Some Important Facts about Squeezing Blackheads
No matter how much information is out there about the effects of doing so, most people cannot resist squeezing blackheads and pimples. Although they are usually small imperfections on our skin, they loom large in the eyes of the one affected and the first reaction is to try and get rid of it quickly. Squeezing is likely doing more harm than good, however.
What are blackheads and how do they form?
Hair follicles are tiny openings in the skin that offer a way for hair to emerge. Within the follicles are sebaceous oil glands beneath the surface to lubricate the skin and hair above. Certain locations on the body have more oil glands than others, with the “T” on the face being one of these. The forehead, nose and chin have more of these glands per inch than on any other spot on the body. Babies, toddlers and young children have the smallest of follicles and pores, but as they approach the teenage years and puberty, the pores begin to expand to accommodate the increased amount of oil produced by the glands in response to hormonal surges. People whose bodies produce more oil will be troubled by the enlarging pores more than those with dry skin.
Follicles can easily become blocked when dead skin cells accumulate, keeping the excess oil or sebum from escaping. As the pore clogs with the extraneous oil, it takes on a yellowish or black appearance as the sebum interacts with air. There is often bacterium locked within the pore as well. This condition is called a blackhead, which is considered to be a type of acne. Acne is a condition that affects teenagers and adults alike, having more to do with oily skin than age.
When an unsightly black dot appears on your face, it may seem as though everyone’s eyes are automatically drawn to it. This leads the individual to try and get rid of it before anyone has the chance to see it. Their first response is to draw out the matter that is discoloring the follicle. Squeezing blackheads may eliminate the black dot, but it also has a great tendency to push the bacteria deeper into the follicle and cause inflammation and pain.
Blackheads are not caused from dirt, and therefore are not eliminated by excessive washing and scrubbing of the face. In fact, this can actually cause blackheads. Warm steam will help to loosen the sebum plug, which can be dislodged by gentle exfoliation. Clay masks are also helpful to draw out softened sebum. There are a number of commercial preparations designed to treat blackheads, including pore cleansing strips or blackhead extractors.
There are methods of lessening if not eliminating the possibility that blackheads will form that are much more effective than trying to get rid of the blackhead itself. The following are the best ways to prevent blackheads:
- Wash the area only twice per day, using a gentle cleanser
- Use only oil free cleaners and makeup on the face
- Choose an over the counter preparation designed to help dry excess oil from the skin; those that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid work best.
- Always remove makeup before going to bed. Clean makeup applicators regularly and discard old makeup.
- Always shower after performing a particularly strenuous activity to clean your body of oil and sweat that also can collect dirt and bacteria.
- Blackheads on the shoulders and back can be caused by tight fitting clothes or by tight straps. Wearing looser fitting clothes and avoiding straps when possible can help to cut back on acne.
Everyone wants to present a fresh, clean looking face to the public, so at the first sign of acne most cannot resist squeezing blackheads and pimples to quickly eliminate them. This usually only tends to aggravate the problem however. Following these steps for prevention and safe removal of acne can help to keep your complexion clear and blackhead free.