What are Blackheads?
Blackheads are minuscule bumps found on the skin that appear when a hair follicle becomes clogged with sebum and debris. Blackheads are a mild form of acne lesion that can appear all over the body. Generally you’ll find blackheads on the face, but they can also be seen on the back, shoulders, neck, chest, and arms. There are several different answers to the age-old question: how are blackheads formed?
What is a Blackhead and Why do Blackheads Occur?
Blackheads occur when pores become clogged. Each pore on your skin—referred to medically as pilosebaceous units—contains a hair follicle and sebaceous (oil) gland. This sebaceous gland is tasked with producing sebum, an oily substance designed to keep the skin hydrated and soft. An excess of sebum production can result in a plug at the top of the pore, and when a plug is formed, sebum will build up, catching and collecting dead skin cells and bacteria on its way. This can result in a comedo, which refers to single acne lesion, and this comedo can either be open or closed.
Blackheads are one of two types of comedones. A blackhead refers to an open comedone, in which the plug of a clogged pore is open to the air on the surface of the skin. Unlike pimples, blackheads are not painful because there is less inflammation involved with this type of comedo blockage.