Blackheads – Causes and Prevention

Our skin releases sebum on a regular basis to prevent it from drying. Under specific circumstances,  there is spike in the production of sebum from skin pores.  Blackheads take place when the extra sebum gets deposited inside skin pores along with dirt and dead skin cells. These deposits take the form of tiny plugs and turn black in colour when they come in contact with air. These tiny plugs in skin pores are called blackheads.

Blackheads flourish in oil prone regions of skin such as face, back, arms and thighs. They greatly downplay facial beauty, if they appear on your face.  Forehead, nose and chin are the prominent locations on face where blackheads form. Unlike acne,  blackheads are painless and non-inflammatory in nature.

Blackheads CAUSES

Blackheads are caused by hardening of grime which gets collected inside skin pores. This grime is composed of sebum,  dead skin,  air pollutants and dirt. We have mentioned some factors that lead to build up of grime on skin surface.

Overactive Sebaceous Glands

One of the main reasons that trigger blackhead eruptions is overactive sebaceous glands. These glands are located inside skin pores. Their main function is to produce sebum for skin lubrication. When sebaceous glands become overactive,  they begin to produce excess sebum,  which gets accumulated on skin surface and clogs pores leading to blackheads.

Enlarged Pores

The size of skin pores plays a crucial role in development of blackheads.  Those who have enlarged pores are more prone to be afflicted with blackheads as all the sebum,  dirt and dead skin easily settles inside large pores.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Changes in hormone levels trigger blackheads.  Whenever there is spike in progesterone,  there is surge in sebum release. This increase in sebum production causes eruption of blackheads on skin.

Improper Skin Care

Blackheads can also suface if proper skin care routine is not practised. All that grime that accumulates on the skin needs to be cleansed regularly to prevent it from getting entrapped inside skin pores. If skin is not cleansed on a regular basis,  it may lead to development of blackheads.


If you use make up, your chances of getting blackheads manifold if you do not cleanse it properly.  Sleeping with makeup on your face increases your chances of contracting blackheads which have a likelihood of turning into acne.


Some blackheads appear as a side effect of certain medicines including anticonvulsants,  corticosteroids and contraceptives. These medicines alter the level of hormones in the body thereby resulting in excess sebum release which causes blackheads.


Blackheads are also attributed to environmental factors. If our skin remains exposed to smoke, chemicals and other pollutants constantly,  it may show up in the form of blackheads on skin.


Blackheads are mortifying for people who get this condition on their face. It is a common skin problem that troubles millions of people. This condition can be controlled to a large extent by practicing a regular skin care routine meant for your type of skin.


Cleansing your skin to rid it of the daily build up of grime is pivotal to prevent blackheads from flaring up. Follow a cleansing routine twice or thrice depending on the extent of sebum released on your skin. If you wear makeup,  it’s important to cleanse it before you sleep to prevent it from clogging skin pores.


Once you cleanse your skin of all harmful substances collected on its surface,  its important to tone your skin to remove any residue left on the skin from the cleanser and to tighten skin pores. This step is beneficial for shrinking enlarged pores that lead to formation of blackheads.


Moisturising your skin is crucial for prevention of blackheads, no matter what your skin type. If you have oily skin,  you can use a water based moisturizer to maintain ph levels of your skin.


The regeneration process of skin causes a build up of dead skin on its surface.  This layer of dead skin has to be removed to let the new skin breathe.  Exfoliating your skin with a mild scrub helps in removing dead skin and other residue collected on skin surface.  It also averts formation of blackheads.

Choosing Right Products

The products you incorporate in your skin care routine play an important role in  warding off blackheads. Use water based non-comedogenic products to keep blackheads at bay.

Facial Peels

Facial peels play a significant role in preventing blackheads.  They gently peel away impurities and dead skin tissue to reveal clear skin.  Choose facial masks and peels with alpha hydroxy acids or salicylic acid for skin prone to blackheads.


Before using a mask, steaming your face once in while will help in clearing deep seated grime from your skin pores and prevent the occurrence of black heads. It also softens blackheads which can then be removed easily with a blackhead removal tool.

About the Author

Harvey Lee is a health and beauty blogger and works with various industry leading health and beauty product 
brands e.g. Tagband USA: USA's leading brand for skin tag removal devices. He has an interest in building the 
knowledge and self – confidence of people who really want to improve their lives by following proper health 
guides and staying fit for life.

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