Blackheads, whiteheads, clogged pores. There’s no doubt you haven’t heard about (and likely dealt with) all of these before. But what’s the difference between them? And most importantly how do you treat them?
While whiteheads are a little easier to distinguish, many people come into the office with complaints of blackheads and then point to normal pores. That’s right, blackheads and clogged pores aren’t the same thing.
Whiteheads: Whiteheads are a pore that is completely clogged and closed at the surface. Whiteheads tend to be clogged with an oily substance called sebum, have a white appearance, and most commonly evolve into pimples.
Blackheads: Blackheads are technically a form of acne. They form when a pore is only partially clogged. Therefore, it allows some of the trapped sebum to slowly drain to the surface. And the black color? It’s caused by the oxygen in the air as it reacts to the exposed pore.
Clogged Pores: Clogged pores can look similar to blackheads, however the treatment of them is slightly different and are not considered a form of acne. Derms call these clogged poses “sebaceous filaments”. They occur when the oil lining the follicle in a pore causes it to look larger. Many people are sensitive to their pore size and believe them to be blackheads, however this is not true.
Overall, whether your trying to treat whiteheads, blackheads, or clogged pores – good at home skincare is where to start. For blackheads specifically, it’s important to use products that are exfoliating. Paying extra attention to the blackhead areas. Giving them a good scrub will help dissolve the plug causing the blackhead. Similarly, with whiteheads, it’s important to treat that acne so further issues don’t occur. Cleansers, such as Revisions Brightening Wash, with salicylic and glycolic acid will really help dry out that acne. Clogged pores are a little bit more tricky. Pore size is largely determined by genetics- meaning shrinking them by a significant amount is challenging. However, you can keep oil buildup under control using a retinoid (we really like Skinbetter Science’s AlphaRet) and cleansers (with salicylic and glycolic).
As for in-office treatments, regular facials or at least a steam and extraction sessions will help to keep pores clear. If you’re looking for more intensive treatment plans, micro-needling, pixel resurfacing, and chemical peels are all amazing procedures to help with acne, texture, and pore size.
Important Note: We get it, these various clogged pores are annoying, but trying to extract them yourself is not okay! First off, squeezing blackheads, whiteheads, or clogged pores risks tearing the walls of the pores and can cause the bacteria inside to spread. Second, it can possibly cause scarring. Leave the extracting to the professionals!
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