January 31, 2009
The Blackhead Menace
BLACKHEADS are so common, yet many people do not know what they are. They know even less about dealing with them.
It is a condition tendency based on the type of skin. In other words, the particular cause of blackheads cannot be eliminated. However, they can be controlled and even prevented by taking regular care of the skin.
Blackheads are caused by over active sebaceous glands-the oil-producing glands of the skin. The excess secretion of oil expands and thickens the pores of the skin. The oil collects in the pores and hardens into a plug. The pores are then clogged with hardened sebum or oil. Since the pores are open, the tips of the clogged grease is exposed to the air and oxidises, turning black. Hence, the name blackheads.
Oily skins, naturally tend to attract dirt and grime from the environment and these pollutants also collect in the pores with the hardened oil. Blackheads cause the pores to be further enlarged and people with oily skins end up with a skin texture that is coarse and rough.
The counterpart of the blackhead is the whitehead, which is also caused by the collecting of sebum in the pores, but in this case the pores are not open and the sebum is not exposed to the air.
Apart from the fact that blackheads look unsightly, they are the cause of acne. The primary acne lesson is, in fact, a blackhead. When a pore is fully blocked, the oil gland can get infected resulting in a pimple. If the infection progresses, it ruptures the well of the oil glands and attacks the inner layer of the skin, giving way to an acne condition. In acne infection, the inner layer is destroyed and this is the cause of intensive scarring.
Therefore, it is obvious that the control of blackheads is one way of preventing acne. Blackheads not only appear on the face, but on the back, chest and other areas that are rich in sebaceous glands.
The vital part of the treatment is proper cleansing, Soap and water washing is not enough to keep the pores free of hardened oil. However, washing the face twice a day with a medicated soap and lukewarm water helps reduce the oiliness of the skin surface and eliminate the chances of infections.
Washing the face with soap more than twice a day is not recommended, as the mantle of the skin has to be protected to avoid bacterial infections. The skin can be rinsed with plain water often, to keep it free of environmental pollutants.
Washing must be followed by a more thorough cleansing to dislodge hardened sebum and keep the pores clean. This is done by using a cleanser, like beauty grains mixed with a rose-based skin tonic. The mixture is rubbed gently on the skin, left on to dry for a few minutes and then washed off.
This method of cleansing is highly effective for the removal of blackheads and also for their prevention. It also helps to smoothen the skin and improve its texture. The skin tonic is used to reduce oiliness, close the pores and beautify the skin. Thus the pores of the skin are gradually ‘porcelained’ over a period of time and the entire look and feel of the skin improves.
After washing, the skin needs to be protected from environmental pollutants, more so if you are going out. This can be done by using a cream containing sandalwood which forms an invisible protective film on the skin. Sandalwood has germicidal qualities. The surface oil is controlled, and the skin is kept moisturised. In other words, it brings about a better balance between the oil and moisture contents of the skin.
A daily mask is another way of preventing and controlling blackheads. Masks help to deep-cleanse the skin. In fact, they can be powerful cleansers to keep the pores free of grease. This itself helps to porcelain the pores, as sebum is not allowed to get collected and enlarge them. To be effective, the mask must be applied daily.
A specialised mask has been used in the treatment of the most persistent blackheads, with extremely satisfactory results. It consist of a herbal powder which is mixed with a seaweed lotion, honey, yoghurt and the white of an egg. This is applied, left on to dry and removed by dampening the skin is washed with plenty of water. The skin’s texture improves, the pores shrink and blackheads are prevented from forming. This also helps keep the skin smooth and youthful, as it removed the accumulation of dead cells. The extraction of blackheads also becomes much easier after the application of the mask.
Blackhead extraction is a professional job and it should be left to people who know exactly how to do it. I would like to emphasise on this aspect particularly. Never pick at them or try to remove them yourself. Tamping with the skin by forcing blackheads out brutally can damage skin tissue by destroying the inner layer. Perfect hygiene must also be maintained.
All said and done. what should be apparent is that daily care is the only way to avoid most skin blemishes. One must know the characteristics of one’s own skin in order to pinpoint the cause of simple problems. Skin care has become so advanced and highly specialised. Professional guidance is within the reach of everyone.