Blackhead Eliminating Treatment Mask
Blackheads form when sebum becomes trapped within a hair follicle. When this happens, P. acnes, a bacterium that feeds on sebum, can begin to overproduce within the follicle. As the follicle fills with the waxy oil (sebum) and bacteria, the walls of the follicle become stressed and, if unrelieved, eventually tear. When the walls rupture, the immune system sends white blood cells to the area to destroy the bacteria, and a cycle of infection begins. Eliminating the plug that causes the blackhead can stop the process before harm to the skin occurs.
When skin care professionals talk about "cellular turnover" and "cellular regeneration," they are referring to how skin cells form in the basal layer of the epidermis and migrate upward until they are visible. This process normally takes about 28 to 50 days, and the cells go through a variety of changes along the way. By the time skin cells reach the visible layer of skin, they have died and become hard and dry. While this layer of dead cells provides protection to underlying living cells, if the dead cells do not slough off naturally, they can mix with sebum, dirt and other debris to form the plugs that cause blackheads. A mask that loosens and removes plugs can prevent plug formation.
Exfoliation masks loosen dead skin cells, allowing them slough off. Some of these masks gently abrade skin, such as those that contain crushed peach pits, while others adhere to the dead cells and pull them off skin when they are removed.
Exfoliating masks take many forms. Fruit enzyme masks are generally considered to be effective, yet nonirritating. The fruit enzymes, which come from such fruits as papaya and pineapple, gently dissolve the plugs that cause blackheads.
Controlling the bacteria that naturally live on skin can help prevent blackheads from becoming infected. A 2007 clinical trial titled "The Efficacy of 5 Percent Topical Tea Tree Oil Gel in Mild to Moderate Acne Vulgaris" indicates that tea tree oil, an essential oil distilled from the leaves of the melaleuca tree, can effectively treat acne vulgaris, or common acne. The symptoms of acne vulgaris include blackheads.
Paula Begoun, author of the book "The Complete Beauty Bible," recommends a milk of magnesia facial mask for disinfecting skin and controlling breakouts. This mask requires only one product: unflavored milk of magnesia. It works by absorbing excess oil on the skin, thereby lessening the chance that blackheads will form.
Clay masks are commonly used to treat blackheads and the other symptoms of acne. Clay draws excess oil from the skin, which in turn lessens breakouts. Clays used in facial masks includes kaolin, fuller's earth, rhassoul, French green clay and bentonite. "Backyard" clay should never be used because the clay may contain microorganisms detrimental to skin, pesticides or fertilizers.
Salicylic Acid Masks
Salicylic acid is a close cousin to the active ingredient in aspirin. Masks that contain salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid, dissolve the plugs that cause blackheads. Salicylic acid masks include those available over the counter, through skin care professionals and homemade masks using aspirin. People with aspirin sensitivity or allergies should never use a salicylic acid mask.
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