Your Blackheads May Not Be Blackheads (And Other Skin Science)

Most of us deal with acne in some form or another, and blackheads can be particularly irritating because they're so noticeable. However, SciShow explains that sometimes those blackheads aren't actually blackheads, and you probably shouldn't mess with them.

Blackheads are clogged pores that get plugged up with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. They turn a dark colour because, unlike other zits, they're exposed to the air — there's no layer of skin covering them — so they're oxidized.

However, the tiny spots on your nose you think are blackheads are probably just tiny hair follicles doing what they're supposed to do, as SciShow's Hank Green points out. He says:

...if blackheads are caused by a buildup of oil debris, what's going on with those tiny little spots on your nose that you should not be concerned about? Those spots are different and totally normal features of your skin that are called sebaceous filaments. And these filaments are just collections of oil and dead skin that build up around tiny hair follicles...unlike blackheads, which are clogged pores, these filaments are natural products of sebum production, not an infection.

This is why, should you try to squeeze them out, those "blackheads" just keep coming back. In general, it's best to just let your skin do its thing and resist the urge to squeeze, lest you deal with inflammation and scarring. Check out the full video for more detail.

Are Those Really Blackheads? [SciShow (YouTube)]


    Whatever - if it looks like a blackhead, I'm squeezing it.

    Blackheads - Something to keep your significant other amused...

    Yeah but who can resist using those nasal strips so you can see what sort of cityscape your nose makes in 15 minutes' time?

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