Blackhead or Sebaceous Filament?
As you know, I'm a die hard fan of some makeup and skincare. Skincare took the lead a few years ago though and I've never looked back. I was never this obsessed as I am now. I love learning about it, I love using it, I love seeing what people can come up with and what products can transform your skin. I actually have a picture from before my blog ever was a thought and I lived at home thinking I had a real hoarding issue with skincare. Put that beside my skincare shelf now.....and well, there's a difference we'll just say that.
**The photo on the left is what I thought was quite a bit of skincare, before the blog. Some of those products I wouldn't even allow in my home these days lol. The photo on the right is my current skincare shelf. Products that have been used and reviewed so it doesn't include new un-tested products. Those are all in my office.**
One thing that never seemed to change for me no matter how hard I tried was blackheads on my nose. I don't have a small nose and it's quite bulbous, I think, so blackheads seemed to be so obvious there along with having larger pores. Of course I'd have a few pop up on my chin occasionally or on my forehead and I could always get those out. My nose was a different story. Then I tried using blackhead strips when they became really popular and I was a young teenager that didn't know any better. The strips worked the first few times, because I didn't use them often, I would see some blackheads on there. Then they stopped working and I thought my nose was too oily and thus the strips weren't "grabbing on" to my blackheads that were so apparent. So then I thought the best plan would be to use a "drying" acne cleanser and so on and then use the strip after wards. I know, I know, that's NOT the right approach. Don't do any of that.
Moving along I finally learned the best method with blackheads was a BHA acid which is Salicylic Acid type of product/treatment. Which after using I seen that it did get rid of most of my blackheads except for some occasional ones from too heavy of products or lots of makeup especially during Halloween when I do all the SFX makeup. So it was then I started figuring out that on the nose wasn't blackheads but I didn't know what they were because no one ever spoke about anything other than blackheads. Turns out they are Sebaceous Filaments. Again, NO ONE ever talked about this as I was growing up. I don't recall this being in Seventeen Magazine or Cosmo. Nope. Just swept that right under the rug.
So what's the difference between a blackhead and a sebaceous filament? Well I'll do my best to explain what I've learned through a lot of research. I'm not a professional though so feel free to discuss it with a facialist, dermatologist, etc. The way I understand it is that a blackhead is open to the air thus causing it to darken as it it clogs the hair follicle and will continue to increase in size. If it's not open to the air and it's closed it's referred to as a whitehead. What causes the follicle to get clogged is dirt, skin debris, sebum, etc. when it's open and exposed to air it oxidizes it and makes it turn black. They can get bigger if not extracted. I've had that happen. When you extract it you will get out kinda like a little string sometimes. The tip of it will be dark. There maybe just a little or there may be quite a bit.
Now Sebaceous Filaments are simply oil in the hair follicle and it's there for a reason. We need our natural oil to keep our skin from being dehydrated. When you squeeze these, more than likely nothing will come out. The oil in the follicle can actually make the pore look larger and it makes it look like a blackhead somewhat. I was reading an article by Teen Vogue which will be linked, and I didn't realize that Sebaceous glands were "concentrated on the forehead and nose, which is why filaments pop up in these areas". Starting to make sense right?
Filaments aren't raised above the skin like blackheads are, or on me they aren't. They don't cause you any trouble either. Blackheads can make the skin have a bumpy or rough texture when you feel of them. Again if not extracted they will just continue to grow in size. It would be best to let someone extract these professionally and not squeeze them yourself because especially around the nose and in my own experience you will get broken capillaries. If you use pore strips keep in mind that you're tugging and ripping it off tiny hairs on the skin and that's not great. We don't want to add trauma to the skin. You only get the skin you're in. It's not like you can change it when it's getting worn out like an old coat. Nope. It's your job to make sure it's taken care of every step of the way.
**The photo above is from Glamour. It was the only image I could find that would show you both blackheads and sebaceous filaments. If you look closely you can see the tiny hairs all over the nose as well. Which you don't want to disturb.**
So to wrap this up, we all make mistakes. We don't always realize we are making a mistake though due to lack of research or no information being available at the time. Sometimes we think we're doing what we're supposed to, only to then realize after new technology or research comes out that perhaps we had it wrong. So if you have blackheads I can only offer you this advice. Maybe it's time to start using an Acid Exfoliator that has BHA in it which is Salicylic Acid or use a BHA Serum. I notice a lot of difference when I started using a Clarisonic several years ago. However, don't try to buff your face off! The brush head should only just touch your skin. You shouldn't be pressing it into the skin. We're not sanding the face off. So use it correctly. As I said earlier, go to a professional for extractions. Hopefully, after the Clarisonic and use of a BHA they will easily come out or disintegrate from the BHA. If you do find that you actually have a lot of true blackheads, they can be a form of acne so it would be best to see a professional anyway and see if there are some underlying issues or maybe you need a different kind of skincare products that are clinical grade.
I hope this was at the very least helpful. I seen a few good articles on the subject and I'll link one of them here by Teen Vogue. There still wasn't that many people talking about them though so maybe we can get it to where there are plenty of opinions out there. I find when there is an influx in opinion on the topic eventually research gets done and published for people to read and drs, dermatologists, etc start answering the questions we need answered. It never hurts to ask questions.
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I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to start blogging and do these things I love because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity. Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me!