Everything You Need To Know About Blackheads

Everything You Need To Know About Blackheads
Blackheads are a fact of life we all have to deal with (some of us more than others *cough cough me and my oily a** skin*). Here's a quick guide to exactly what blackheads are, why we get them, and some simple no-fuss ways to prevent them for all our skincare loving cuties out there.

What is a blackhead?

Blackheads are very normal. A blackhead is what happens when a pore clogged with sebum hardens and oxidizes on the surface causing its black appearance.
Emphasis on the blackheads are normal part. Acne in its myriad forms (blackheads, whiteheads, papules, postules, and I digress), affects 80% of folks in the United States at some point in their lives. We're super-mega-done with the shame felt when discussing/having acne. Let's talk about it!

What causes blackheads?

Oil called sebum causes blackheads. Sebum is also very normal, and we all produce it from sebaceous glans present in every hair folicle. When that oil combines with dead skin cells, it can cause the pore to clog. From there, the oxidation process begins. 

Oxidizing is a chemical reaction that happens to a lot of different things when exposed to air. For example, apples turning brown or metal rusting. When it comes to your skin, oxidization causes blackheads but it also causes aging. Aging, like blackheads, is also normal but there are products that you can use today to invest in your skin for a better tomorrow to promote healthy aging as your skin matures. 

Blackheads, like pimples, are a form of what's called a comedone. What makes blackheads different than your run of the mill pimple is that they are open. Whiteheads are "closed" or covered by a layer of skin! Sexy stuff, I know. 

How do I prevent blackheads?

A consistent cleansing practice is the first step in preventing blackheads. Use a gentle cleanser in the morning and evening to prevent the buildup of dead skill cells and sebum in those pores. Remember to cleanse after getting your sweat on or wearing your mask for an extended period of time.

Wearing SPF 30 or higher everyday is also crucial in preventing blackheads. Unprotected sun exposure can worsen acne and blackheads while also increasing your likelihood of scarring and skin cancer.

Notice that I don't mention anything about picking and prodding your face to extract these lil buggers? That's because picking your face literally makes everything worse! Trust me, I know from lots of experience, and I still falter more often that I'd like to admit. Leave blackhead extraction to the professionals, boo.

But seriously, get yourself a good cleanser and be diligent with your cleansing practice. Not sure what cleanser to use for your skin type? Read more about our Top 5 Best Selling Cleansers & Why You'll Love Them here.

Some additional things to consider

Introducing a gentle chemical exfoliant into your skincare routine can also significantly help to reduce your blackheads and unclog your pores. Chemical exfoliants like glycolic, salicylic or lactic acid are a blackheads worst enemy and help to improve your skin's texture like a m'fer. 

I recommend Freck's Cactus Water lactic acid toner as the second step in your skincare routine if you feel like you're always battling blackheads. This magical formula will unclog pores, clear up blackheads, and reduce pore size. Make sure to take before and after skin picks so you can track your skin's progress!


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