Blackheads are created by the overproduction of sebum in the skin which blocks the hair follicle, much the same as a white head, however, in this case, the sebum oxidises which changes the colour to black. They are a very common skin complaint and can appear anywhere, although most people will get them on the nose, chin, face and back. There are many products on the market which can help to get rid of blackheads, and also claim to stop them occurring. However, it is important to remember that this form of low-grade acne needs to be treated differently for each individual. If you are concerned about these, seek personalised advice from a reputable expert.
As tempting as it may be, it is important not to squeeze or pick your blackheads. By doing so, the area can get infected and the infection and/or the trauma of squeezing could cause scarring. You can buy over the counter products such as glycolic washes and these can work very well as a stand-alone treatment or combined with treatments that we carry out in our St. Albans clinic.
This is an effective treatment for acne and in particular, blackheads and whiteheads. Isolaz uses light energy and works with a gentle “vacuum” to remove excess dirt from the pores. The gentle vacuum temporarily opens the treated pores and carefully pulls out some of the debris inside the pore. Once the pore has been emptied, this pain-free treatment then releases a blue light into the pore and onto the surrounding skin to kill the bacteria which is one of the causes of acne. It is recommended to have a course of 4-6 treatments, depending on the severity of your acne, for the best results. As with all acne treatments, ongoing treatment may be needed.
These AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) peels are often a very effective remedy against blackheads. They work by weakening the bonds between cells on the top layer of the skin, effectively removing that top layer of dead skin cells which can contribute to the blocked pores that cause blackheads. How often the treatment is done, will depend on your skin type. But the AHA is not strong enough to deeply penetrate the skin, making it safe to do every 2-4 weeks typically. It’s worth keeping in mind that sometimes if there are underlying spots in your skin, glycolic can bring them to the surface more quickly than if they were to develop naturally; however, our clients who have acne will be on a skincare regime that will help them manage this if it occurs.
Much like glycolic, salicylic (beta hydroxy acid – BHA) works on the top layer of your skin, working its way to softening and dissolving keratin, which is known to block pores and cause blackheads. In addition, salicylic is also part of the aspirin family, which means that you get the benefit of mild anti-inflammatory which may help your blemishes swiftly heal, feel less painful and reduce in size. You should see results after just one treatment, but for best results, 3-6 treatments over a period of time are recommended. Salicylic acid peels may be more drying than glycolic peels and therefore may be better suited to those with oily skin.
We understand that any level of acne can be stressful and can cause anxiety and a loss of self-confidence. We are here to help and offer a consultation with one of our medical team to discuss your options and find the best course of treatment for you.
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