Blackheads are small bumps that appear mainly on the face, neck, back and chest. They are a mild form of acne that look like black dots on the skin’s surface. They are not painful because they are not inflamed unlike other types of acne.
An excess of oil produced by the sebaceous glands, mixed with dead skin cells, can lead the opening of hair follicles (pores) to become blocked.
This produces bumps called comedones. If the skin over the bump stays closed, whiteheads are formed. If the skin over the bump opens, and the oil and acne bacteria are oxidised, the material turns black and a blackhead is formed.
A common misconception is that blackheads are caused by trapped dirt due to the colour of the comedones. This is not the case.
Factors increasing the chances of developing acne and blackheads include hormonal changes or sensitivity to hormones which cause the sebaceous glands to produce oil. Prescription and non-prescription medicines and creams are available; however, some people opt for cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion or laser treatments to reduce blackheads.
If you relate to this condition but still feel unsure, at Harpenden Skin Clinic we are always here to help and advise patients on the best possible treatment journey performed by experienced clinicians.