All about blackheads and what really helps against them

Everybody has them, nobody wants them. We’re talking about blackheads. Irritating black spots on the face that disturb the skin texture. It is not uncommon for the skin impurities to cause pimples. If treated incorrectly, they can spread further and further, and in the worst case they can cause serious inflammation and even scarring. Phew!

But how do you best get rid of the pests? Susanne Martens, medical cosmetician in the practice for aesthetic medicine of Dr. Eveline Urselmann in Hamburg, knows this. With her care tips you will collect bonus points in the fight against blackheads, but guaranteed not to get new impurities!

What are blackheads anyway and how do they develop?

Due to the dark colour, it is suspected that dirt has merely settled in the pores. But far from it: Blackheads have nothing to do with dirty skin. “They are sebaceous plugs in a sebaceous gland that cannot drain off due to over-hornification of the skin, i.e. they accumulate,” says the expert. Oily skin types are more prone to blackheads than dry or normal skin.

Because in oily skin, the pores produce an excessive amount of sebum and at the same time dead skin cells accumulate on the skin surface and seal the pores. The skin fat thus accumulates under the seal. Small dark spots are formed, the so-called blackheads.

This helps against enlarged pores

Why are blackheads black?

The question arises, why are blackheads dark, if it is not dirt that blocks the pores? “The black colour is caused by the combination of oxygen, sebum and the skin pigment melanin. It is a result of oxidation,” Susanne Martens knows. But the fact that blackheads are not dirt does not make them more beautiful either – the little pests are simply annoying.

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Why do blackheads develop primarily on the forehead, nose and chin?

Small black dots on the nose are familiar to most people. This is due to the well-known and feared greasy T-zone, which extends from the chin over the nose to both sides of the forehead. “In this area, sebum production is particularly active for all skin types, which means more impurities are produced there,” explains the expert.

Do special blackhead suction cups and clear-up strips help?

Drugstores and the Internet are full of products that are specifically designed for the removal of blackheads on the nose, forehead and chin. Clear-up strips are best known. Blackhead patches promise to simply pull the impurities out of the skin after a short period of application. Too good to be true? Unfortunately yes! The same applies to novel mini vacuum cleaners for the skin. They create a negative pressure, which is intended to draw the excess sebum out of the skin.

“The cleaning effect is only slight in both cases. Not all blackheads are pulled out of the skin. And the strips and the suction hurt the healthy skin around them. That is why these products are not recommended,” says Martens. Much better: regularly apply a deep cleansing mask, for example with activated charcoal or healing earth, to the T-zone. And go to the cosmetic treatment for cleansing!

How do I get rid of blackheads then?

With blackheads it is quite clear that prevention is better than aftercare. Because once the stubborn black spots are there, you won’t get rid of them so easily at home. They would have to push them around. And under no circumstances should you do that yourself!

The probability that you will damage your skin is quite high. Small injuries can occur and bacteria can get into the skin via the fingers. So no matter how tempting it may be to simply take action yourself: Don’t touch it. Your skin will thank you for it! Instead, you should put yourself in professional hands.

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What happens during a professional anti-blackhead treatment?

“The skin is freed from excessive horn before cleansing with gentle peelings – in the form of enzymes – and acids. In this way, the impurities can be squeezed out of the skin hygienically without much pressure and pain using a special comedone remover,” explains Martens. You wouldn’t be able to do this with your fingers.

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How do I care for skin that tends to blackheads?

Once the impurities are expressed, it is your turn. If you care cleverly now, you can maintain the pure skin appearance after the professional treatment in the long term. For your skin care routine, use cleansing products and serums with AHA -, BHA – and amino acids. These dissolve skin flakes and cornifications. This way the sebum cannot accumulate at all.

Attention: The acid makes the skin more sensitive to light! Therefore only use in the evening and always apply sun protection during the day! In addition, start small and apply acidic products 1 to 2 times a week for the first time to accustom the skin to the procedure. Increase slowly. After a few weeks you can use the product daily.

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Now you know how blackheads are created and how to best fight the impurities. The be-all and end-all is a gentle cleansing by professionals. If you then take time every day for a coordinated care routine with acids and light protection, you can say goodbye to blackheads forever.