20th January 2020

Know Thy Enemies: What Are Blackheads and Sebaceous Filaments?

Last Modified: August 3, 2022

The skin is the body’s largest organ, so it's understandable that it's subject to a lot of damage. With all the dirt, oils, and other pollutants it come into contact every day, it's no wonder it's hard work to keep our skin clear.

However, some of our beauty routines are causing more damage than good. In this article, we'll go back to basics and answer questions like "what are blackheads?"

We'll also explain the difference between sebaceous filaments and blackheads, and what you can do to deal with them.

What Are Blackheads?

You've seen them on your nose or jaw. But have you ever asked yourself, 'what are blackheads?'

Blackheads are an annoying form of acne that result from sweat, dead skin cells, your diet, medication, as well as sebum (or oil).

When air enters your open pores, the sebum oxidizes, turning the tip black - hence the name blackhead. Blackheads can pop up in many places but are most commonly found on your nose.

Why do blackheads usually appear on your nose?

Of your entire body, your nose has the largest concentration of oil glands. The more oil glands, the more likely it is that blackheads will appear.

Sebaceous Filaments vs Blackheads

But those spots on your nose might not actually be blackheads. Especially if you've tried to get rid of them and failed.

Sebaceous filaments carry oil through the hair follicle to the surface of the skin. These keep your skin moist and flexible (a good thing) - but large sebaceous filaments can understandably be troubling.

Every hair follicle on your skin has sebaceous filaments. When oil collects here - especially in large pores - sebaceous filaments take on the appearance of blackheads. There is a difference though; sebaceous filament has a grey or beige tinge, and sits flat on the skin.

You could say blackheads and sebaceous filaments are like cousins. They both start off with oil, yet blackheads sit on the surface of your skin and have a dark tip, while sebaceous filaments lie deeper inside the skin.

We know what you're thinking: I don't care what it's called. I just want the sebaceous filaments removed.

I just want clear, smooth skin.

Well we've got some good new for you. You can get rid of sebaceous filaments - and the way to treat both blackheads and sebaceous filaments are the same.

Dealing with Clogged Pores on Nose

Clogged pores on your nose (or anywhere else for that matter) are best tackled by reducing oil buildup and minimising the size of pores. Skin peels are a great way to improve skin tone and reduce pore size.

To minimise pores, you should get into the habit of exfoliating regularly (once a week is a good idea). Exfoliating creams with BHAs help remove dead cells and oil from inside pores.

Clay masks can also help absorb excess oil on your skin. Make sure you also have a hydrating balancing cream in your daily cleansing routine. This will help regulate the skin’s pH so that your face stops producing too much oil.

Very important tip:

Don't give in to the temptation to pick, pop or squeeze blackheads or sebaceous filaments. This can cause scarring and even cause infections.

Blackheads and Sebaceous Nose Treatment: the Final Word

Now when someone asks you 'what are blackheads?' or 'what are sebaceous filaments?' you can explain what they are and how best to treat them.

But what if you're looking to treat blackheads or sebaceous filaments?

Dr Aesthetica is a full-range cosmetic beauty clinic. We offer various treatments to help you look and feel your best, carried out by highly experienced cosmetic professionals. We can also treat blackheads or sebaceous filaments (or both).

Our Medical Director and lead doctor Dr Farmah qualified in aesthetics with the elite Derma Medical Training Academy, completing all his training in Basic, Advanced and Masterclass techniques, and also works part time as a consultant doctor for the NHS.

Ethics are at the heart of all Dr Farmah's work and he will only treat those who he believes will benefit from the procedure.

Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 20th January 2020
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

"We want to empower everyone who walks through our clinic doors, to be able to look in the mirror and see a happier, brighter version of themselves."

For everyone that walks through our clinic doors, you may think you are alone, but you are not. Our patients all have a different story to tell but all come from a similar place.
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