What are blackheads?

Blackheads form when a clog or plug develops in the opening of hair follicles in your skin. Each follicle contains one hair and a sebaceous gland that produces oil. This oil, called sebum, helps keep your skin soft. Dead skin cells and oils collect in the opening to the skin follicle, producing a bump called a comedon. They can appear anywhere on the body, not only the face. If the skin over the bump stays closed, the bump is called a whitehead. When the skin over the bump opens, exposure to the air causes it to look black and a blackhead forms.

What causes blackheads?

Blackheads appear on many people due to a variety of reasons. Some factors can increase your chances of developing blackheads:

  • Producing too much body oil
  • Acne bacteria buildup on the skin
  • Irritation of the hair follicle
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain medication, mostly corticosteroids, lithium, or androgens
  • Dietary habits
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