Blackheads are a mild and common form of acne that usually appear on the face, but can also be found on the neck, back, chest, arms, and shoulders. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is the most common skin disorder in the United States.
Blackheads are caused by clogged hair follicles. Dead skin and oils can collect in the follicle, which produces a bump called a comedone. When the bump stays closed, it is called a whitehead. When it opens up and becomes exposed to air, it will look black, hence the name blackhead. Blackheads are easily recognizable due to their dark color. They are slightly raised but not painful or inflamed like pimples.
Factors that increase the risk of developing blackheads:
- Excessive body oil
- Certain drugs such as corticosteroids, lithium, or androgens
- Hormonal changes such as puberty, menstruation, or taking birth control pills
There is a variety of treatment options for blackheads, some are available over the counter, and others can be prescribed by Dr. Grayman.
There are many different medications available at your local drug store that can help eliminate blackheads. Creams, gels, and pads that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol all work to kill bacteria, dry up the excess oil, and help shed dead skin cells.
If your blackheads do not respond to over the counter options, Dr. Grayman can prescribe stronger prescription medications. These help to keep plugs from forming in the hair follicles. If you also have painful pimples or acne cysts, she may prescribe an antibiotic as well.
Medical Facial Procedures
Dr. Grayman may recommend one of several different medical facial procedures to help get rid of blackheads. Microdermabrasion “sands” out the outermost layers of skin, which can remove blackhead-causing clogs. Chemical peels applied to the skin can also help remove dead skin cells and clogs.
Dr. Grayman can use a specialized tool called a round loop extractor that actually makes a small opening in the blackhead-causing plug. Combined with applied pressure, the extractor is able to remove the clog.
If you are suffering from acne, call our office today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Grayman will take the time to evaluate your issues and recommend a course of action to remove your blackheads and help clear up your skin.