Blackheads are often considered to be the first stage of acne which is caused when excess hormones in the skin (usually in the teens) lead to the stimulation of the sebaceous oil glands. This excess sebum clogs the pores and when open to the outside air, they turn black. We all get blackheads from time to time but they are more likely in those with an oily skin rather than a dry skin.
Sometimes blackheads can form not from the skin's natural oil but from the use of topical oils or the use of makeup which is then not cleaned off correctly. When the skin is not cleaned sufficiently, dead skin cells can accumulate within the pores. These dead cells then clog the pore opening, leading to a further oil build up. Even the over-use of makeup can lead to clogged pores such as too much moisturizer, foundation or sun screen. And clogged pores cause blackheads to form.
So how can you prevent blackheads?
- First thing to remember is to always take off at night anything that you have put on your face during the day. That means a thorough but gentle cleaning routine with a natural soap or non-soap cleanser and warm water. Use a soft face cloth and pat dry gently. The skin should be washed this way at least twice a day. But too much rubbing and scrubbing can actually stimulate the oil gland to activate so you start a vicious cycle.
- A gentle shower every day will also help to remove excess oil.
- It is vital that you do not pick, scratch, rub or scrub your skin especially if there are any whiteheads, blackheads or other pimples because this can spread both them and any bacteria on the skin.
- If you have to use make up, ensure it is water-based and not oil-based.
- Wash your hair frequently and keep off the face as much as possible. If your skin is inclined to be oily, avoid bangs on the forehead or long hair falling over your face.
- Ensuring a strong immune system and a healthy lifestyle will go a long way in preventing blackheads or diminishing the extent of an acne outbreak.
- Regular meals with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and organic meats. Take care to avoid sodas, artificial sweeteners, sugars and refined and processed foods.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to hydrate the skin and get rid of all toxins. A glass of water with a slice of lemon in it will be a natural detox as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- Avoid any smoking and make sure you exercise regularly.
- Top up your vitamin D levels and improve your skin and appearance with regular doses of sunlight. If the weather is suitable, try and get some 20 minutes of sunlight every day but if not, consider vitamin D3 supplements.
How to treat blackheads
After a good, gentle cleaning, you should steam your skin for several minutes by placing your face over a bowl of very hot water with a towel over your head to stop the steam escaping. Only try to remove normal blackheads – nothing that is inflamed or infected. Use scrupulously clean and sterile equipment such as a flat blackhead remover. Once you have finished, apply some disinfectant on a sterile cotton wool ball to close the pore again.
Alternatively, treat yourself to a facial at a spa or salon where expert therapists will give you a deep cleansing facial treatment and remove any blackheads at the same time. Even if you can only afford such treatments two or three times a year, it is well worth it.
Once you have cleared the skin of blackheads, keep acne at bay with a natural remedy such as H-Acne Formula which is a natural product to treat the symptoms of acne and may be used in your daily cleansing ritual.