Black Head Treatment
Blackheads are a form of acne. They appear when excess oil, produced by the sebaceous glands, and dead skin cells block the pores of your skin. Blackheads differ from whiteheads in that they are open at the surface giving it the dark, or black look. Prevention and treatment can include some simple home treatments or prescription strength medications or procedures.
General Acne Information
Acne can appear on your skin as either comedones, which are whiteheads and blackheads, pustules, papules, nodules and cysts. It is believed that fluctuating hormones cause the sebaceous glands to overproduce the sebum that cause the pores to become plugged. Squeezing blackheads can cause them to become infected, rupture beneath the skin and spread, or multiply.
At Home Treatments
Prevention and treatment of blackheads starts at home. According to MayoClinic.com, you should wash your face no more than twice a day. Washing off all sweat and makeup before going to bed for the night is crucial. You should use a mild soap and be quite gentle to prevent your skin from becoming irritated or cause the acne to spread. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests using a soap that contains tea tree oil or creams that contain benzoyl peroxide to help heal any current breakouts. The UMMC also states that taking a zinc or brewer's yeast supplement may also help. You should keep hair and greasy fingers away from your face to prevent new breakouts. Use only moisturizers or make-up that will not block pores or are non-comedogenic.
Prescription Topical Medications
When at-home treatments do not improve or cause blemishes to become worse, your doctor or dermatologist may prescribe retiniods that help break up pore blockages and can reduce inflammation caused by acne. They are derived from vitamin A and can cause skin to sunburn easily and your skin to peel. For mild to moderate acne, your doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic that can treat infected acne lesions or a prescription strength benzoyl peroxide product.
Prescription Oral Medications
When acne is moderate to severe, you may be prescribed an oral antibiotic. This may be given in addition to a topical prescription to help reduce infection and inflammation. If you suffer from a severe acne and other medications do not work, you may be given Isotretinoin which is believed to reduce sebum production. It carries some serious side effects, however, especially with pregnant woman. Another option might be to use an oral contraceptive that contains norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol.
There are other treatments, but they are generally geared at reducing the appearance of scars left by severe acne. These treatments include microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, light therapy and chemical peeling. According to MayoClinic.Com, both microdermabrasion and chemical peeling can help control acne when used in combination with other treatments. Side effects for any of these procedures can include severe redness, peeling and blistering. For mild acne, including blackheads, aromatherapist Valerie Worwood suggests applying lavender or tea tree oil directly on the skin after washing it.
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