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What are the Causes of Blackheads?


What causes blackheads?

As dead skin cells and oils collect deep in your hair follicles, tiny bumps called comedones form just below the surface. Most of the time your skin keeps these comedones from fully emerging. But, if the skin that’s covering it opens, the oil oxidizes and turns black when it comes in contact with air, causing the typical blackhead appearance.

So what exactly causes these blackheads?

  • Oily skin: The human body naturally produces oils, and particularly oily skin may be more prone to blackheads.  
  • Physical changes: Hormonal changes – such as those experienced by teens and pregnant women – can lead to an overproduction of oil, problems shedding dead skin cells, or both, causing more blackheads to surface.
  • Dry skin: Bar soap or other cleansers that overly dry skin’s surface can cause more dead skin cells to enter hair follicles.
  • Other irritants: Additionally, hormonal birth control pills, corticosteroids, lithium and other prescription drugs can have an adverse effect on your skin, making you more susceptible to all forms of acne, including blackheads.

Blackheads are extremely common because their key triggers -- dead skin cells and natural oils -- are found on everyone’s body. While hormonal shifts may be the culprit, focus on keeping oil and dry skin at bay and, likely, you’ll prevent all or most of your blackhead outbreaks.

Learn more about getting and keeping clear skin from HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016