Blackheads are marked by small bumps that appear on the skin form clogged hair follicles. The oil that clogs the follicles comes from the sebaceous glands. The bumps, which are darkened, are known as blackheads because of their appearance.
Blackheads are a mild form of acne that usually are seen on the face. However, they may also appear on other parts of the body. These body parts may include the chest, neck, arms, shoulders, or back. Acne is a common disorder, especially among teens.
Signs and Symptoms of Blackheads
Symptoms are not normally associated with blackheads. Blackheads emerge from another skin condition or the over-production of oil. Most of the time, the small black dots are not harmful. They can be an annoyance because of the way they look. Because blackheads are often associated with puberty, the issue will normally resolve itself over time.
Causes of Blackheads
Blackheads form when a plug or clog develops in the open of a hair follicle in the skin. Each follicle contains a strand of hair and a sebaceous gland that produces the oil. The oil, which is called sebum, is designed to keep the skin soft.
When the oil collects with dead skin cells, in the follicle opening, a bump is formed that is called a comedo. If the comedo remains closed, it is called a whitehead. When the skin over the comedo is exposed to the air, the comedo turns dark and a blackhead is the result.
Your chance of getting blackheads increases by the following factors:
- The body produces too much oil.
- The buildup of bacteria in the form of propionibacterium acne develops on the skin.
- Irritation of the hair follicles caused by the non-shedding of the dead skin cells regularly.
- Undergoing a hormonal change that increases sebum production. This can occur as the result of menstruation or when taking birth control pills.
- Certain drugs are taken such as androgens, corticosteroids, or lithium.
While some people believe that certain foods can cause blackheads, experts in the field often do not agree. Some of the foods that people believe cause acne include dairy products or foods containing carbohydrates.
Facts about Blackheads
- Because blackheads are dark, they are easy to see. The pimples are slightly raised but are not painful. That is because they do not become inflamed like pimples. Pimples often form when bacteria invade the clog in the follicle, all which leads to inflammation and redness.
- Blackheads are treated in one of various ways. They often are treated with over-the-counter acne medications. These medications can be purchased online or in the drug store or grocery store. The drugs contain ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, or salicylic acid. These ingredients work by killing the acne and drying up the excess oil. They also force the skin to get rid of the buildup of dead skin cells.
- Prescription medicines are used to treat acne if the OTC treatments do not work. A doctor may prescribe a topical medication that contains antibiotics and benzoyl and antibiotics. If a patient has acne cysts along with blackheads, the topical treatment can prove to be helpful.
- Microdermabrasion is used by some dermatologists or doctors to treat blackheads. This type of treatment entails the use of a tool that contains a roughened surface to sand the top tiers of the skin. Sanding removes the clogs that lead to the formation of blackheads.
- Manual removal is used to get rid of blackheads. Only qualified dermatologists should practice this procedure. Manual removal entails the use of a specialized instrument called a round loop extractor. It is used to remove the clog that is forming the blackhead. A small opening is made in the plug before the physician applies the pressure needed to remove the offending acne.
- Chemical peels are used to remove blackheads and aid the patient by getting rid of the dead skin cells. During the therapy, a strong chemical is applied to facial area or skin. Over a time, the top tiers of the skin begin to peel and reveal a softer and smoother skin. Mild peels can be purchased in a store, while a stronger peel must be performed by a dermatologist.
- Laser therapy is performed to get rid of blackheads by decreasing the production of sebaceous oil or killing the bacteria. The laser’s light reaches below the skin’s surface to treat the blackhead without damaging the surface layer.
Essential Oils for Blackheads
Essential oils make the treatment of blackheads easier, as they can be applied in the comfort of a patient’s home. This alternative treatment helps a patient reduce the costs associated with blackhead methods of removal. It is recommended by both alternative health practitioners and some doctors.
Essential oils make it possible for a patient with blackheads to resolve his or her skin dilemmas earlier than expected. These oils work because they care concentrated extracts of plant parts, such as roots, flowers, stems, and leaves. They are not only potent, but contain a number of healing properties including antibacterial actions. The following oils can be used to remedy a problem with blackheads and acne.
The Best essential Oils for Treating Blackheads
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is derived from Austrailia’s tea tree otherwise known as melaluca alternifolia. The oil has excellent antimicrobial properties. In fact, this oil is said to be just as effective as the commercial ingredient benzoyl peroxide. The astringent properties of the oil keep the skin from producing addition sebum, which clogs the pores and leads to acne.
A number of studies into the effectiveness of tea tree essential oil have demonstrated that it contains excellent antimicrobial properties including antibacterial and anti-fungal activities. (1) These antimicrobial properties make tea tree oil the ideal natural treatment for blackheads helping to clear away bacteria and preventing the blackheads from becoming larger skin blemishes.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular and versatile essential oils on the market. It is widely used to treat a range of physical and emotional issues and is also an excellent essential oil for your skin. Lavender oil is very gentle acting and rarely causes any sort of allergic reaction. In fact, lavender essential oil is one of the very few essential oils that can be applied to the skin undiluted.
This oil provides strong cleansing properties that keep the skin free from sebum, dirt, and other pollutants, all of which can easily block the process. Lavender essential oil also contains excellent, natural antibacterial properties that are excellent for treating skin infections, acne and blackheads. This wonderful oil lives up to its name, as its name is derived from the Latin word, “lavare,” which means “to cleanse.”
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This essential oil is highly antiseptic and works much the same way as tea tree oil in getting rid of acne. Its astringent properties keep the skin free of the oils that clog the pores and lead to the formation of blackheads.
Eucalyptus essential oil also helps to balance the excess sebum in the skin which prevents blackheads from forming. Add a few drops of this wonderful oil to your regular cleansing lotion or moisturizer and use it daily as part of your skin care routine..
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is an ideal remedy for getting rid of blackheads. Lemon essential oil’s natural astringent properties make it great for getting rid of excess sebum in oil skin. Its antiseptic properties also ward off the germs that lead to the formation of acne.
When it comes to citrus oils, you should take care. Lemon essential oil is known to be photosensitive meaning that it can increase your risk of burning when your skin is exposed to sunlight. If you apply lemon oil to your skin, you should wait at least 24 hours before exposing that area of your skin to the sun.
Juniper Berry Essential Oil
This oil is extracted from needle-like leaves, as well as berries. When it is extracted from the berries, it is noted as being more potent. Juniper berry oil has astringent and antiseptic properties, both which are great for getting rid of blackheads.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil is extraction through a steam distillation process. The oil which is extracted from the flowering herb is well known for its soothing, cooling sensation in the skin but it can also help cleanse the skin and prevent the formation of blackheads.
Its name comes from a Latin word that means “clear.” The oil not only clears up blackheads, but is known for its ability to clear the vision. To use this wonderful, floral oil just add a few drops of it to your regular skin cleansing lotion or your moisturizer.
Tangerine Essential Oil
This oil is popularly used for skin care treatments. It is known as a natural astringent and is super helpful for getting rid of oily skin, whiteheads, and blackheads. Tangerine essential oil also has antimicrobial properties that can help cleanse the skin and prevent those nasty blackheads from taking a hold.
Like lemon essential oi, tangerine oil may cause the skin to become irritated and burned if your skin is exposed to the sunlight. Make sure that you do not expose the skin to direct sunlight for at least 24 hours after applying it.
Peppermint Essential Oil
While peppermint oil has a number of wonderful uses, it is rarely used as a skin treatment. Peppermint essential oil is more widely used to freshen the breath and soothe muscular pain than it is on the skin but it contains many of the properties that suggest it could work well in dealing with blackheads and acne.
Peppermint essential oil contains menthol which acts as a natural skin cleanser while it also has excellent antiseptic and antibacterial actions that help fight the bacteria known to cause blackheads and acne. (2) It also has excellent anti-inflammatory actions that help reduce irritation and inflammation.
Peppermint essential oil is very powerful and should always be diluted well. You can combine it with a carrier oil. Alternatively, just add a few drops to your regular cream or moisturizer and use them as normal.
Myrtle Essential Oil
The leaves of the myrtle plant were used to wash and cleanse the skin in the 1500s because of their astringent properties. They keep the skin free of excess oils and are ideal when used as a skin tonic and astringent.
How to Use Essential Oils for Blackheads
When using essential oils, use them with a carrier oil to dilute them. They should be used as a skin tonic to treat a blackhead problem. Once you mix the desired oils with a carrier oil, apply the oil directly on the blackheads. You can also use the oils in a spray with a carrier oil and water.
Another option is to add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to your regular skin lotion, cleanser or moisturizer and use them daily.
By applying the oils directly on the skin, you can experience their healing properties more quickly. Should you wish to bathe in the oils, you can do so as well. Add a mix of the oils with a carrier oil, and enjoy them with Epsom salts in the bath water.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
Choose a carrier oil, such as almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil. Any of these oils will dilute the essential oil so that it will be safe to use. When applying an EO directly to the skin, always add a carrier oil. If you apply the EO directly, you may burn or irritate your skin. To avoid this problem, always add a carrier oil or add a few drops to your regular skin cleansers and moisturizers.
If you wish to avoid using commercial products, or over-the-counter medications for clearing your skin of blackheads, you can always use one of various essential oils. To make a blend of essential oils, add a few drops of each of the desired oils with a carrier oil or just add a few drops to your regular cleansers and moisturizers. Place the blend in an amber colored bottle and store it until you are ready to use it, either directly or in the bath.
Using essential oils makes it possible for you to treat a blackhead problem organically. Using a natural product makes it easier for you to manage an issue with acne. If you use the oils regularly, you will see good results. You just need to use them regularly to achieve the outcome you want. By taking this approach, you will be happy with the overall results.