Pretty much everyone has blackheads, or tiny dark spots on their skin, especially on the face. But what are they and how do they form? And most importantly, how can you avoid them or get rid of blackheads?

Blocked Pores

Much like acne, blackheads form when the pores get blocked. Skin pores bring oil to the surface of your skin, hydrating it and bringing nutrients. This oil also lubricates and protects the skin and hair.

When there is an excess of oil, skin cells, or contaminates, the pore can become blocked. When pores can’t clean themselves out, black dots start to appear.

Why Black?

When this debris or blockage is exposed to air, it turns black. This process is called oxidation. If skin covers that area, and infected pus enters the equation, you have a zit, and the area is no longer black.

A common misconception is that the black or dark spots are pores that are clogged with dirt. This is not the case. This myth probably exists because of the many advertisements for products that claim to “wash away dirt.”

Getting Rid of Blackheads

It might be tempting to spend an hour in front of the mirror squeezing blackheads, but this can actually make your skin worse. Remember, your hands carry a lot of bacteria and oil, and its best to not transfer that to the face.

Instead, get into a good habit of washing and moisturizing your face, so that the pores can do their job.

Treatment Options:

Fun Fact:
The technical word for blackhead is comedo. It comes from the Latin word for gluttony, which was used to describe parasitic worms. Can you think why that name would apply? Gross, we know.

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David Myers, MD
Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail will guarantee your satisfaction during your visit. If your needs are medical, cosmetic, or surgical, Utah Valley Dermatology can help.
David Myers, MD

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