Home Remedies for Blackheads

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home remedies for blackheads

Acne is a common skin problem that brings about many different types of blemishes. When the openings of hair follicles become clogged with oil and other items, either a whitehead or a blackhead is the result. When blocked follicles are exposed to the surface of the skin, they become darkened in color. Often, people mistake this occurrence for dirt, but what you are seeing is actually the oxidation of oil that creates a small, blackened bump. Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies to consider for the treatment of this kind of acne that plagues so many.

What are Blackheads?

Blackhead is the common term given to the medical occurrence known as an “open comedo.” A comedo is a frequent sign of acne, which is characterized by a hair follicle that becomes compromised by dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil. There are two main types of comedos – open and closed. A closed comedo is known as a whitehead and may cause a visible inflammation on the skin, while a blackhead simply appears as a darkened accumulation of skin debris [1].

Normally, bacteria on the skin are quite common, as it thrives on oil, multiplies, and then affects surrounding tissues. Inflammation is often the result. When inflammation is situated at the surface of the skin, a pustule forms. When the inflamed tissue is deeply affected, a papule develops. This is what is known as a pimple. Seriously inflamed skin creates cysts. If the oil breaks through to the surface of the skin – a whitehead is the result. If the oil oxidizes (caused by oxygen in the air), the oil is no longer white, but turns black – creating a blackhead.blackhead-home-remedies

Causes of Blackheads

A variety of factors contribute to the development of blackheads – one of the three main types of acne. The excess production of oil in the sebaceous glands or the skin’s reaction to untreated dead skin cells may take place due to one of the following common causes of blackheads:

a) Genetic Predisposition:

Parents can increase the chances of their children suffering blackheads and other forms of acne by passing a genetic predisposition.

b) Hormonal Changes:

Males tend to suffer blackheads when their sexual hormones increase as a result of puberty. Women face blackheads quite irregularly when they are pregnant or just before they experience their menstrual cycle.

c) Makeup:

Oil-based cosmetics have the power to clog and block pores, making the development of blackheads much easier to take place.

d) Levels of Humidity:

Hot weather creates an environment where heavy sweating can cause clogged pores, which leads to blackhead formation.

e) Medication:

When a doctor prescribes a medication (such as those containing lithium or steroids), pores are more likely to become blocked, which is one of the main reasons blackheads surface.

Risk Factors

At some point in time, everyone will face acne-ridden skin, including the darkened spots caused by blackheads. Despite this inevitable occurrence, some people are more prone than others to suffering a higher incidence of this unwanted skin condition. A few risk factors include:

a) Age:

Between the ages of 12 and 24, acne is most common and about 85% of people in this age group will become frequent victims.

b) Gender:

Although both males and females suffer blackheads, men are more likely to suffer the most damaging and longer-lasting forms of this highly undesirable skin condition. With women, their monthly menstrual cycles and ability to become pregnant place them in a higher category for experiencing intermittent blackhead and acne attacks.

c) Improper Facial Cleaning:

When the face has not been properly cleaned, the chances of suffering blackheads greatly increase. This is because dead skin cells gather in the pores, clogging the follicle opening and promoting the buildup of oil [2].

d) Greasy Hair Care Products:

Using oily hair care products on a daily basis affect the skin, as hair touching the face can increase oil buildup. Some of the most common places to see blackheads due to greasy hair care include the forehead, around the ears, and the cheeks.

e) Moisturizers, Foundations & Sunscreen:

Using an excessive amount of these products will clog pores, increasing the chances of suffering blackheads.

f) Stress:

When stress starts to take over your life, you may pay less attention to your personal hygiene and may inadvertently cause blackheads to surface through your neglect.

g) Hot Climate:

When you live in a location that undergoes high levels of humidity, increased perspiration can encourage clogged pores, which often leads to acne.

Home Remedies for Blackheads

There are many different acne remedies found at the local grocery store or pharmacy, which often contain irritating ingredients that can cause discomfort and inflammation to the face. Some of the contents of common acne medications are too harsh for the skin. Before seeking a mild over-the-counter product, consider some of the home remedies that make treating blackheads safe, effective, and highly accessible:

a) Well-Balanced Diet:

Consuming a diet that consists of healthy foods helps combat some of the excessive accumulation of oil in the body [3]. It is recommended to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables added to in your diet, trying to include at least five servings each.

b) Pillowcase Changes:

It is suggested to frequently change your pillowcases, as this decreases the amount of oil buildup, which can clog your pores while your sleep throughout the night. Some people even change their pillowcases every night (or more realistically every two to three days). This helps ease the frequency of blackhead outbreaks.

c) Shower Steam Facials:

When taking a shower, shut all doors and shower with the hottest possible water temperature you can stand. The steam will open up pores and loosen blackheads.

d) Toothpaste:

A well-known home remedy for disturbed blackheads is to apply toothpaste to blemishes before going to bed. It is important to use pastes and not gel-based products.

e) Salty Water:

Washing the face two times per day with warm salty water helps to keep the face free from excess oil without agitating blackheads.

f) Oatmeal:

Some people ease the sight of blackheads by applying prepared oatmeal to the face, which also acts as a decent exfoliate to remove the dead skin cells that cause clogged pores in the first place.

g) Epsom Salt [4]:

To remedy blackheads, add one teaspoon of Epsom Salt to three drops of iodine and ½ cup of boiling water. After allowing the solution to cool, moisten strips of cotton and apply to clogged pores. This should be repeated three or four times – reheating the solution if necessary. This will gently unclog pores. Finish by applying an alcohol-based astringent.

[1] http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10439
[2] http://www.health-disease.org/skin-disorders/blackheads.htm
[3] http://www.acne-resource.org/acne-skin-care/what-causes-blackheads.html
[4] Joey Green’s Amazing Kitchen Cures by Joey Green (pg. 2)