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What ARE Blackheads?

July 11, 2017

"Blackheads are a feature of acne, a common skin condition that involves lesions frequently referred to as pimples, spots, zits, whiteheads or blackheads. Blackheads are a specific kind of dark acne lesion, so-called because they contain oxidized melanin, the pigment made by skin cells called melanocytes.


The reasons for the development of blackheads and the best strategies against them are not well known, but answers can be found in the easy-to-understand information in this article.


The pores of the skin are known physiologically as pilosebaceous units - the hair follicles and their accompanying sebaceous glands, which secrete the oily substance sebum. Sebum has a protective role in the skin, helping to keep it supple and hydrated. When sebum is overproduced, however, it can form plugs in the pores by clumping with epidermal cells that shed from the skin. The plugs are known as comedones, with black-headed comedones known as open comedones; white-headed comedones (so-called whiteheads) are known as closed comedones. Blackheads are open to the air; the plug turns black because the sebum becomes oxidized, whereas whiteheads are not open to the air.


To wrap up, here's a quick list of blackhead causes. Being armed with this information may help you understand how blackheads form and, too, that the reason behind it isn't always under your control. 


Causes of Blackheads:


  • The sebaceous glands overproduce sebum (and skin cell overgrowth may also be a factor)

  • The excess sebum clumps together with dead skin cells and blocks the hair follicle (the base and canal in the skin from which a hair grows)

  • The open comedone exposes this plug of sebum to the air, resulting in oxidation of the oily, waxy substance, turning it a black color.

​For a skin analysis or consultation, contact Smoothe Denver at 303-909-1905 or book a service online here

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