Blackheads are caused by the accumulation of skin particles, debris, excess skin pigment or melanin and sebum or oil on our skins surface. The dark color of a blackhead is not caused by poor hygiene or dirt; it is caused by the melanin.
The Formation Process that Causes Blackheads
Blackheads and pimples are formed in the same way. A blackhead is in actuality a pimple that formed in a pore that was too large to enable a protective layer of skin to form over it when it became clogged or infected. The body produces sebum oil. Its purpose is to waterproof and moisturize the skin. Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands to the hair follicles in our skin and through the pores. When there is too much sebum the pore becomes blocked and the sebum cannot exit the body onto the skin. The pore, as a result, becomes filled with dead skin cells and bacteria.
If it is a small hair follicle, a layer of skin forms over the top and begins to form a pimple. When this occurs in a larger hair follicle, the protective layer of skin is not able to form and the bacteria filled pore is exposed to air. The air causes oxidation and discoloration of the particles within the hair follicle and a blackhead is formed.
What Causes Blackheads and Acne
Some of the basic causes of blackheads and acne are hormones, genetics, medications, humidity, stress and environmental, physical factors. Some medications can alter the chemistry in the body. This can interfere with sebum production and cause a breakout. Cosmetics which are oil based can also contribute to blackhead and pimple formation. Although poor hygiene alone is not the cause of blackheads, it does contribute. Humidity causes people to perspire. When this sweat is combined with the oils on the skin there is a possibility for the pores to become blocked, and a blackhead to form.
Hormonal imbalance can lead to increased production of sebum. Testosterone or estrogen levels increase during puberty and at other times in our lives, such as during pregnancy. The increase of sebum leads to clogged pores and causes blackheads and pimples. Taking vitamin B6 can help to normalize hormone levels.
Treating and Preventing by Knowing What Causes Blackheads
Now that you are aware of what actually causes blackheads, you are better equipped to prevent and treat them. Wash your face morning and night, and also when you have been exposed to potential environmental substances. For instance, after the gym when you have worked up a sweat, or after you have come in from work in a factory and any other time you feel you may have gathered a layer of debris on your skin.
Check what medications you are taking with your doctor or pharmacists to see if they increase the production of sebum; there may be alternative medicine you can take. Change your makeup to a non oil based formula, and do not leave your makeup on overnight. There are products to minimize the size of your pores and reduce the sebum production on the market, check with your dermatologist to see if any of these are right for you.