Blackheads - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Blackheads - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Blackheads - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Blackheads are small bumps in the pores of the skin that are the cause of acne. Blackheads are generally found on the skin of the face, but can also appear on other parts of the body, such as the shoulders, chest, back, or arms

Blackheads are divided into blackheads (blackheads) and whiteheads. The surface of whiteheads is covered with a layer of skin and is white. While the surface of blackheads is exposed and exposed to air so that the color changes to brown or black.


Blackheads do not cause pain, unless they are infected. This infection can cause the skin to become red and swollen, causing acne to appear. Both black and white blackheads have the potential to become acne.

Cause Blackheads

Blackheads form when dead skin cells and oil build up and clog skin pores. The oil itself is produced by the oil glands (sebum) in the pores.

There are several factors that make a person more prone to blackheads, including:

  • Unhe althy diet, such as a lot of sugar, flour and cheese intake
  • Increased number of bacteria on the surface of the skin due to lack of skin hygiene or decreased immune system
  • Irritation of skin pores, for example from washing your face harshly, as well as side effects of peeling or laser treatment
  • Changes in hormones, for example during puberty and menstruation, which cause oil production to increase
  • Consumption of certain drugs, such as corticosteroids
  • The skin is too moist, either due to the use of moisturizer on the skin's surface or because the air is too humid
  • Exposure to chemicals in cosmetic products, such as isopropyl myristate or propylene glycol
  • Consumption of foods or drinks with high sugar and fat content
  • Smoking habit

Blackhead Symptoms

White and black comedones usually do not cause symptoms. However, if the skin becomes inflamed due to bacteria entering the pores, the blackheads will become pimples which can cause pain or itching.

Based on their appearance, blackheads have open pores. The top of this blackhead is exposed to air and oxidized so that the color turns black.

Meanwhile, whiteheads have a closed surface. The appearance of these blackheads is like small white dots.

When to see a doctor

Everyone must have blackheads even if only occasionally. Generally, blackheads will heal with over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed blackhead removal products.

Immediately consult a doctor if blackheads appear continuously and develop into inflammation that causes acne. Also consult a doctor if blackheads spread widely so that they interfere with appearance and cause discomfort.

Blackhead Diagnosis

The doctor will do a physical examination to determine blackheads or whiteheads. Additional tests will be performed if the blackheads are accompanied by pain or inflammation that develops into a pimple.

Blackhead Treatment

Blackheads can be treated with over-the-counter blackhead remover products. However, if the product is not effective, the doctor will prescribe a cream that contains a special ingredient. In addition to drugs, doctors can also perform other actions.

The following is an explanation of the method for dealing with blackheads:


A number of drugs that can be used to treat blackheads are:

  • Over-the-counter medication

    Over-the-counter cream containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and resorcinol, is used to treat mild to moderate blackheads.

  • Prescription medications

    Blackhead removers containing tazarotene, tretinoin, or adapalene must be prescribed by a doctor. This drug works to prevent clogged pores and accelerate skin cell turnover.

  • Antibiotic cream

    Blackheads that become infected and turn into pimples or boils can be treated with creams containing antibiotics.

Other therapies

In addition to the drugs above, doctors can also take other actions to treat blackheads, namely:

  • Manual method

    Doctors can use a special tool called a loop extractor to remove blackheads manually.

  • Laser therapy

    Laser therapy can reduce excess oil production on the skin and kill bacteria that cause acne and boils.

  • Chemical peeling

    Peeling uses a chemical prescribed by a doctor to exfoliate the outer layer of skin. After exfoliating, the blockage in the skin pores will be lifted and the skin surface will look smoother.

  • Microdermabrasion

    Microdermabrasion aims to clean the outermost surface of the skin. This procedure is carried out using a special tool that functions to remove the blockage that causes blackheads.

Blackhead Complications

If left untreated, blackheads run the risk of causing skin infections that cause pain and inflammation. Blackheads that are inflamed can develop into pimples or boils.

Blackhead Prevention

Blackheads can be prevented by washing your face regularly. Washing your face regularly can reduce oil and help exfoliate dead skin cells that can clog pores.

However, avoid washing your face too often because it can dry out the skin, and cause dead skin cells and oil to accumulate in the pores.

In addition to washing your face regularly, the appearance of blackheads can be prevented by doing the following ways:

  • Wash every day, especially if you have oily hair type, so that hair dirt doesn't cover the pores of your facial skin.
  • Keep hands and nails clean to avoid transferring dirt from hands and nails to the skin surface, especially the face.
  • Change pillowcases and sheets once a week to remove any remaining dirt and oil on the bed.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar and fat to reduce oil production on the skin.
  • Use skin care products to remove dead skin, such as products that contain scrubs or blackhead masks.
  • Use skin care products specifically for oily and non-comedogenic skin.
  • Clean facial cosmetics well before going to bed.

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