What Is the Most Effective Blackhead Remedy?
According to Acne.org, blackheads are one of two types of noninflammatory acne, the other being whiteheads. They develop when the sebaceous glands, or oil glands, produce too much sebum oil, and the hair follicle becomes clogged. A soft plug of sebum, dead skin cells and melanin then forms, the tip of which oxidizes and turns black.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is obtained by steam distillation, from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia, or tea tree. MayoClinic.com notes its antiseptic properties and its ability to prevent infection, antimicrobial properties thought to result from the compound terpinen-4-ol. It can be found in a vast array of cosmetic products from shampoos to skin care lotions.
The University of Maryland Medical Center website reports on a study which found that five percent tea tree oil gel can improve all types of acne by reducing inflammation and killing bacteria present on the skin. Tea tree oil was compared with benzoyl peroxide, another treatment considered effective at clearing up acne, in a study involving 119 people. The results demonstrated improvements with both tea tree and benzoyl peroxide, but the tea tree oil users experienced fewer side effects.
Benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound found in many over-the-counter and prescription acne treatment products. It works by cleaning both the skin's surface and deep in the pores, removing oils, bacteria and dead skin cells. According to acne.com, it is also said to reduce inflammation and oil production in the sebaceous glands, which helps prevent the occurrence of future outbreaks.
To fight acne, including blackheads, acne.org recommends a three-step regimen of cleanse, treat and moisturize. Work an over-the-counter cleanser into a rich lather in your hands, and then very gently wash your face for 10 seconds. After rinsing, dry with gentle pats, using a very soft towel, and then apply the benzoyl peroxide treatment. Massage in very gently for three minutes, until fully absorbed. Do not rinse off. It is important to moisturize afterward, as benzoyl peroxide can have a drying effect on the skin for the first few weeks of use.
Despite the University of Maryland Medical Center's report on the study demonstrating the effectiveness of tea tree oil, MayoClinic.com states that there is not enough reliable evidence to really confirm its ability to cure acne. Nevertheless, benzoyl peroxide does have the support of reliable sources such as MedlinePlus and is considered a very effective treatment for all forms of mild to moderate acne, including blackheads.
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