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The deal on blackheads

Published: Thu November 13, 2014
Categories: Top 5 Advice

Blackheads tend to occur on the area of the face due to more oil or sebum being produced in these areas. Comedones, commonly referred to as blackheads, occur where there are active sebaceous glands.

The sebaceous gland is attached to a hair follicle and is known collectively as the pilosebaceous unit. Fine hairs reside in the hair follicle to act as a ‘wick” for sebum to allow lubrication and protection to the outer layers of the skin. This explains why some skins are prone to breakouts after hair removal as the follicle has no wick to direct the sebum to the surface of the skin.

When there is a malfunction of the pilosebaceous unit due to genetics, environmental factors or application of comodeogenic skincare ingredients, an excess of sebum can build up in the follicle. This sebum combines with an accumulation of dead skin cells and forms a waxy plug. The sebum and lipids at the opening of the follicle become oxidised when in contact with air, turning dark in colour and this is what we commonly refer to as a black head.

Top tips to reduce or remove blackheads

Regular exfoliation
Exfoliating daily with hydroxy acids such as glycolic or lactic will prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells within the follicle therefore keeping blackheads at bay.

Scrub Away
For stubborn blackheads, a hydroxy acid based scrub allows for an extra thorough exfoliation by loosening dead skin cells and mechanically removing them. Use Skinstitut Glycolic Scrub x 3 week for clear, smooth skin.

Avoid comodogenic ingredients
- Bronzing powders, blush, spray tans, foundations, tinted moisturisers and some chemical SPF’s such as Avobenzone can worsen blackheads.
- Brightly coloured lip liners, lipsticks and glosses can be attributed to blackheads around the lip line
- Choose mineral based make up to avoid the use of artificial make up dyes
- Make up primers that are heavy silicone based or feel velvety in texture are also know to aggravate blackheads and break outs. If you are using a primer and finding congestion appearing on your skin it may be time to try a new brand.

See a professional
Monthly deep cleansing treatments such as steam facials, extractions and microdermabrasion treatments are the best way to remove blackheads and keep congestion at bay. 
Do not attempt to remove blackheads at home. Excessive squeezing and picking at the skin can result in more trauma and skin damage. Hyperpigmentation, pitting and scarring can result.
So there we have it, with a little bit of skin TLC and use of the correct products blackheads will be banished for good.

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