Cures for Blackheads
Blackheads are a type of acne. They're often defined as open comedones on the surface of the skin. Blackheads result from dead skin and excess oil forming a soft, dark plug within the opening of a hair follicle, notes the Mayo Clinic. Blackheads are a mild form of acne, so treatment usually involves over-the-counter medications. This doesn't mean that prescription drugs won't help to improve the appearance of the skin, but they're not typically necessary to treat this type of acne.
Blackheads respond favorably to benzoyl peroxide. This compound removes dead skin, dries up excess oil and kills bacteria. These three results help to reduce inflammation and infection, which improves the appearance of the skin. Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient found in both over-the-counter and prescription acne creams.
Salicylic acid can also improve the appearance of blackheads. The American Academy of Dermatology states that this active ingredient has comedolytic properties, meaning it can treat comedones and open clogged pores. This reduces inflammation within the hair follicle, improving the complexion. Creams containing salicylic acid don't require a prescription and are sold over the counter.
Resorcinol can also help control blackheads. Resorcinol is a topical agent that can soften the plug clogging the opening of the hair follicle. This may lessen inflammation, resulting in a better complexion. Scientific evidence of the efficacy of resorcinol on any form of acne is limited, warns the American Academy of Dermatology. This means that creams containing this ingredient may not improve blackheads. Another medication may be necessary to provide the desired results.
Sulfur is a chemical element commonly combined with resorcinol to treat acne, including blackheads. It encourages both peeling of skin and drying of oil. However, the American Academy of Dermatology also warns of this ingredient, stating that there is insufficient evidence of its efficacy in the treatment of acne. And much like resorcinol, it may not clear blackheads from the skin.
Women suffering from blackheads may improve their complexions through the use of oral contraceptives. For best results, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, the oral contraceptives should contain estrogen. Norgestimate with ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate with ethinyl estradiol are two of the most effective. They're taken by mouth each day to treat hormonal changes resulting in acne.
While retinoids are usually prescribed for moderate to severe cases of acne, they can also help to treat blackheads. Much like salicylic acid, retinoids have comedolytic properties. They help eliminate obstructions affecting the pores, and encourage the growth of new epidermal cells. This lessens inflammation and aids in recovery time. Retinoids are only available by prescription, so your dermatologist may not feel this medication is necessary to treat blackheads. It's also commonly combined with a topical antibiotic to improve its effectiveness.
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