You’ve likely noticed those tiny black, tan, or gray dots that often appear on the nose or chin. They’re a recurring problem for many individuals, and no matter how much prodding and extracting goes on behind closed bathroom doors, the small dots persist. Luckily, these imperfections are small and often visible to just you, or perhaps the rare individual who might be studying your skin from a distance of two inches. Albeit a small imperfection, on the quest to achieve your best skin ever you can certainly take steps to minimize the appearance of the pesky problem.
Are They Blackheads or Sebaceous Filaments?
First, what are these annoying imperfections? Our skin contains hundreds of thousands of pores and when they become filled with sebum (our natural skin oils), dead skin cells, and/or other artifacts like cosmetics, you’ll notice that pin-sized dots appear in a color often darker than your skin.
When the pore becomes clogged but is not exposed to air, it’s called a sebaceous filament. Once the clogged pore is exposed to air and the inside particles oxidize, then it is officially called a blackhead. At this point, the clogged pore takes on a darker, blacker color. If you care to know the nature of your particular clogged pores, Paula’s Choice explains the difference: “blackheadshave a plug-like appearance when extracted, whereas sebaceous filaments more closely resemble a free-flowing column of wax-like sebum (sort of like a strand) as they are squeezed out.” Not a pretty picture.
Unlike many forms of acne, neither blackheads or sebaceous filaments are painful. If anything, they’re simply unsightly and prevent the appearance of smooth, evenly toned skin.
How to Get Rid of Clogged Pores
Since sebaceous filaments/blackheads are essentially pores with gunk inside them, the best way to eliminate them is to first remove the blockage and then take steps prevent further clogging.
1. Clay Masks Utilizing clay masks is key when removing buildup in the skin. Clays not only absorb oil but also can help to extract pores, drawing out impurities. Clays also tighten the skin, making the pores smaller. Due to this, pores that have been stretched out due to having material inside them can return to a smaller size.
Our Recommendation: LuRey Pore Minimizing Clay Maskis a skin-perfecting treatment that when used on a weekly basis helps to remove pore-clogging buildup and excess sebum.
2. Physical Exfoliation Physically exfoliating the skin can help to remove dead skin cells and smooth out the skin’s surface. Using a gentle exfoliant that also moisturizes to rebalance the skin can guarantee ideal moisture levels. When skin is well-hydrated, it does not overproduce oil which can reduce the potential for blackhead formation.
Our Recommendation: LuRey Microdermabrasion Maskbuffs away imperfections for smoother skin. The mask moisturizes and balances the skin for a youthful, glowing complexion.
3. Chemical Exfoliation Using products that contain chemical exfoliating agents ensures that the product reaches deep within the pores to remove unwanted impurities. For stubborn blackheads deep within the hair follicles, using a gentle chemical exfoliant that contains glycolic acid or lactic acid can be very effective.
Our Recommendation: LuRey Glycolic Cleanseruses glycolic acid derived from sugar cane to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Meanwhile, Vitamin C and Japanese Green Tea provide antioxidant properties.
For those of us with larger pores and oily skin, we’re more susceptible to getting sebaceous filaments or blackheads. Despite going through extraction processes, blackheads often “refill shortly thereafter—around 30 days or less for those with very oily skin.” Luckily, by staying on top of exfoliation and #skindetoxying, we can take steps to minimize the appearance of pores for a smoother finish.