A blackhead, as the very name suggests is a blackened mass. It is formed when an enlarged hair follicle known as a comedo fills up with debris of skin, oil and bacteria. The scientific term used to define skin debris is keratin squamae, while sebum denotes oil.
In a more general and simple sense blackheads can be defined as tiny blackened spots on different parts of the skin. These spots are caused by small blockages within the opening of a follicle i.e. a pore. It has been observed that in many cases blackheads mark the beginning of oncoming acne. A blackhead forms before bacteria gradually invades the pores. Blackheads that eventually develop into pimples are known as pustules or papules. Both blackheads and acne have been observed in individuals after they have reached puberty. Sebum is the oil that is secreted by sebaceous glands, which are present on one’s skin. Sebum comprises of melanin, keratin, cellular debris and fat. Melanin is what gives blackheads their black color as it oxidizes or turns dark when it is exposed to air. Topical medication, blackhead strips and home remedies for blackheads all work wonders. Home remedies however, are the most preferred as they do not irritate one’s skin or cause adverse reactions.
What causes blackheads?
The reasons behind the occurrence of blackheads are listed below:
- Excessive production of oil i.e. sebum is the most common cause of blackheads.
- Excessively oily skin and lack of removal of oil are both common causes of blackheads.
- High levels of dihydrotestosterone, which is the hormone that leads to excessive production of oil, thus clogging pores.
- Topical application of oils triggers the production of blackheads.
- Application of certain makeup products and improper removal also result in blackheads.
Factors that do not cause blackheads
There are several factors that are commonly believed to contribute to the production of blackheads. However, they are just myths and studies have revealed that the factors listed below do not cause or affect the intensity of blackheads.
- Stress does not aggravate blackheads.
- Greasy food or chocolates do not cause blackheads.
- Sanitization or frequent cleaning of the affected area does not affect existing blackheads, nor does it prevent future blackheads.
When the root cause of blackheads is biological, changes under the skin cause occurrence atop the surface.
Are natural remedies effective?
Home remedies for blackheads are exceptionally effective. They efficiently remove blackheads and soothe the skin by moisturizing it. Excess oil is removed by these remedies while simultaneously moisture and essential nutrients are retained. Unlike chemicals in topical creams and adhesives in blackhead strips, natural remedies do not strip one’s skin. Instead they focus on gentle exfoliation which is the best way to treat and remove blackheads. These are the few reasons why home remedies work best when it comes to blackheads.
Best home remedies
- Baking soda: Baking soda works absolute wonders when it comes to blackheads and pimples. The gentle exfoliation that baking soda provides efficiently removes impurities and debris. Thus, cleansing one’s skin thoroughly. For application one should make a thick paste by mixing water with baking soda. This paste should be applied, gently rubbed and should then be allowed to dry off. Once it has dried warm water should be used to rinse it. This home remedy should only be used once or twice in a week as over exfoliation may cause irritation.
- Honey: Honey may not be good for exfoliation but it is amazing for hydrating and restoring lost moisture to one’s skin. It penetrates pores, gently cleanses them and then tightens them. When pores are tight the chances of formation of blackheads reduce drastically. To achieve amazing results and benefits one should apply honey generously over the affected areas. After 10 minutes when the honey mask has dried it should be rinsed with warm water.
- Green Tea: Green tea is refreshing and hydrating. Using the leaves of green tea to gently exfoliate and replenish skin is a remedy that works for numerous individuals. The very aroma of green tea is invigorating; hence one receives blackhead free skin and a stress free mind after using green tea as a scrub. This exfoliating mask gets rid of impurities by unclogging pores and also by reducing sebum.
- Epsom Salt: Epsom salt is one of the best home remedies for blackheads. Its application is incredibly simple. To make this potent mask all one needs is a few drops of iodine, a tsp of Epsom salt and 3 tbsp of lukewarm water. This salt and iodine should be mixed with lukewarm water and should then be dabbed onto the affected areas using a cotton ball. One should ensure that the Epsom salt has dissolved completely prior to application. After the paste is completely dry it should be wiped off using a washcloth.
- Cornmeal: Cornmeal offers gentle abrasive action that effectively unclogs pores and removes all forms of impurities. Application is extremely simple. Any mild facial cleanser can be added to 1tbsp of ground cornmeal and then applied all over the affected areas. One needs to scrub in circular motions after this paste has been applied. The circular scrubbing motion removes excessive oil.
- Fenugreek leaves: Fenugreek leaves deep clean pores and at the same time these leaves are mild enough to be used on an everyday basis. The cleaning action that this remedy provides is gentle. However, it works stupendously on blackheads. For application one needs to create a thick paste using these leaves and water. This mask dries within 10 minutes after which it should be rinsed off.
Another helpful tip
To achieve quick and astonishing results one should expose his/her face to a source of steam before applying any face mask or other healing face scrubs. Steam enlarges pores and the process of cleansing becomes the easiest when pores are enlarged. After any mask dries one should use cold water to rinse it off. Cold water shrinks pores thus sealing the moisture and nourishment from the masks within the pores.