Blackheads: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 28, 2011

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Blackheads are a type of acne vulgaris and are also known as open comedones. They are tiny, dark bumps on the skin caused due to blockage of pores caused by excess sebum, dead skin cells. The appearance of black colour in blackheads is due to exposure of sebum to the air and is not dirt.


[Read: Skin Care Tips]


  • Enlarged pores.
  • Black spots.
  • Individual or clusters of black colour bumps usually seen around the nose, chin and cheeks.


Oily or combination skin: These types of skin are prone to pores getting clogged with sebum and blackheads take place.


Blockage of pores: Due to faulty skin care or improper cleansing, oil can build up on the skin resulting in blockage of pores.


Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes can make sebaceous glands produce more sebum resulting in pores getting blocked. Stress can also cause excess oil production.


Improper skin care: Use of oily creams or products in oily skin can lead to excess oil and pores can get blocked resulting in blackheads.


[Read: Home Remedies for Glowing Skin]


Risk factors

  • People with oily skin are more prone to developing blackheads rather than people with dry skin.
  • Adolescents who have attained puberty are prone to hormonal changes thereby blackheads are common at this age.
  • Faulty skin care regimen can lead to blackheads as people with oily skin should not use oily creams which build up excess oil leading to blackheads and pimples. Exfoliation as a skin care regimen is necessary to slough off excess oil and dead skin cells.


  • Exfoliation should be included in skin care regimen by people who suffer from blackheads. Exfoliation gels or creams are available over-the-counter and are safe to use. Avoid excessive scrubbing.
  • Blackhead removal strips are available in the market, they are adhesive strips which can be “glued” to affected areas and are left there for some time. When the strip is removed, blackheads come out with it.
  • Blackheads can be removed by health care professionals, avoid extracting blackheads by yourself as it can lead to scarring.
  • Dermatologists also recommend tretinoin as it helps slough off dead skin cells. It can have some side effects though.
  • Skin peels can also be used.


A good skin care regimen should be followed. Right skin products for a particular skin type should be used. Exfoliation and scrubbing gels can be used and are quite effective in removing and preventing blackheads.



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