result, oils that could cause acne are released. Salt acts as a non-abrasive scrub to the skin, and honey, a natural moisturizer, leaves the skin moisturized and keeps the germs away. Mix up these three ingredients to form a paste and then apply on the affected area. After applying, use your fingers to gently massage it into the skin and let it stay for five minutes. After five minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
Egg whites make an effective ingredient for blackhead removal. When the egg white is applied to the skin, either directly or as a mask, it allows the skin pores to constrict, forcing out the blackheads. Apart from this, egg whites improve the skin texture and reduce excess oil.
How to prevent blackheads
⁃ Wash regularly: It’s best to wash your face when you wake up and before going to bed. This reduces germ and oil buildup. After washing, apply a gentle cleanser that doesn’t irritate your skin.
⁃ Use oil-free products: Using oily products makes it easier to acquire clogged pores. Go for non-comedogenic makeup, lotions, and sunscreens.
⁃ Use clean laundry: As you sleep on your bed, oil and dirt from the body can easily rub off on the bedspread and pillowcase. Not washing these materials regularly can lead to grime accumulation, which can get transferred to the face and other body parts when you sleep on them. So, it’s best to sleep on clean materials as often as possible. The same applies to clothes.
Finally, a combination of self-care, self-awareness, and the home remedies for blackheads listed above can go a long way in managing cases of blackheads.