Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Skin Products for Blackheads

Skin Products for Blackheads

Blackheads are a common skin condition that occur when dead skin cells combine with the natural oil glands in your skin to produce sebum. This mixture creates soft plugs in the follicles of your skin called comedones. When these plugs form close enough to the surface of the skin, the air causes the plug to turn a black or dark brown color, resulting in a blackhead. When blackheads form, there are several skin products that may be used for treatment.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is one option for getting rid of the blackheads on your skin. Salicylic acid is found in many over-the-counter (OTC) topical products and works in two primary ways. First, it softens a protein called keratin which makes up a major portion of the skin cell portion of the plug. This helps the plug break down and frees up the follicle. The second way it works is by slowing down the shedding of cells within the follicle, suggests the New Zealand Dermatological Society, reducing the amount of material available to form blackheads.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is another topical product that can be used to fight blackheads. Unlike salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide has the ability to attack acne-related bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. When applied to blackheads, benzoyl peroxide penetrates into the comedone and exposes the acne bacteria to lethal levels of oxygen, helping prevent the blackheads from progressing into more serious forms of acne, such as pustules, cysts or nodules. Benzoyl peroxide also helps prevent future blackheads from forming by removing dead skin cells from the skin, suggests the American Academy of Dermatology.

Topical Retinoids

For more serious recurrent cases of blackheads, a topical prescription for retinoids, such as adapalene, tazarotene or tretinoin may be helpful in treating the blackheads. Topical retinoids are applied to the blackheads on the skin and work by promoting cell turnover inside the follicle helping to unclog it, and preventing the follicles from getting plugged in the future.

Topical Antibiotics

For serious cases of blackheads where inflammation is starting to develop, topical antibiotics may be used to kill off the P. acnes bacteria and reduce inflammation. Examples of antibiotics that may be used topically for this reason include erythromycin and clindamycin.

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