Blackheads (so called “open comedomes“) are small, tiny, dark spots on the skin – it is actually a wide opening on the skin (widened hair follicle) which is filled with skin debris, bacteria and oil with a blackened mass covering the hair follicle opening caused by the blockage in the opening of a pore (follicle). Blackheads causes could be different.
Blackheads appear when small clog develops in the opening of hair follicles. It is important to mention that each hair follicle contains one hair and sebaceous gland that produces sebum (oil). Dead skin cells and skin oil are filling all bumps called blackheads.
Blackheads usually are full of oil (sebum from sebaceous glands) which contain pigment called “melanin” which always turns dark (oxidizes) when exposed to air. And this is the main reason why blackheads are usually black or at least dark.
Blackheads can affect women with any type of skin, but more often blackheads could be noted in women with oily skin – actually blackheads are small bumps which appear on oily skin surface due to clogged hair follicles.
If the skin over the comedomes close but not open, women could have so called “whitehead”. When the skin over the bump opens, exposure to the air causes it to look black and a blackhead forms – this is why blackheads usually look dark or black but sometimes (infected stage) blackheads could have yellowish or yellow colors. Most common locations of blackheads are face, back, chest, neck, arms, and shoulders.
Women should know that some factors could increase chances for developing blackheads. Risk factors of blackheads include oily skin, hormonal fluctuations and dysfunctions, skin bacteria and irritations, some medications (corticosteroids, androgens, lithium, etc.)
If your grandmother tells you that blackheads are full of dirt, don’t believe in it. Clean skin also can have blackheads.
Some experts believe that blackheads could be considered as the first stages of acne development. Growing blackheads called “pimples”.
Blackheads causes – Overproduction of sebum
Main reasons for skin oil overproduction could be dramatic hormonal disturbances during critical periods of women life – puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Usually during these periods most women experience blackheads because increased levels of certain hormones overstimulate the sebaceous glands, resulting in the overproduction of sebum.
Blackheads causes – Cosmetic products
Experts noted that intensive use of oily cosmetic products (creams, sunscreen, moisturizers, cleansers, make-ups, etc.) could cause development of blackheads on sensitive areas of women skin. For women with the history of intensive blackheads during puberty, it will be recommended to avoid oily hygienic and cosmetic products.
Blackheads causes – Hair
Unwanted hair on face and body could be triggering factors for blackheads. Increased number of hair follicles usually increases your chances for blackhead because each hair follicle could have increased production of sebum and each hair follicle is a potential place for blackheads.
At the same time, greasy hair touching women skin can spread bacteria (infection) and in some cases encourage the spread of blackheads on the skin. Just keep your hair away from your face, back and neck.
Blackheads causes – Stress
Scientists did not discover any direct correlation between stress and blackhead but many doctors noted increased frequency and increased intensity of blackheads during stress. Some experts explain it with increased levels of so called “stress hormones”. It was also mentioned that stress and anxiety can cause people to pick at their blackheads and acne, which may irritate the skin.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.