What are Blackheads & Why Do We Get Them? Blackheads 101

by Lorena Jimenez on Feb 14, 2019

We have talked about acne, we went over acne scars and now, it is time for us to face another very much feared subject, BLACKHEADS.Yes, you heard it right.Those pesky friends that always knows how to find its way back home, pores.Blackheads are tough to deal with so you should always start with understanding the root of this very commonly disliked skin concern to be free of them.

First things first, what are blackheads?

What are Blackheads & Why Do We Get Them Blackheads 101 Insert 1“Blackheads” are essentially an accumulation of waste that has become visibly black or dark colored thanks to external parts becoming oxidized.Another easy way to explain what blackheads;“Blackheads” occur when the pores become clogged with excessive sebum, bacteria or dead skin cells.And we all know that when pores are blocked, it’s no good news. Especially when it is also unpleasantly visible with our eyes, this is BAD NEWS.

Are blackheads pimples?

If you have ever had blackheads, you would have asked yourself or at least looked up, ‘are blackheads a form of acne?’.And the answer is, YES.Blackheads are indeed a type of acne.The official term to call blackheads will be ‘comedo and to be more specific, blackheads are open comedones. To look at the positive side of the story, they are the ones that didn’t end up becoming inflamed or spread all over the place.Sigh.But, even if the blackheads aren’t highly visible or painful as inflamed acne, nobody want to go around with a nose full of blackheads.

Where do blackheads come from?

What are Blackheads & Why Do We Get Them Blackheads 101 Insert 2Blackheads can be triggered by many things. Not only that, but the way they look, form, or how often they show up, depends a lot on many specific characteristic. Basic things like:• Skin type• Age• Skin type• Age• Gender• Hormonal values• Or even external habits have a profound influence in the process of blackhead formation.

“You can not really control things like your skin structure, age or gender, but fortunately, there are some external common triggers that you can use to keep blackheads under control. “

So, if you are struggling with too many blackheads, here are some common causes of blackheads

Why do blackheads appear?

What are Blackheads & Why Do We Get Them Blackheads 101 Insert 3As we have already explained blackheads are an accumulation of waste into the pore. But this accumulation does not necessarily only have to come from excessively oily skin.Many times, it is in fact, more about the blockage of the pilosebaceous unit itself. Which means that you can most definitely also get blackheads even with dry skin.Besides hormonal causes and genetic predisposition, this factor, the blockage of the pore, is the main reason for blackheads to appear, and here are some of the day to day things that can be taking part into the “lovely” process of your pores getting blocked.What are Blackheads & Why Do We Get Them Blackheads 101 Insert 4

1. Skin care, makeup or other occlusive products blocking the pores:

If your skin is unable to breath and your when you natural oil buildup and is incapable to come through to the surface of the skin, it is very likely that you will develop blackheads. But we all know that this is not just restricted to blackheads but also possibly whitehead, pimples and other types skin troubles may occur.


Whenever you have worn heavy makeup on, make sure you wash your face to remove it at the end of the day. Gentle exfoliation will help whenever the skin is having a hard time to breathe with excessive oil ro residue on the surface.


Search for the word non-comedogenic. Although this doesn´t 100% guarantee that you will not get blackheads. These types of product formulations will diminish the risk of you developing blackheads since they are targeted to avoid pore clogging.

2. Be aware of sweat, humidity and other potentially pore-clogging external factors:

If the day is dusty, you went to the gym to a tough-love gym session or you find yourself in the middle of the summer on a very humid climate, be aware of the possibility of these factors affecting your skin. These and similar causes have a big potential to clog your pores, due to the fact that things like sweat or dust when mixing with your own sebum and keratin will be most likely blocking the pore.


Always rinse your face after coming in contact with things like sweat, or foreign elements like dust or sea water.


It also helps A LOT to avoid wearing makeup when coming in contact with these types of situations. That means if you go to the gym, the pool or similar, try to skip the makeup to allow your skin to breathe and trans-pirate freely.

3. External factors affecting the sebum production:

Things like diet, smoking, your hormones getting out of control or even stress can affect the sebum production of your skin. If the sebum production increases or your skin condition worsens, this will most likely also have an effect on blackheads, having your skin less control over basic skin functions like cell turnover, but much more sebum to distribute.


Try to keep good habits, eat a good diet, try to relieve as much stress as possible, do not overexpose yourself to the sun, excessively strong lights or smoke and try to keep your hormones as balanced as possible.


We are what we eat so diet always ends up having a lot to do with all types of skin concerns. Try to eat healthily and consume enough nutrients to keep all of the above factors as much under control as possible. For that you can always try juicing or a healthy smoothie, so here are some healthy recipes to help you make your own “skin food”.

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