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Blackhead Causes

Blackhead Causes

Acne forms when pores become clogged with dirt, bacteria and oil. Blackheads form from oil and dead skin cells that clog the pore. The surface of a blackhead is open, compared to the closed surface of a whitehead, and this causes a blackhead's dark appearance. Many things can contribute to breakouts and to blackheads in particular.


Hormonal changes, particularly during puberty, pregnancy and menstrual cycles, can cause the sebaceous glands beneath the skin to produce excess oil. The overproduction of oil makes it more likely that your pores will clog, forming blackheads. Bacteria that live on the skin can also be responsible for clogged pores. These bacteria grow and multiply quickly in an oily environment, contributing to more blackheads and other types of acne.

Skin Products

Many skin products can clog pores and add oil to the skin. Cosmetics can be particularly oily, and people who use them frequently may be more prone to breakouts and blackheads. Products that are water-based are less likely to contribute to breakouts. The oil contained in many creams, lotions and foundations can clog your pores just as your natural skin oils can. Some skin products and cosmetics are labeled "non-comedogenic," meaning that they do not clog pores.


Excessive perspiration can contribute to blackheads, particularly if you spend a lot of time in a humid environment. The excess sweat absorbs into your pores and hair follicles, leading to breakouts. Blackheads from perspiration are particularly common around the hairline. It is important to keep your hair clean and avoid wearing tight hats or headbands that make it easier for excess sweat and bacteria to become trapped in your pores.


While some people assume blackheads are caused by dirt or poor hygiene because of their dark color, blackheads are actually the same as other types of acne, except they remain open at the top. Washing your face with a gentle cleanser twice daily can help clear up breakouts and reduce your risk of blackheads, though they are not a sign poor hygiene in and of themselves. Diet and stress have no proven medical link to acne, though some people find they break out less when they avoid certain foods or beverages.

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