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While blackheads might initially give the appearance of dirty skin, they're actually the result of trapped sebum that has undergone an oxidation process within your pores. Under normal circumstances, your body produces sebum which exits your pores and coats your skin, helping to keep it smooth and supple. Its production is controlled by your body's hormones. Occasionally, those hormones can produce excess amounts of sebum which becomes trapped within the pores. When oxygen makes contact, the sebum can oxidize and darken. While blackheads are common, there are steps you can take to treat and get rid of them.

Exfoliate Your Skin

One of the main reasons why your pores can become clogged with sebum is due to dead skin cells. Your epidermis is comprised of several layers of cells. Skin goes through cycles, whereby dead cells on the uppermost layer are shedded, making room for new, healthier skin cells. If those dead skin cells were to drop away, they wouldn't pose a problem. Unfortunately, they often cling to the surface of your skin, blocking your pores. By incorporating exfoliants containing ingredients such as [Link Removed] you can remove these problematic dead skin cells.  

Avoid Greasy Moisturizers

Heavy emollients can be valuable for those who have dry skin. However, because blackheads often indicate excess sebum production, heavy moisturizers and soaps can actually exacerbate the problem. Besides, if your skin is naturally oily, there's little need to use a greasy moisturizing or cleansing product. Instead, use a light facial moisturizer designed for oily skin types.

Treat With Retinoids

Retinoids such as over the counter  [Link Removed] and prescription only tretinoin are vitamin A derivatives effective for treating blackheads. Retinoids accelerate the turnover of dead skin cells and can help prevent clogged pores. Though effective, retinoids should be used cautiously, in combination with an alpha or beta hydroxy acid. You should use one in the morning and the other at night or alternate days, otherwise the combination can be highly irritating for most individuals.  

Should You Squeeze?

Tempting as it is, squeezing pimples, whiteheads and blackheads is often discouraged because doing so can damage your skin. However, when it comes to blackheads, gently squeezing them can be an effective way to remove the excess material within the clogged pores. That being said, it's important that you avoid applying too much pressure while squeezing. Also, use a tissue to block contact between your fingers and your skin. It will reduce the likelihood of scratching the area if you slip.

Blackheads look unattractive but are a common skin condition. Now that you understand how they're caused, you can take measures to treat them by exfoliating regularly, avoiding heavy emollients and cleansers and using topical agents such as retinoids. You should begin noticing results within several weeks.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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