5 things to know about blackheads & whiteheads
Ever look in the mirror and see black or white bumps staring back at you? We call these annoyances white or blackheads, but medically they are known as comedones. Don’t worry – this pesky accumulation of dead skin cells can be removed and is avoidable. Here are five things you need to know about them, and how to get rid of them.
- What are comedones?
No, they are not pores that are just clogged! These little bumps mark the beginning of acne, also called pimples or zits. If you have wondered why your skin’s texture isn’t smooth but rather grainy – you could actually be experiencing the mildest grade of acne.
Your blackheads may get removed through regular cleansing or mild scrubbing, while whiteheads may stay dormant or develop into zits if they aren’t attended to.
- Why do they show up?
Comedones are the result of closed skin pores that usually occur when the wrong products are used for your specific skin type.
Products like thick creams, oil-based makeup, face packs (especially ones used as home remedies – containing multani mitti, honey, or sandalwood), gels, hair mousse, and hair oil may give rise to comedones especially if the products are left on for longer.
If you have oily skin, you’re likely prone to them. They can also pop up around puberty due to hormonal surges.
For any skin or hair issue, getting professional guidance is always the best bet!
Medical professionals and certified dermatologists would be the best people to guide you and in fact, these days you do not even have to visit the clinic as you can get your personal doctor online. (Who would have thought that diet and fitness would go online? SQUATS changed the game altogether!)
One such clinic is ‘Remedico health‘ which provides online skin and hair consultation. You just need to send your pictures and communicate with your doctor online to share your problems. They send you a personal treatment plan and support you throughout.
- How do you manage them?
Following an appropriate skin care routine and the right habits is key. Opting for degreasing or oil controlling cleansers is a great option, along with gently exfoliating once in 7-10 days with a mild scrub.
Long days can be tough but don’t let sweat, dirt or oil stay on your face or scalp for long hours. Clean your face and shampoo your hair if you sweat a lot; such as after a workout – this is really important.
- What should you avoid?
Overzealous scrubbing can cause problems for your skin. It breaks down the epidermal barrier, the top layer of the skin, leaving an open entry point for dirt and grease. This can then cause comedones to pop up.
Keep your nails away from them, unless you want them inflamed, or you could risk turning them into zits. To make things worse, when that zit heals, you may develop a scar to show for the struggle.
Avoid leaving oil in your hair overnight, as the oil can drip down your face, leading to clogging of pores. And never sleep with makeup on – wash it away gently with a water-based cleanser.
Steam opens up pores and makes extraction a lot simpler, but if done frequently it leaves more pores open – this makes you susceptible to comedones. It is actually better to avoid steam altogether and get the comedones extracted by a medical professional instead of a temporary salon clean up.
Toners are hyped because they can keep your face oil-free, but most of them contain alcohol, which strips the skin of its natural moisture. This causes damage to the top layers of the skin, making it vulnerable to allergies and infections.
- When should you see a doctor?
If the comedones are multiple, recurrent, chronic or deep-seated, it’s best to get a checkup done. A dermatologist may prescribe medicated applications, extraction and/or oral therapy, depending on your skin.
For more information about how to look after your skin & hair, or if you’d like to get a treatment plan from a certified dermatologist all from your phone, check out www.remedicohealth.com/
Fitmag readers can avail a 30% discount on the above link.
Dr. Ankita Sawant (MBBS, DDV)
Dermatologist/Co-Medical Director at Remedico