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Blackheads are dark little bumps on the surface of the skin, under which lies a build-up of waxy yellowish gunk. This gunk is called sebum and is composed mostly of wax and fat, originally intended to protect and moisturize the skin; however, somewhere along the way, in a hair follicle or sweat pore, the sebum got stopped up and began to create a reservoir of fluid rather than releasing onto the skin’s surface. In effect, what causes blackheads is whatever has clogged these follicles or pores and prevented the sebum from doing its job. Oily skin, dry skin, and improper hygiene are three leading culprits in the formation of blackheads.
Blackheads Caused by Oily Skin
Oily skin happens when there is too much sebum being released from the sebaceous gland. When the “oil” eventually gets to be more than body can distribute over its surface, pores become blocked, and blocked pores make blackheads. While some extra oil is good and keeps skin healthy, an over abundance becomes problematic because it can’t be secreted fast enough. Unfortunately, sometimes, especially during adolescence, when there is a significant increase in a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which encourages the sebaceous glands to overproduce, the body naturally makes too much sebum.
Blackheads Caused by Dry Skin
While it would seem that, if oily skin is bad for causing blackheads, then dry skin should be okay, the opposite is actually true. With oily skin, sebum can’t get out fast enough; however, with dry skin, dead cells get lodged into the pore openings, creating a similar kind of blockage, behind which sebum accumulates. In this case, by the sebaceous gland not quite fulfilling its function, the dry and flaky evidence produces the same result. Eventually, the trapped sebum hardens into a waxy ball, and new fluid builds up behind it, creating a blackhead.
Blackheads Caused by Improper Hygiene
Not cleaning the face and other affected areas properly can also contribute to having more blackheads. It is especially important to wash the face regularly, taking care to never go to bed with make-up or lotion on, as these things might prevent the pores from secreting sebum effectively throughout the night. Additionally, rigorous scrubbing can also cause problems because the skin becomes irritated and dead cells are forced into the pores rather than removed from them. Either way, the result can be the unwanted stimulation of the sebaceous gland, which will then make excess sebum and restart the cycle.
What causes blackheads, on the surface, seems very frustrating. If the skin is oily or dry, then blackheads form. Too much oil clogs the pores, and not enough oil causes flakes that clog pores. When the face is left unclean or is cleaned too vigorously, blackheads appear. Make-up that hasn’t been removed will trap stuff inside of follicles, but scrub too hard and different stuff gets trapped. Meanwhile, due to DHT, the sebaceous glands are going haywire anyway. Fortunately, there are many methods and even more products out there to help fight off the invasion of the blackheads.