Blackheads: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Blackheads: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Blackheads, also known as “open” comedones, are a type of spot, which rise to the surface of the skin. These spots occur when oil and bacteria get trapped under your skin, often on your face, back and neck. As the skin over your spot breaks, it becomes exposed and it oxidises turning into dark or black colour. Although any type of skin can suffer blackheads, they tend to gather more on oily skin.

Most people will suffer from blackheads at some point in their lives as an occasional breakout or as part of the early stages of acne. It is important that you clear and maintain the frequency of your blackheads before these develop into a more advanced form of acne.


There are many reasons why blackheads occur. The following are the most important factors:

  • Producing too much body oil
  • Greasy cosmetics
  • Stress
  • Undergoing hormonal changes
  • Lack of good nutrition
  • Some medications such as corticosteroids, lithium or androgens
  • Smoking

Diagram of a Blackhead


You may have blackheads on your skin if you see any of the following signs:

  • Enlarged pores
  • Black spots
  • Individual or clusters of black colour bumps

Blackheads are slightly raised, although they aren’t painful because they don’t get inflamed like pimples.


Taking certain precautions can definitely help prevent the appearance and frequency of your blackheads. Try the following tips:  

  • Eating antioxidant food which can be found in fruit - especially intensely coloured fruit such as berries or blackcurrants - and vegetables.

  • Have a good skincare routine will help remove grime and dead skin cells from your skin. Choose products that are oil-free or water-based. Blackheads didn’t occur due to poor washing but keep your skin as clean as possible, washing it twice a day.

  • Use make-up that is labelled as non-comedogenic. It's less likely to cause blackheads as these types of cosmetics do not contain ingredients that are known to clog the pores.


Is it okay to squeeze out your blackheads?

Although it may be tempting to squeeze to clear your blackheads faster, many experts recommend against squeezing due to:

  • Embeded oil and bacteria may cause more blackheads. When you expel the blackhead it releases the bacteria which can affect the surrounding pores.

  • Squeezing your skin and applying pressure can really irritate your skin,causing inflammation in the area where you tried to remove the blackhead and potentially cause scarring.

Why do blackheads smell bad?

It’s actually the oil generated on your skin the source of that unpleasant smell you may be experiencing.

Why do blackheads come back so quickly?

Oil is being produced constantly on your face, as a result pores can become clogged and blackheads reappear quickly.


Baking Soda

It not only works as an exfoliant to scrub away dead skin cells, leaving the skin soft and smooth, it’s also an incredible contender against those unwanted blackheads. In a small  bowl, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a small amount of water to form a paste.  Apply the paste to your blackheads and allow it to dry for about 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.


Honey has both antibacterial and antiseptic properties that help remove blackheads by destroying germs or impurities that clog pores. It also tightens and hydrates your pores. Heat a tablespoon of honey in a small jar until it is warm. Dab some of the warm honey onto any blackheads and allow it to soak in for about 10 minutes, then rinse. Repeat daily.


This nutrient-rich grain is safe and effective on different skin conditions such as blackheads and sensitive skin. It’s used as a cleanser and exfoliant, loosening clogged pores that lead to blackheads. Cook a large cup of oatmeal with water, if possible distilled water that is free of contaminants.  Allow the oatmeal to cool down before applying to your blackheads. Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes and then rinse with water. Repeat at least every two days.


There are  a variety of treatments to help reduce or prevent blackheads. It is recommended you consult an expert expert practitioner who will advise you of the best option for your individual case.

Skin Peels

This treatment  involves applying a non-toxic chemical solution to the skin to encourage skin cell turnover, allowing fresh, soft skin to replace it.

Find out more about skin peels


Microdermabrasion is performed using a mechanical device which simultaneously buffs away unwanted dead skin cells using microcrystals and vacuums the top layer of skin.

Find out more about Microdermabrasion


This double action blue-light and vacuum technology targets gently both the upper and lower layers of your skin to help get rid of your unwanted acne. Isolaz uses a broadband light to heat up the dermal layer of skin, removing acne as well as reducing inflammation. Simultaneously, the safe pore-cleansing vacuum helps to loosen and extract blackheads and excess oil from deep within your pores.

Find out more about Isolaz



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