What are Blackheads?

Blackheads are a common skin concern that affects many individuals regardless of age or skin type. These small, dark spots are not only a form of mild acne but also a signal from our skin that requires immediate attention. In this comprehensive skin concerns guide, we explore deep into the world of blackheads, uncovering their causes, highlighting effective treatments, and offering preventative tips to keep blackheads at bay.

Blackheads, the pesky dark dots that often populate the nose, chin, and forehead, are the result of clogged hair follicles. The presence of blackheads on your skin signals the accumulation of oils, dirt, and dead skin cells. When exposed to air, the clogged material in the pores oxidizes, turning black, hence the term “blackheads.” Blackheads are not whiteheads or spots but are a mild type of acne. We have a variety of in clinic and at home treatment plans to help you clear your skin of blackheads.

black heads on skin
Blackheads formation

The Root Causes of Blackheads

Understanding what causes blackheads is crucial for effective treatment and prevention. Blackheads form when excess sebum (the skin’s natural oil) and dead skin cells accumulate and block the pores. Hormonal changes, especially during puberty, can increase sebum production, elevating the risk of blackheads. Furthermore, improper skincare routines or using comedogenic products can exacerbate the formation of blackheads.

Types of Blackheads

Blackheads will vary in size and depth and can be found most commonly around the face but also appear on the back and in some cases other parts of the body where our natural oils have clogged. On the face we most commonly find blackheads on and around the nose, chin, forehead and jawline.

Effective Treatments for  Blackheads

The battle against blackheads involves a combination of professional treatments and at-home care. Professional treatments for blackheads, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy, can significantly reduce their appearance by deeply cleansing the pores. At FTT Skin Clinics, we offer specialized treatments like the Obagi Blue Radiance Peel and LED therapy tailored for individuals struggling with blackheads.

Symptom Check

  • Dark, slightly raised bumps of the skin (usually smaller than whiteheads other types of spots).
  • Not tender or painful like whiteheads or spots.
  • Usually gather in small clusters.

What can we do to help?

As a medical skin care provider, we offer a full complimentary initial skin analysis with our medical skin experts to begin your skin health journey. We will assess, diagnose, treat and prescribe you through your bespoke skin journey treatment plan, as well as reviewing your skin concerns progress. Similar to forms of Acne, blackheads can be treated with a combination of in clinic treatments and a home products. FTT Skin Clinics Bespoke Facial treatments include our Obagi Blue Radiance Peel in which removes clogged dirt as well a clearing dead skin. LED Therapy for excess oil production, Extraction, Hydrofacial & our Carbon Laser which will reach and clear below the surface of the skin.

As well as building your bespoke treatment plan in clinic, we have our FTT Expert Skin Prescription Service to prescribe you with the right skin medication in more severe diagnoses cases. Your at home treatment plan is the bases for great skin health and success.

To some blackheads may not bother or irritate someone’s skin or appearance. However continuously clogged pores may cause further dirt build which can lead to other forms of acne.

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At Home Care to Prevent Blackheads

Preventing blackheads is achievable with a consistent and proper skincare routine. Incorporating non-comedogenic products into your daily regimen is essential to prevent further clogging of pores. Gently exfoliating the skin can remove dead skin cells and oils that contribute to blackheads. Moreover, using a clay mask once a week can help absorb excess oil, reducing the likelihood of blackheads forming.

The Importance of a Tailored Skincare Routine

A tailored skincare routine is vital in managing blackheads effectively. Since blackheads are a form of acne, it’s important to select products that address both acne and blackheads without over-drying the skin. Our team of experts can help design a bespoke at-home treatment plan, ensuring your skin receives the care it needs to remain clear and blackheads-free.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blackheads

Can diet affect blackheads?

Yes, diet plays a role in the formation of blackheads. High-glycemic foods can trigger hormonal fluctuations, leading to increased oil production. Incorporating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants can help manage blackheads.

Are blackheads the same as whiteheads?

No, blackheads and whiteheads are different. Blackheads are open comedones, meaning the pore is open, causing the sebum to oxidize and turn black. Whiteheads are closed comedones, where the pore is closed, trapping the sebum and dead skin cells inside.

Can squeezing blackheads make them worse?

Yes, squeezing or attempting to extract blackheads can lead to skin damage, scarring, and even more blackheads. Professional extraction by a skincare expert is recommended to safely remove blackheads.

How Often Should I Exfoliate to Prevent Blackheads?

Exfoliating is key to preventing blackheads by removing dead skin cells that can clog pores. However, over-exfoliation can irritate the skin and increase oil production, leading to more blackheads. It’s recommended to exfoliate 2-3 times a week with a gentle exfoliant suitable for your skin type.

Can Makeup Cause Blackheads?

Makeup can contribute to the formation of blackheads if it clogs the pores. To prevent blackheads, opt for non-comedogenic makeup products that are designed not to clog pores. Always ensure to thoroughly remove makeup before going to bed to let your skin breathe and prevent blackheads.

Are Blackheads a Sign of Poor Hygiene?

No, blackheads are not a sign of poor hygiene. They result from natural processes within the skin, such as oil production and dead skin cell accumulation. Maintaining a regular cleansing routine can help manage blackheads, but they can still occur regardless of how often you wash your face.

Do Blackheads Go Away on Their Own?

Some blackheads can eventually clear on their own as the skin naturally exfoliates and sheds dead skin cells. However, many blackheads require intervention through proper skincare routines, treatments, and sometimes professional extraction to be completely removed.

Is It Safe to Use Pore Strips for Blackheads?

Pore strips can provide immediate results by removing the top layer of blackheads, but they don’t prevent future blackheads from forming. Overuse can also irritate the skin. It’s better to use methods that address the root cause of blackheads, such as regular exfoliation and using retinol products.

Can Stress Cause Blackheads?

Stress doesn’t directly cause blackheads, but it can exacerbate acne and blackheads by increasing oil production through hormonal changes. Managing stress through lifestyle adjustments and relaxation techniques can indirectly help reduce blackheads.

What’s the Difference Between Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments?

Blackheads are clogged pores filled with oil and dead skin cells that have oxidized, turning black. Sebaceous filaments are normal, hair-like structures that help oil flow to the skin surface and usually appear as small, uniform dots on the nose and cheeks. Unlike blackheads, they are not a form of acne.

How Can I Tell If My Skincare Products Are Causing Blackheads?

If you notice an increase in blackheads after starting a new product, it may be comedogenic or irritating your skin. Look for products labeled non-comedogenic and monitor your skin’s reaction when introducing new products to identify potential culprits.

How Can I Prevent Blackheads on My Nose?

Preventing blackheads on the nose involves regular cleansing, exfoliating with salicylic acid to penetrate and clear the pores, and using non-comedogenic products. Also, consider using a retinol product at night to increase cell turnover and prevent clogged pores.


Blackheads, while a mild form of acne, require careful attention and management. Understanding the causes of blackheads and adopting a comprehensive treatment and prevention strategy is key to achieving clear, healthy skin. At FTT Skin Clinics, we are committed to providing personalized care and effective treatments for those looking to rid their skin of blackheads. Remember, the journey to clear skin begins with understanding and properly caring for your skin.

Remember, tackling blackheads is a process that involves patience, the right treatments, and a consistent skincare routine. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog, you can say goodbye to blackheads and hello to clear, radiant skin.

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