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How to Effectively Get Rid of Blackheads
Tired of relentlessly squeezing and scrubbing clogged pores, particularly on your face? Comedones, also known as blackheads, are clogged hair follicles that occur when oil produced by the sebaceous gland (known as sebum) combines with skin debris. The sebum oxidizes when it reaches the surface of your skin, causing the clogged pore to appear dark. When the clogged pore appears white, it is called a whitehead, which means that a layer of skin has grown over the affected area.
Here are two very important tips to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads:
First, DO NOT scrub or squeeze your comedones! Despite what any well-intentioned beauty or health guru may suggest, frequent scrubbing or exfoliating any area of your skin to diminish the appearance of blackheads causes damage to your skin. Exfoliating removes the top epidermal layer of your skin, revealing a newer, softer, more sensitive layer of skin. By frequently exfoliating the affected areas, you are causing your skin to work harder to replace the removed sebum, thereby perpetuating and possibly worsening your blackheads. Further, squeezing blackheads and whiteheads not only runs the risk of breaking your skin, but can push oil further down into your pore, potentially causing an infection.
Because the root of any blackhead problem begins underneath the surface layer of skin, the most effective way to remove comedones is to use a lipid (oil) soluble facial cleanser, toner, or moisturizer. Salicylic acid, derived from acetylsalicylic acid, is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) used primarily in acne products. Unlike facial cleansers with alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), which are water soluble and only reach the upper epidermal layer, salicylic acid breaks down and penetrates fats and oils, thereby “unclogging” the hair follicles underneath your skin’s surface layer.
Although generally less irritating than AHAs, products with salicylic acid can cause skin irritation. Try to find products that list salicylic acid as the active ingredient in concentrations between 1 and 2 percent, or with a pH between 3 and 4. Because salicylic acid works better in lower concentrations and at longer exposure times, use toners, moisturizers, lotions, or gels for maximum results on affected areas.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.