The Mechanism behind Formation of Blackheads and Whiteheads
Our skin has pores which allow the flow of sebum (skin’s oil) to flow naturally to the surface of the skin to keep it smooth and hydrated. When the production of this natural oil is it normal level, it hydrates, protect and smoothen the skin. But when there is too much oil production due to hormonal imbalance, it can prove harmful for the skin.
In some people, the excessive oil gets stuck inside the skin’s pores and to make the matter worse, the dead skin on the surface of the skin cause additional blockage. From this stage onwards, the changes inside the skin can lead to the development of blackheads and whiteheads.
What are Blackheads?
Black heads are formed when the sebum, dirt and dead skin cells gets trapped in the open hair follicles and cause partial blockage in the sebaceous glands. The oil, debris and dead skin cells get stuck in the opening of the follicles. When this plugged oil moves towards the skin surface, it gets oxidized and turns black in colour. They usually appear on nose, chin or in the middle portion of forehead.
Symptoms of Blackheads
It is quite easy to locate blackheads which appear on your skin because they are usually dark in colour. Blackheads are slightly raised above the skin and do not cause any pain with yellowish or black colour.
What are Whiteheads?
The closed pustules which appear on the skin are called whiteheads. Whiteheads are formed when the oil, dead skin cells and bacteria gets trapped into the skin’s pores. Unlike the blackheads, the formation of whiteheads takes place under the closed surface of closed pores.
There is no definite age for the formation of whiteheads. However, they commonly accompany hormonal changes such as puberty, menopause, pregnancy and menstruation.
What are Comedones
The combined comedone is a combined term used for both white and blackheads. An open comedo is called blackhead while whiteheads are referred to as closed comedones.
Causes of Formation of Comedones
There are different causes of formation of comedones which include:
- A small hair stuck in follicle
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome in women
- Overuse of makeup, moisturizing creams or sunscreen
There are some other factors which may contribute towards increasing your possibilities of developing whiteheads and blackheads, which include;
- Production of too much body oil
- Acne bacteria buildup on the skin
- Inflammation and irritation inside the hair follicles when dead skin cells do not remove regularly from skin.
- The increase in skin’s oil production due to hormonal changes during the teenage, menstruation period, or due to taking birth control pills
- Intake of certain medications and drugs, such as corticosteroids, lithium, or androgens
The Commonly Affected Body Areas by Comedones
- Upper Chest